Alejandro Morera Soto
Morera (holding the trophy) with Costa Rican president Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia
|Full name||Alejandro Morera Soto|
|Date of birth||July 14, 1909|
|Place of birth||Alajuela, Costa Rica|
|Date of death||March 26, 1995(aged 85)|
|Height||1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)|
|1941, 1943||Costa Rica|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Alejandro Morera Soto (July 14, 1909 in Alajuela – March 26, 1995) was a Costa Rican football player, who played as a striker mostly for Alajuelense in the Costa Rican Primera División. He is considered one of the best and most talented players of all time in Costa Rica.
"El fenómeno costarricense" ("The Costa Rican phenomenon"), as he was dubbed by the press in Catalonia, Spain, where he was part of FC Barcelona. However, he was known to most as "El Mago del Balón" (The Magician of the Ball) he was of small stature but a powerful striker.
In 1925 at the early age of 16, he made his debut with Alajuelense in the Costa Rican premier league Primera División in a match against Sociedad Gimnástica Española. Soon afterwards he became the star player and team's captain, showing a quality game and scoring many goals. These attributes opened doors beyond the country, initially in Cuba at Centro Gallego in 1927. He thereafter returned to Alajuelense and in 1928 helped the team obtain its first national championship, Morera scoring four goals in the last match against Herediano and becoming the top scorer with 26 goals. He shone as the team's outstanding player during Alajuelense's tours of Mexico (1931) and Perú (1932), where he received accolades for his playing ability.
In February 1933 he was invited to Spain by former Real Club Deportivo Español player Ricardo Saprissa for a tryout with Español. The Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo (28/02/1968 page 8) reported that Morera had wanted to play for FC Barcelona rather than Espanyol and was able with the assistance of Sr. Esteban Sala, a club director and Sr.Gispert, also club director whom he had befriended during the ocean crossing to personally negotiate, after a successful tryout with the club's coach, a three-year contract directly with FC Barcelona's president, Joan Coma Segarrols.
Thus Morera made his debut with Catalonia's foremost club on May 18, 1933 in a match against Tenerife, and scored 2 goals in a 3 to 1 win. One of his best remembered strikes was scoring his team's only goal in September of that year versus Real Madrid, beating Spain's fabled and Europe's best goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora "El Divino" in a 2 to 1 loss. The 1933-34 season was his most successful, scoring 41 goals becoming the team's top scorer. FC Barcelona won the 1934 championship of Catalonia but only placed ninth place in the league. The 1934-35 season was also successful, playing 24 games and scoring 12 goals, and FCB placed sixth in the Spanish league championship. Altogether Morera played 76 games and scored 68 goals for FC Barcelona, a very high output. His scoring record: 39 goals in friendlies; 13 goals in the Spanish League; 11 goals in the Catalan Championship and 5 goals in the Spanish Cup.
Against fan opposition he was sold for a sum of 10,000 pesetas to Hércules Alicante, a recently promoted club in Alicante. In his first year, he helped the upstart team obtain the league's sixth place ahead of six other teams with the same number of points as FC Barcelona, who finished fifth due to better goal average. While playing for FC Barcelona, he fully identified with Catalonia, even being named to the Catalan regional team and playing two games against Brazil, scoring goals in both matches. Regrettably, due to the outbreak of Spain's bloody civil war he was forced to return to his homeland.
A curious pecuniary anecdote - Due to the outbreak of the Spanish civil war he was unable to withdraw his money from the bank; the smaller amount of money he had on hand he chose to place in a coffer which was lost. With the urgent need to return to Costa Rica but with empty pockets, he briefly offered his services to the French team Le Havre, played two games and in usual fashion scored two goals for them.
Return to Liga
He arrived back in Costa Rica in November 1936 where he was to continue his outstanding career. Again he joined Alajuelense obtaining another championship in 1939 won when he scored a hat trick in the final match against Herediano. He also became the league's top goalscorer again. One more championship, this time undefeated, a record title came in 1941. The last title came in 1945, where he performed in a dual role as a coach-player. He played his last match April 6, 1947 against Municipal Lima.
Morera continued as a coach until March 1949. He also managed the national team.
After retiring from sports he was voted a member of the country's legislature for his native province of Alajuela (1958–1962), where he also later served as Mayor and Governor.
Morera made his debut for Costa Rica against El Salvador in February 1938 and won 5 caps, scoring 4 goals during the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games or scored 6 in 7 international matches.
- Scores and results list Costa Rica's goal tally first.
|1.||12 February 1938||Estadio Juan Demóstenes Arosemena, Panama City, Panama||El Salvador||7–0||Central American and Caribbean Games|
|2.||12 February 1938||Estadio Juan Demóstenes Arosemena, Panama City, Panama||El Salvador||7–0||Central American and Caribbean Games|
|3.||16 February 1938||Estadio Juan Demóstenes Arosemena, Panama City, Panama||Panama||11–0||Central American and Caribbean Games|
|4.||22 February 1938||Estadio Juan Demóstenes Arosemena, Panama City, Panama||Mexico||1–2||Central American and Caribbean Games|
Personal life, death and legacy
Morera Soto was a son of Juan Morera Miranda and Eufemia Soto Soto and had 4 sisters and a brother. He married Julia Pacheco Pérez in 1937 and they had a daughter and 5 grandchildren.
He died March 26, 1995 at the age of 85. He is fondly remembered by both alajuelenses and "ticos" alike as a man who loved his team who gave many victories and much joy to fans across the country.