He made a name for himself at Getafe after emerging through Real Madrid's cantera. Returning to his first club in 2008, he suffered a serious heart ailment which put his career on hold for two years, until he retired in late 2010.
De la Red was part of Spain's squad at the victorious Euro 2008 tournament, but never played for the national side again. After his retirement in December 2010, de la Red was appointed by Jose Mourinho as a coach at Real Madrid, a position he held until the departure of the Portuguese in 2013. He was promoted to Real Madrid B assistant manager working with Zinedine Zidane, before resigning from the position in July 2015. In August 2015, de la Red was signed by former club Getafe as a youth coach, and in October 2015 was appointed as Getafe B team manager. After being relegated from the Segunda Division, de la Red resigned from his post in May 2016, and began working for Sky Spain as a pundit, until being appointed assistant manager of Arsenal in December 2016.