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Pignoise: The successful rock band of a former Real Madrid player

In 1995, a 19-year-old kid from the Spanish city Salamanca named Álvaro Benito started to make appearances for Real Madrid’s first team. When the Madridistas won their 27th league title the following campaign, the left-midfielder even played a couple of matches in the early stage of the season. On his debut for Spain U21, however, Álvaro Benito suffered a horrible knee injury he would never fully recover from. 

Pignoise Alvaro Benito Real Madrid

The midfielder underwent three operations in four months. During the rehabilitation process, the talented footballer was also involved in a car accident, which further hindered his recovery. During rehab, he started playing his guitar and writing songs. The now 47-year-old Álvaro Benito revealed in a TV interview with Joe Pérez-Orive that music has been one of his passions since childhood. ‘’I only have two great passions, and I feel fortunate to be able to dedicate myself to them.’’ 

After the 2002-03 season, Álvaro Benito retired from football. He wore the shirt of Real Madrid’s first team 21 times, scoring two goals. He also played some games for CD Tenerife and Getafe, but again injuries stood in the way of his real breakthrough. 

In 2001, he formed the rock band Pignoise, for which he is the vocalist and guitarist. He would use many songs he wrote during rehabilitation for the band’s first album. So if it wasn’t for his injuries, the Spanish band may have never existed. Pignoise also features Héctor Polo (Real Zaragoza, Rayo Vallecano), another former professional footballer, on the drum. 

Closed doors

Even though Álvaro Benito was a known figure, Pignoise struggled to carve out a career in the music industry. ‘’Many doors were closed to us because of my past as a footballer. No one wanted to see Pignoise anywhere.’’ Now, more than 20 years after establishing the band, Pignoise is experiencing its most prosperous moment. ‘’We had been without a record label for almost twelve years. This legion of fans that has appeared has been unexpected,’’ the singer reveals. 

The band, which sees Ramons, blink-182 and Green Day as some of its main influences, has released eight albums. The last record was released in 2022. Currently, they have nearly one million monthly listeners on Spotify, with their hit song ‘Estoy enfermo (con Melendi)’ gathering almost 30 million streams. Last year, Álvaro Benito also started to explore another musical journey with his newly-founded band Chicle.


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Between 2015 and 2019, Álvaro Benito returned to football for a couple of seasons as a youth coach at Real Madrid. He was sacked, however, after criticising first-team players Casemiro and Toni Kroos.