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Spanish paternity suit involves bullfighting legend Benitez

MADRID — A Spanish court held a hearing Thursday into a decades-old paternity dispute over whether two of Spain*s most well-known bullfighters — men who share the same show name "El Cordobes" — are really father and son. Among the evidence, a DNA test that came back 99.9 per cent positive.

Manuel Diaz, 47, says he's the son of retired bullfighting legend Manuel Benitez, 79, something the elder bullfighter has never recognized. Diaz's lawyer Fernando Osuna says the case is mere formality after the results of the court-ordered DNA test came back.

Many Spaniards have long been convinced of the relationship, given the two men's likeness.

The southern Cordoba court agreed to consider the suit after Diaz last year presented DNA tests taken from a restaurant napkin used by the elder Cordobes that was picked up by a private detective.

Benitez did not appear at Thursday's hearing. It was not immediately possible to get comment from his lawyer.

Born near Cordoba, Benitez was once one of Spain's most popular and best-paid matadors and also starred in several films. He has five other children, including another bullfighter son, Julio, also known as "El Cordobes." He reportedly met Diaz's mother when she was a maid in Madrid.

Diaz followed in his father's footsteps and although popular in the ring, he gained just as much publicity from his TV appearances.

Diaz told Hola magazine that after years of trying to get Benitez to admit the relationship voluntarily, he decided to take legal action after his own kids saw Benitez purposely ignoring a question about it on TV. Diaz says he is not interested in any inheritance but simply wants recognition of his family origin.

Ciaran Giles, The Associated Press

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