Matador Row

LAST UPDATED: 3 Apr, 2009 @ 11:24
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Matador Row

A ROW has broken out after Spain’s most popular bullfighter won an award from the Culture Ministry.

A number of previous winners have handed their medals back after Francisco Rivera Ordonez, 35, from Ronda, won the Fine Arts award.

Both Jose Tomas and Paco Camino claim Ordonez, 35, only scooped the award for his popularity, not his fighting skills.

Ordonez – who is dating a former Miss Spain and models for Armani – is as much a fixture on the covers of gossip magazines than a matador.

He won the award for refining his style, which is “now more aesthetic, relaxed and deeper.”

Francisco Rivera Ordonez“This prize was given out because of his popularity,” said Israel Vicente, head of Tauropress, a PR agency that specializes in bullfighting and represents Tomas. “But there are 15 retired or active bullfighters who deserve the prize before he does.”

Juan Belmonte, a bullfighting critic for Canal Sur said Ordonez is perfectly deserving of the award, although it has come too early in his career.

“Perhaps it would have been more proper to give it to him when he had killed 4,000 bulls, rather than 1,000,” he said.

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