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The bullring on its feet, excited by flashes of authentically true bullfighting, accompanied El Juli while, head down, with a blank mind, his head dull, he walked slowly along the painful route of the ring, an eternal walk to the tables, from the glory that he had just touched with his fingertips to disenchantment, the one that digs into the depths of the soul, when he fails with the rapier.

Juli had just signed with the crutch one of the great tasks of many afternoons, a master class in knowledge, temper, harmony and bewitchment to a very noble bull, reluctant to charge, complicated at the beginning, and to whom the bullfighter not only taught the four rules, but he squeezed slowly with a long bullfight, very slow, deep and pregnant with feeling. The stands chanted in unison such a great work of art, and attended in ecstasy the bullfighting display of a teacher who seems to be living a second youth, a maturity pregnant with wisdom, and that only that ungrateful rapier prevented him from being raised on the shoulders by a crowd excited.

Possibly, you cannot fight better than El Juli did in that fifth bull of the afternoon, astifino, like the whole bullfight, released from the start, and who put his bullfighter on guard at the beginning with two pourings, one for each side, which did not bode well. But, then, the teacher emerged, and El Juli took the bull and explained how he had to do it, and thus, little by little, without pauses, with solemn parsimony, he drew three category naturals. He lowered his hand to the extent of his wrist, and then, with his right, he traced a round of extreme bullfighting that the audience acclaimed with a general roar. Two great works, two, remained natural; the first, with three eternal crutches, with the animal completely absorbed in deception, and another more closed with a supernatural circular that raised the entire plaza from its seats.

When the bullfighter mounted the sword, the bull was already giving both ears in an admiring bow to the consummate master; but the rapier didn’t go in, and the universe of feeling collapsed, and neither did the second one. Incomprehensible and inadmissible, but true. The bullfighter looked at the sky, desperate, looking for an answer, and found it in that unanimous applause, pregnant with admiration and respect for a great bullfighter.

But El Juli had already been outstanding in his first, a most noble animal that allowed him another lesson in good bullfighting. He received him with four veronicas and three extremely warm socks; he was entertained, later, in an extraordinary remove also to the veronica. He soon sang the animal of his good character, ready to date, long distance, humiliated and fixed on the crutch, in a conjunction of greed, class and sweetness.

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It was a work from less to more, from the initial long crutches with the leg bent, to dreamlike naturals, deep right hands, a graceful change of hands and another supernatural ending that put the climax to another inspired master’s job. He killed well this time, with a great lunge, but the plaza only asked for a trophy, when the task had been two. And not only because the best version of El Juli had been seen, but because it was the work of a consecrated artist. If yesterday the two ears were not granted to that bull, it will be very difficult for El Juli to ever cut them off in this bullring.

Morante, the star of the poster, tried but could not be. Some lost veronica and loose muletazos in the less splendid batch of the afternoon, and nothing more. His first, annoying and unclear, and the other, difficult, did not enter the Sevillian’s eye.

And another Sevillian, Paco Aguado, passed with more pain than glory. He did not get along with the nobleman of his first, whom he always tried to fight at half height, and he was indolent; he did not finish trusting with the sixth, but by then the public was with El Juli in the lead, and Aguado’s innocuous work deflated in the air.

But there it remains, in the everlasting memory of all those who had the fortune to see it, the immense and grandiose bullfight of a period bullfighter: Julián López El Juli.

La Quinta/Morante, El Juli, Aguado

Bulls from La Quinta, well presented, reliable on the horses, very noble second, third and fifth; lackluster others.

Morante de la Puebla: falling lunge (some palms); two punctures and almost completely low (some dicks).

El Juli: lunge (ear); two pricks (clamorous return to the ring)

Pablo Aguado: rear lunge, prone and fall (silence); three punctures and almost whole (silence).

Sales Square. May 11. Fourth bullfight of the San Isidro Fair. Full of ‘there are no tickets’ (22,964 spectators, according to the company).


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