Francisco Gento

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Paco Gento
Paco Gento (cropped).png
Gento with Real Madrid in 1967
Personal information
Full name Francisco Gento López
Date of birth (1933-10-21) 21 October 1933 (age 87)
Place of birth Guarnizo, El Astillero, Spain
Position(s) Outside-left
Youth career
S.D. Nueva Montaña
Union Club Astillero
Rayo Cantabria
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1952–1953 Racing Santander 10 (2)
1953–1971 Real Madrid 428 (128)
Total 438 (130)
National team
1956 Spain B 1 (0)
1955–1969 Spain 43 (5)
Teams managed
Real Madrid Castilla
1974 Castellón
1977–1980 Palencia
1980–1981 Granada
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
Paco Gento in 1965

Francisco Gento López (born 21 October 1933), usually referred as Paco Gento, is a former Spanish football player, who played as a left winger.

Gento began his career at Racing Santander in 1952 and moved to Real Madrid the following season. He appeared in a joint record eight European Cup finals, winning a record six, as well as winning 12 La Liga titles.

In a 14-year international career, Gento earned 43 caps for Spain, playing at the World Cup in 1962 and 1966.

Following the death of Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gento was appointed as the Honorary President of Real Madrid.[1]

Club career[edit]

He débuted in the Primera División with Racing Santander in the 1952–53 season. He was still playing mostly for the B team at Santander when a flu virus saw him promoted to the first team ahead of a home game against Real Madrid. Such was his performance in the match, that Madrid signed him three days later.[2] He would become a legendary player for the capital club, wearing the number 11 shirt, and is regarded as one of Spain's greatest players.

La Galerna del Cantábrico (The Gale of the Cantabrian Sea), as he was known, played outside-left and was noted for his skills with the ball and his scoring prowess from the midfield position. In 1967, following Alfredo Di Stéfano's departure Ferenc Puskás's retirement, he became the captain of a young side, known in Spain as Ye-yé, because of the popularity of The Beatles at that time.[3]

Among other honors, Gento won the European Cup a record six times with Real Madrid between 1955 and 1966, being the only Madrid player to figure in all of the wins.[4] He contributed with 30 goals in 89 European Cup career matches.

Gento played in eight European Cup finals, with a 6–2 record, and he also appeared in a ninth European final appearance in the 1970–1971 Cup Winners' Cup final that Real Madrid lost to Chelsea.[5] He holds this record jointly with Milan's Paolo Maldini, who has an inferior 5–3 record. Gento's legendary Real Madrid teammate, Alfredo Di Stéfano's 5–2 record comes third.[6]

Domestically, he would collect 12 La Liga titles during his time with Madrid.[4] He would score 128 times in 428 league appearances for the club, a strong return for a winger, especially as he was often providing goals for teammates Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás.[4]

After he retired from football in 1971, he decided to take up coaching. He took charge of various lower-league teams, such as Castilla, Castellón, Palencia, and Granada. In the end, he accepted a post working as an ambassador for Real Madrid throughout Europe.

International career[edit]

Gento played for Spain from 1955 to 1969, winning 43 caps and scoring 5 times.

Personal life[edit]

Gento's two younger brothers, Julio (1939–2016) and Antonio (1940–2020) also played football professionally; the latter played for Real Madrid, too, but they were not as successful as their older brother Francisco.

His nephews were also athletes – José Luis Llorente and Toñín Llorente played basketball, whilst Paco Llorente and Julio Llorente were footballers.[7] Grand-nephew Marcos Llorente, son of Paco Llorente, is also a footballer.[8]

Style of play[edit]

Regarded as one of the greatest Spanish players of all time and one of the greatest ever players in his position, Gento was an extremely fast left-winger, with excellent vision and technical ability, which made him an effective assist provider. In addition to his control and creative ability, he was also a goalscoring threat due to his striking ability from distance.[9][10]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club Season Division League Copa del Rey Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Racing Santander 1952–53 Primera División 10 2 4 0 0 0 14 2
Real Madrid 1953–54 Primera División 17 0 4 0 0 0 21 0
1954–55 24 6 3 0 0 0 27 6
1955–56 29 7 6 3 7 1 42 11
1956–57 27 7 2 0 8 1 37 8
1957–58 28 7 5 1 6 3 39 12
1958–59 21 7 5 2 8 1 34 10
1959–60 27 14 6 3 6 2 38 18
1960–61 28 9 8 3 2 1 38 13
1961–62 25 6 9 4 10 2 44 12
1962–63 25 7 4 1 2 1 31 9
1963–64 24 12 2 0 9 3 35 15
1964–65 23 4 3 0 6 5 32 9
1965–66 28 10 3 3 9 3 40 15
1966–67 20 11 5 0 4 0 29 11
1967–68 24 8 0 0 7 5 31 13
1968–69 26 8 2 1 2 0 30 9
1969–70 25 3 5 1 3 2 33 6
1970–71 7 0 2 0 6 0 15 0
Total 428 128 74 22 95 30 606 178
Career total 438 130 78 22 95 30 620 180

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 14 October 1959 Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain  Poland 3–0 3–0 1960 European Nations' Cup qualifying
2 2 April 1961 Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain  France 2–0 2–0 International Friendly
3 30 October 1963 Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland  Northern Ireland 0–1 0–1 1964 European Nations' Cup qualifying
4 23 June 1966 Riazor, A Coruña, Spain  Uruguay 1–1 1–1 International Friendly
5 31 May 1967 San Mamés, Bilbao, Spain  Turkey 2–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 1968 qualifying

Honours[edit]

Real Madrid
Individual
Records
  • Most La Liga titles: 12
  • Most European Cup titles: 6[14]
  • Most European Cup final appearances: 8 (tied with Paolo Maldini)[15]
  • Most major trophies with Real Madrid: 24

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Paco Gento, Honorary President of Real Madrid". 23 October 2016.
  2. ^ Ball 2011, 135
  3. ^ Ball 2011, 136
  4. ^ a b c "Paco Gento: the habitual European Cup winner". These Football Times. 29 December 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "The emperors of Athens". These Football Times. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Eight days to go ... Maldini and Gento's record". UEFA. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ AS, Diario (10 January 2003). "Fallece María Antonia Gento, madre de la saga Llorente". AS.com.
  8. ^ AS, Diario (17 October 2015). "Real Madrid - Levante: Debutó con el Madrid Marcos Llorente, sobrino-nieto de Gento". AS.com.
  9. ^ "Full-throttle Paco, Real's winning legend". FIFA.com. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Francisco "Paco" Gento" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  11. ^ "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 29 November 2015
  12. ^ "Legends". Golden Foot. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  13. ^ "IFFHS announce the 48 football legend players". IFFHS. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  14. ^ Saffer, Paul (18 May 2016). "Reyes's fifth win: top UEFA club cup winners". UEFA. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Champions League final records and statistics". UEFA. 1 June 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  • Ball, Phil (2011) Morbo: The Story of Spanish Football. WSC Books.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Zárraga
Real Madrid C.F. captain
1962–1971
Succeeded by
Zoco