Paulino Alcántara

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Paulino Alcántara
Paulino Alcantara.jpg
Personal information
Full name Paulino Alcántara Riestrá
Date of birth (1896-10-07)7 October 1896
Place of birth Concepcion, Iloilo, Spanish East Indies
Date of death 13 February 1964(1964-02-13) (aged 67)
Place of death Barcelona, Spain
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position(s) Striker
Youth career
FC Galeno
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1912–1916 Barcelona 47 (55)
1916–1918 Bohemian Sporting Club
1918–1927 Barcelona 130 (145)
Total 200 (224)
National team
1915–1924 Catalonia 4 (4)
1917 Philippines 2 (1)
1921–1923 Spain 5 (6)
Teams managed
1951 Spain
1953 Catalonia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Paulino Alcántara Riestrá (7 October 1896 – 13 February 1964) was a Spanish Filipino football player and manager who played as a forward. He spent most of his playing career at FC Barcelona and also represented Catalonia, the Philippines and Spain.[1]

Alcántara made his debut for Barcelona at the age of 15 and remains the youngest player to play or score for the club. He scored 369 goals in 357 official and friendly matches for Barcelona, a club record that stood for 87 years.[2][3] After retiring as a player in 1927 at the age of 31, he became a doctor. He served as a club director between 1931 and 1934. In 1951, Alcántara became a coach and managed Spain for three games.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Alcántara was born in Concepcion, Iloilo in the Philippines to a Spanish military officer and an Ilongga mother.[4] He was three years old when his family moved to Barcelona, the same year that FC Barcelona was formed by Joan Gamper.[5] Alcántara was slated to play for FC Galeno when he was discovered by Gamper. He then joined Barcelona's youth team. He made his debut at the age of 15 years, 4 months and 18 days old on 25 February 1912 against Catalá SC in the Campionat de Catalunya (Catalan football championship) at the old Carrer de la Indústria ground. Barcelona won that game 9–0, with Alcántara scoring the first three goals of the game, setting the still unbroken record for being the youngest player to ever score for FC Barcelona in an official match.[5] Among his teammates during his time at the club were Francisco Bru Sanz, Jack Greenwell and Romà Forns. He went on to help the club win a Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) and Campionat de Catalunya in 1913 and a Campionat de Catalunya in 1916.

Bohemian Sporting Club[edit]

In 1916, Alcántara's parents returned to the Philippines and took their son with them. There he continued his studies in medicine and played football for the Bohemian Sporting Club. He helped the club win two Philippine Championships; in 1917 and 1918. He was selected for the Philippine national football team in 1917 and represented his country at the Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, helping them defeat Japan 15–2, which is still the Philippines' biggest win in international football. He also represented the Philippines at table tennis. Meanwhile, Barcelona had failed to win a major trophy in his absence and the club pleaded in vain with his parents to allow him to return to Spain. However, he contracted malaria in 1917 and apparently refused to take the prescribed medication until he was allowed to go back.

Return to Barcelona[edit]

After returning to Barcelona, his former teammate and manager Jack Greenwell experimented by playing Alcántara as a defender, but Alcántara did not succeed in that position. The paying members of Barca's club membership, "Els Socis," demanded that Alcántara be switched back to his normal position, which saw him return to the forward line.[6] In 1919, he helped the club win another Campionat de Catalunya. The club also reached the Copa del Rey final but lost 5–2 to Arenas Club de Getxo. On 13 April 1919 in a game at Les Corts against Real Sociedad, Alcántara scored the "police goal," when a policeman got in the way of a powerful shot, so both the ball and policeman ended up in the back of the net.[5] In 1920 the club won another Copa del Rey and the Campionat de Catalunya, with Alcántara scoring in the 2–0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Cup final. The squad included Emilio Sagi Liñán, who formed a partnership with Alcántara as well as Ricardo Zamora, Josep Samitier and Félix Sesúmaga. This marked the beginning of the club's first golden era and saw them dominate both the Campionat de Catalunya and Copa del Rey tournament. Alcántara scored twice in the 1922 Cup final, where Barcelona defeated Real Unión 5–1 and scored the winning goal in the 3–2 win over Atlético Madrid in the 1926 final.

International career[edit]

In 1915, Alcántara made his debut with Catalunya team and in 1924 he played at least six games and scored at least four goals for the team. In 1917 he was selected by the Philippines national team and represented the country at the Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, helping them defeat Japan 15–2 , which became the Philippines' biggest win in international football.

In 1920 Alcántara, along with Zamora, Samitier and Sesúmaga, was selected to represent Spain at the 1920 Olympics. However, Alcántara chose to stay at home to take his final medical exams. He eventually made his debut for Spain on 7 October 1921 at the age of 25 against Belgium and scored both goals in a 2–0 win. In 1922, he was nicknamed "El Rompe Redes" or "Trencaxarxes" (the net breaker) after he broke the net with a shot during a match against France.[7] He made five appearances and scored six goals for Spain between 1921 and 1927.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Spain's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 9 October 1921 San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao  Belgium 1–0 2–0 Friendly
2. 2–0
3. 30 April 1922 Stade Sainte-Germaine, Le Bouscat  France 1–0 4–0
4. 2–0
Scores and results list Philippines's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 10 May 1917 Shibaura Ground, Tokyo  Japan
Far Eastern Championship


Alcántara retired on 3 July 1927 in order to become a doctor at age 31, the same day that FC Barcelona played against Spain in a testimonial match in his honour. He later served as a club director between 1931 and 1934. Alcántara was one of the first footballers to write memoirs of his playing days.[8] In 1951, Alcántara was one of three selectors, along with Félix Quesada and Luís Iceta, that coached Spain for three games against Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden. He won one game and tied the other two.[6]

Spanish Civil War[edit]

In the 1930s, Paulino Alcántara was a member of the Falange Española, the variant of Spanish Fascism. On 4 August 1936, he fled to Andorra and France for failing to Franco's coup in Barcelona from 18 July 1936. In 1936 Alcantara was Carlist volunteer and participated in numerous military operations of the nationalist troops of Francisco Franco. During the Spanish Civil War, Alcántara was Lieutenant of the first battalion of the Brigade Legionary Black Arrows (Frecce Nere). The Black Arrows was a volunteer corps (Corpo Truppe Volontarie) directed directly by Benito Mussolini. With the Black Arrows, Alcantara served on the fronts of Guadalajara, Aragon and Catalonia. He entered victorious by Barcelona with General Yagüe on 26 January 1939. After the Spanish Civil War, Paulino Alcántara lived in Barcelona and was Lieutenant of the Black Arrows. During the Spanish State, Alcántara was a Chief of the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las JONS.[9]


Bohemian Sporting Club

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Players Appearing for Two or More Countries". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  2. ^ "FC Barcelona Records (Team & Individual Records". Futbol Club Barcelona. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  3. ^ "History: Paulino Alcántara". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  4. ^ Burgos, Nestor P. (11 July 2010). "Paulino Alcantara: RP legend in world football". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "News - FC Barcelona Official website".
  6. ^ a b "Alcántara: The hispano-filipino football man". 27 October 2009. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Jugadores de leyenda – Paulino Alcántara". Futbol Club Barcelona. Archived from the original on 3 August 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "La guerra de Paulino | Cuadernos de Fútbol".

External links[edit]