A power forward who was ahead of his time, Rafael Rullan starred for Real Madrid throughout the 1970s and ’80s and was among the club’s signature players when it won three EuroLeague crowns in seven years. He also helped win 14 Spanish League titles – including 10 in a row from 1970 to 1979 – and lift nine Spanish Cups and four Intercontinental Cups during his time with Los Blancos.
Rullan first came to Madrid at age 18 and would remain with the club for almost two decades. He teamed up with center Clifford Luyk, who became his mentor. Rullan inherited Luyk’s winning mentality and aggressiveness to quickly became one of Madrid’s leaders. Those attributes, combined with his mobility and deep shooting range, made Rullan a nearly unstoppable force on the frontline.
On the continental scene, Rullan led Madrid to EuroLeague titles in 1974, 1978 and 1980. He scored 14 points in the 1974 title game against Varese, which Madrid won 84-82. Those same teams met again in the 1978 final and Madrid prevailed again, 75-67, with 10 points from Rullan, whose battles against the great Dino Meneghin were memorable. Rullan led Madrid with 27 points in the 1980 EuroLeague final, an 89-85 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv. He also lifted the Saporta Cup in 1984 after scoring 12 points off the bench in the final against Olimpia Milan.
Rullan wore the Spanish national team jersey 161 times and was a member of the squad that won the silver medal at EuroBasket in 1973. He finished his career at Bancobao Villalba in 1988, but will always be remembered as a Madrid legend. His 18 seasons with Madrid’s first team remain an all-time record, and Rullan is the club’s No. 2 scorer all-time, behind only Wayne Brabender. Rullan came back to Madrid as a team delegate from 1991 to 1999 and still works for the Real Madrid Foundation.