The famous Spanish bullfighter Rafael Jiménez, better known as “Chicuelo” died

Rafael Chicuelo

The Spanish bullfighter Rafael Jiménez “Chicuelo” died this Saturday at the age of 86 in Seville after an illness aggravated by a hip fracture, family sources confirmed.

Rafaelito, as he was known in the bullfighting environment of the city, was the son of Manuel Jiménez “Chicuelo”, one of the most outstanding bullfighters to understand the technical evolution of the profession itself.

He was the grandson of another “Chicuelo”, a nineteenth-century bullfighter who began the dynasty linked to the Seville neighborhood of Alameda de Hércules, where Manuel Jiménez established his home after marrying Dora “La Cordobesita”, muse of the painter Julio Romero de Torres.

Rafael was born there on March 13, 1937, and he lived in that house until his death, perpetuating the memory of this saga of bullfighters that was continued by his sons Manuel and Curro in the fourth generation.

Rafael made his debut with horses on June 24, 1952, in the square of the Cordoba town of Cabra and, after a brief withdrawal, he appeared in the Maestranza square in Seville together with Antonio Vázquez and Manuel Espinosa.

He took off definitively in the 1957 season as a result of his performance in Madrid’s Las Ventas square, where he cut off an ear from a steer from the Galache ranch.

The alternative was resolved with a sign of bells, in the very Plaza de la Maestranza, where Antonio Ordóñez gave him a bull owned by Carlos Núñez in the presence of Manolo Vázquez.

It was Easter Sunday 1958 and a month later, on May 16, the doctorate was confirmed in Madrid at the hands of Antonio Bienvenida and with Manolo Vázquez officiating again as a witness with a sleeved copy of Salustiano Galache.

But his career did not finish picking up speed as a matador; the same year of his alternative he suffered a goring in Las Ventas and, from there, fighting little, there were comings and goings from the arenas. After retiring in ’64 he returned in ’67 to be outshone again in ’68.

His last two afternoons of that time were resolved in Seville and Madrid, confirming the alternative to Miguel Márquez with a bullfight by the Count of the Court, although that was not the last time he dressed in gold.

In 1981 he still managed to enter the April Fair in Seville, announced with the separate running of the bulls by Núñez and Sayalero and Bandrés thanks to the mediation of Curro Romero, with whom he shared both paseillos.

That was the last bullfight of Rafael Jiménez “Chicuelo” in the bullring before dressing in silver to close his career as an assistant to bullfighter Javier Buendía.

Acting under his orders, in 1985, he was taken by a bull in the city of Almería (south) which caused the amputation of three fingers on his right hand, precipitating his final retirement.