The hegemony of Pasapalabra in the afternoons of national television also extends at the beginning of 2024. Last Monday, the Antena 3 contest added a Golden Minute (9:04 p.m.) with 3.6 million viewers and 27 .1% screen share. The duel of the contestants for an already millionaire jackpot, the know-how of a presenter like Roberto Leal and the contribution of the celebrities who come to the set every three programs explain part of the consolidated success of the format. Precisely, this Tuesday, January 9, new familiar faces disembark.

The guests who will express their knowledge and good humor at Pasapalabra until Thursday, January 11 are Javier Poty Castillo, María Jesús y su accordión, Virginia Troconis and Manuel Díaz El Cordobés.

Manuel Díaz El Cordobés was born accidentally on June 30, 1968 in Arganda del Rey (Madrid), although he soon moved with his mother and siblings to Córdoba, where he grew up. Under the name Manuel Díaz González, he studied at the Virgen de la Dolores school in Córdoba, worked in the family’s winery and stayed in the city “on loan” washing cars and changing oil in different workshops.

His life took a 180 degree turn when his mother, María José Díaz González, confessed who his father is: Manuel Benítez, El Cordobés. Since then, the young man insisted on entering the world of bullfighting. Despite the dream of dressing in lights, the teacher did not recognize his son until several decades later and after a long and media controversy.

A former swordsman of his father, Antonio Mata, led the first steps of who was then announced as El Manolo, while the rancher Ramón Sánchez Ybargüen gave him housing and food on his farm. And as proxy, Francisco Dorado, who later invented the slogan of La Revolución to get the most out of the “alleged son of El Cordobés.”

The choice of El Cordobés as a bullfighting nickname ended up in court, although the judge finally allowed El Manolo to use the most universal nickname in bullfighting.

His debut with picadors came on April 7, 1985. For eight irregular years he was as a novillero, until he took the alternative on April 11, 1993 in a luxury poster, along with Curro Romero and Espartaco.

In the beginning, he took advantage of the controversy with Manuel Benítez, who flatly refused to acknowledge paternity, to launch his career. However, at the end of the 90s, he focused on the arenas, with Victoriano Valencia as his manager, and successes came with increasing frequency. In principle, in third and second category events, in which he managed to add more than 100 celebrations during several seasons.

In 1999, he managed to cut off an ear in the bullring of Madrid with a serious and courageous bullfight with which he earned the respect of the first bullfighter in the world. In recent seasons he has been a right-hander who has been severely punished by gorings and injuries.

His last professional accident occurred last summer, shortly after announcing his retirement at the end of that season after three decades on the sidelines. On August 12, 2023, Manuel Díaz was gored in the bullring in Huesca, with a 20-centimeter wound in his thigh, for which he had to be transferred to the hospital with a serious prognosis.

Beyond the arenas, in 2016 the Provincial Court of Córdoba confirmed that he is the biological son of Manuel Benítez. A few months later, in 2017, the teacher finally recognized his son for the first time publicly. However, it was not until 2023 when there was a public meeting with cameras involved. A reconciliation that hit the media on a very special day, on the twentieth anniversary of the proclamation of the bullfighter father as the Caliph of bullfighting, one of the most important and acclaimed distinctions in the bullrings.

The wedding of Manuel Díaz El Cordobés with Vicky Martín Berrocal in Seville was one of the events of 1997. The couple, with a daughter, separated four years later.

In 2004, the bullfighter remarried Virginia Troconis, with whom he has two children. These days both share the set of Pasapalabra.

Virginia Troconis was born in Valencia (Venezuela) in 1980 and began her career as a model at a young age. However, her name did not become known in Spain until 2002, when she began her relationship with El Cordobés. Along with her husband, she participated in MasterChef Celebrity (fifth expelled in the first edition of the contest, 2016) and in Let’s dance! (they finished in third position in the 2014 edition).

Troconis has made a name for himself as an influencer on healthy living. In 2022, he presented the book ‘Food, let’s get along’ together with nutritionist Pablo Ojeda.

The matador has also made a career on television. He has competed in Flo’s club, Let’s dance! and MasterChef Celebrity (fourth expelled from the first edition, 2016). Additionally, he has presented the Telemadrid culinary program Hasta la Cocina and has appeared on multiple programs and contests as a guest, including other visits to Pasapalabra. He is currently a collaborator of the program ‘TardeAR’, hosted by Ana Rosa Quintana on Telecinco.