Francisco Gento’s sixth European Cup winner’s medal in 1966 created a record that still stands nearly half a century later. Read on to find out more facts about Francisco Gento, the Real Madrid icon of elegance and consistency.
Francisco Gento López (born October 21, 1933), better known by his nickname Paco Gento, is a retired Spanish footballer who played as a left winger.
Francisco Gento’s age
is 88. Here you can find out the most important facts about Francisco Gento, the legendary former Madrid player.
The first fact about Francisco Gento is that he started his career in 1952 with Racing Santander before joiningReal Madrid
the following year. He played in an unprecedented eight European Cup finals, winning six of them, and he also won 12 La Liga championships.
Gento won 43 caps for Spain during his 14-year international career, including appearances in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups. Gento was named Honorary Chairman of Real Madrid after the death of Alfredo Di Stéfano.
On a personal level, Gento's first season with Madrid was not completely successful, nor did it indicate that he would go on to have the incredible career that he did. Despite the fact that Madrid won their first La Liga championship in twenty-one years, Gento did not score a single goal in his twenty-one games.
This was the only season in which he didn't score in more than 10 league outings.Puskás
once said that Gento's shooting could be outrageously inaccurate and that he often dropped footballs over the training field railings, despite the fact that he excelled in training.
Gento's Madrid career was on the verge of ending before it had ever begun, with the club contemplating loaning him out for the 1954-55 season.
Fortunately for Gento, Di Stefáno intervened and convinced Madrid to keep Gento as well as sign fellow Argentine Héctor Rial.
This signing demonstrated that great players need the support of talented teammates in order to achieve their greatest potential.
With his verbal prodding and footballing knowledge, Rial's presence in the Madrid side enabled Gento develop from an unpredictable left winger into one of the best in the world. Gento exploded into the scene in his second season with Los Blancos, aided by Rial.
Paco Gento was born in 1933 in the Cantabrian town of Guarino, belonging to the municipality of El Astillero. Regarding
Francisco Gento’s parents
, it should be mentioned that he was the son of a truck driver and he dropped out of school at the age of fourteen to help his father and take care of the cows they had on a small farm.
Francisco Gento’s childhood
, it is worth mentioning that he started playing at the age of 15, being a cadet at SD Nueva Montaña in 1948, a club where he combined football with athletics, thanks to which he would acquire the speed that would make him famous in the future, with the dream of playing in the Racing Santander.
Julio (1939–2016) and Antonio (1940–2020), Gento's two younger siblings, also played pro football; the latter also featured for Real Madrid, although they were not as successful as their elder brother Francisco.
His nephews were also athletes, with José Luis and Ton Llorente playing basketball and Paco and Julio Llorente playing football. Marcos Llorente, Paco Llorente's grandson, is also a player.
Francisco Gento started his career for Racing Santander after rising through the ranks of the club’s youth team, Rayo Cantabria.
After just a season with the club, he was signed by Real Madrid. He played less than 15 matches but that was enough for the world to know of his greatness. The man with the record cup collection finally retired at Real Madrid in 1971.
An important fact about Francisco Gento is that in 1952–53 season, he made his debut in the Primera División with Racing Santander. He was still mainly playing for Santander's B squad until he was elevated to the first team ahead of a home game against Real Madrid due to a flu bug.
His performance in the contest was so impressive that Madrid signed him three days later. He would go on to become a legend for the capital club, donning the number 11 jersey and being considered one of Spain's best players.
fact about Francisco Gento
is that he was nicknamed as La Galerna del Cantábrico (The Gale of the Cantabrian Sea) and was renowned for his ball-handling abilities and scoring ability from the midfield position. Following the departure of Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás became the captain of a youthful team nicknamed in Spain as Ye-yé, due to the popularity of The Beatles at the time.
Gento won the European Cup a record six times with Real Madrid between 1955 and 1966, and was the only Madrid player to appear in all six victories. In his 89 European Cup appearances, he scored 30 goals.
fact about Francisco Gento
is that he participated in eight European Cup finals, going 6–2 in them, and a ninth European final in the 1970–1971 Cup Winners' Cup final, which Real Madrid lost toChelsea
He shares the record withPaolo Maldini
of Milan, who has a better 5–3 record. Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gento's famous Real Madrid colleague, finishes in third with a 5–2 record.
During his tenure with Madrid, he would win 12 La Liga championships at home. In 428 league games for the club, he scored 128 goals, a good return for a winger, particularly because he was often assisting colleagues Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás.
After retiring from football in 1971, he chose to pursue a career as a coach. He managed a number of lower-league clubs, including Castilla, Castellón, Palencia, andGranada
. In the end, he took a position as a Real Madrid ambassador across Europe.
A notable fact about Francisco Gento is that he played 44 games with the Spanish national team. He was also an integral part of the squad of the Spanish team that participated in the final phase of the 1964 soccer Eurocup.
With Spain he managed to score a total of five goals, and added a total of 23 victories, 8 draws and 12 defeats. His debut took place on May 18, 1955 in a friendly against the England team that ended with a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid (May 18, 1955).
His last game was Spain versus Finland on the 15 of October of 1969 in La Línea de la Concepción, Cádiz, qualifying for the World Cup in Mexico, 1970.
A notable fact about Francisco Gento is that he was a very quick left-winger with outstanding vision and technical skill, making him an efficient assist provider.
He was regarded as one of the best Spanish players of all time and one of the finest ever players in his position. He was a goalscoring danger owing to his hitting prowess from distance, in addition to his control and creativity.
Paco's skill on the wing produced numerous goals for his more famous colleagues, despite the team's huge names. He was no slouch himself, scoring 128 goals in 428 league games, a fantastic performance for a winger.
An important fact about Francisco Gento is that he had fast speed and always got to loose balls first, even if his opponents had a head start on him, and he had two excellent feet that he used to take strong long shots with each leg.
Despite his pace, he had a magical left foot with excellent, close control in tight circumstances and could dribble past two or three defenders before disappearing down the wing to deliver another inch-perfect cross.
Gento was equally fast with and without the ball, making him the ideal player to complement Di Stéfano and Puskás in a Madrid team that didn't try anything new tactically. Madrid attacked with an offensive audacity that would open up even the tightest defense, continuing to deploy five attackers.
The importance of Gento's work cannot be overstated. He was allegedly capable of sprinting 100 meters in twelve seconds, making him the quickest player to ever step foot on Spanish land. When Di Stéfano initially joined Real Madrid, he complained that he was too fast and urged his colleagues not to send the ball into space because they wouldn't be able to keep up.
Gento actually ran out of pitch and smashed into the advertising boards when racing for a pass on one occasion. However, when he acquired more control, his speed became frightening; with his tiny size and low center of gravity, he was difficult to stop.
He'd win loose balls while giving opponents an early advantage, and despite his speed, he could halt and reverse direction as defenders slid past him.
He possessed excellent close control in tight circumstances due to his two-footedness, allowing him to dribble past two or three defenders in close quarters before escaping and sending a perfect cross.
His ingenuity was responsible for many goals for his teammates, but his much-improved striking ability should not be overlooked. Gento had a strong shot and scored 128 goals in 428 games for Real Madrid in La Liga.
fact about Francisco Gento
is that he might not be a person that many of today's younger fans are familiar with, but he is one of the most accomplished and decorated players in club history.
Francisco Gento's sixth European Cup winner's medal in 1966, while he didn't realize it at the time, would set a record that remains almost half a century later.
Paco, as he was known, also won a record 12 La Liga championships with Real Madrid's great teams in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, he appeared in European club finals in three separate decades, which is an extremely uncommon feat.
He accomplished this record by appearing in European Cup finals in the 1950s and 1960s, and he was still there in the 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup final for Real Madrid versus Chelsea. He is also the only player to have appeared in the European Cup for 15 years in a row.
He appeared in eight finals in all, winning six of them. Paolo Maldini eventually equaled his record of eight finals, but Maldini only won it five times.
Gento played forSpain
in two World Cups, in 1962 and 1966, but was left out of the European Championships in 1964, which Spain went on to win.
It was Spain's first big international triumph, a feat they would not duplicate for another 44 years, until 2008, when they won it again. Despite his lack of international success, he is still regarded as one of the best players in the history of La Roja.
It's hard to think that the famous Real Madrid player didn't create a good first impression in his first few games. "They [the supporters] used to claim that I'd sprint so quickly that I'd dash off the field, leaving the ball behind," he said of his first few months at Santiago Bernabéu.
Everything, however, is subject to your determination and willingness to make sacrifices. You must be a true football fan who aspires to be the greatest."
Timing and luck may make or break a situation, and for Paco, these crucial elements arrived at precisely the perfect time. He came at a pivotal moment in Real Madrid's history at exactly the right time and rode the crest of an unparalleled wave of triumph in which he played a key role.
Although Ferenc Puskas, dubbed "The Galloping Major," never won the prized trophy, he was still a household figure, having played for the strong Magical Magyars of the 1950s, whom many considered to be the greatest national team in the world at the time.
Gento's medal collection is more remarkable than that of Di Stéfano or Puskás, despite competing in the shadows of better renowned names.
After winning the European Cup for the first five years of its existence, it is his sixth and last triumph, against Partizan Belgrade in 1966 that brings him the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. He was now the captain and an experienced combatant.
“Paco Gento represents the old guard, the golden days, the flash of lightning propelled on its way by a ball from Rial or Di Stéfano,” the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia said after the sixth victory. No team has ever played football as well as Real Madrid.
His most recent European Cup victory came with a squad led by Miguel Muoz, a former colleague. When Real won its first two European Cups, Muoz was captain. He was the first person to win the European Cup as both a player and a manager when he guided them to victory in 1960 and 1966.
With all of Paco's success, especially in the European Cup, it's amusing that he and the other Real players had no clue what the new event was about when it first began. They, like many others throughout the continent, underestimated the significance of the new competition and underestimated its eventual size.
Real's debut game was against Servette in Geneva in September 1955, although no video of the match seems to exist. "I must admit, we had no clue how important the event would become," Gento remarked.
“We went out to play, and that was the end of it. Nobody told us what was going to happen, neither the tournament structure nor the fact that it would be significant for many years.
We didn't realize how much it meant until we won the first championship in the final in Paris. After that, we could see what the European Cup was all about. It was an indescribable experience.”
Gento played in the first edition of the Intercontinental Cup in 1960, which was a two-legged game between the winners of the Copa Libertadores, at the time Pearol of Uruguay, and Real Madrid, the European champions. The victor would be regarded as the world's greatest club team.
Real Madrid thrashed Pearol 5-1 on aggregate, with Paco Gento scoring twice. Real and Paco could now unofficially claim to be world champions.
Gento took the tough choice to end his career in 1971, after an illustrious career. After all, Father Time catches up with us all, and it was not an easy choice for him to put up his boots.
In reality, for any professional player, retiring after so many years of doing what they love may be very tough. It's no surprise that some athletes are unable to deal with the vacuum that retirement brings.
Many have turned to the bottle or even committed suicide. FormerRoma
captain Agostino Di Bartolomei comes to mind. He became depressed shortly after retirement and shot and killed himself. It's an emotional moment, almost as if the most important chapter of one's life has come to an end.
Paco chose to continue in the game and sought coaching, but he was unable to reach the pinnacle of his playing career. He eventually became an ambassador for Los Blancos.
Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez stated in December 2015 that he will propose making Francisco Gento the club's honorary president. Emilio Butragueo, a former Real great and current head of foreign relations, hosted the occasion.
"Gento is here with us today," Pérez remarked, "he is one of Real Madrid's legends who has won six European Cups." We owe a lot of who we are now to the team he and Di Stéfano formed. Real Madrid's Board of Directors will recommend that he be named honorary president.
“I want us to remember our dear Alfredo Di Stéfano in the future. Each year, his memory followed us and is still with us. May these remarks serve as a fitting homage to the greatest player in history.
Alfredo Di Stéfano and Paco Gento, together with Santiago Bernabéu, imparted the ideals that are still sacrosanct to every Real Madrid supporter, regardless of country, language, culture, philosophy, or religion. These principles shown that this shirt and emblem are unyielding.
Real Madrid has succeeded to become the greatest club in the world by working together and remaining unified until the end." Gento remembered his famous teammate Di Stéfano telling him that it would be up to him (Gento) to win the European Cup final for the third time in a row in 1958. Di Stéfano's faith in his teammate would prove to be prophetic.
Gento did actually score the game-winning goal in a 3-2 triumph againstAC Milan
to keep the trophy in Madrid. Despite the fact that Madrid had a plethora of great names at their disposal during these golden years, it was clear that the biggest names had complete confidence in and respect for their fast left-winger.
Gento was the one constant throughout this period, a near-permanent presence who consistently provided the goods.
"I was simply sitting there, watching, thinking that was the finest thing I had ever seen," Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the world's greatest players, remarked of Gento while seeing him play.
Francisco Gento is a Spanish legend as well as a Real Madrid legend. It would be appropriate to confer upon him the title of honorary president, since he would be replacing his long-time friend and colleague, Alfredo Di Stéfano, who died in 2014.
There is no one better than Gento, who, together with Di Stéfano and José Mara Zárraga, is one of only three players to have participated in all five of Real's European Cup victories, to be elected emeritus director of the team that he represented for so long and with such distinction.
In 1954-55, Madrid defended their La Liga title, ensuring that they would represent Spain in the first European Cup the following season. Madrid would go on to defeat Reims 4-3, with Gento scoring the game-winning goal for Rial in the 79th minute.
Real Madrid would go on to win four more European Cups in the following years. Between 1956 and 1960, Gento participated in all five European finals, improving his performance with each one.
In a 2-0 victory againstFiorentina
in 1957, it was his speed that opened the Fiorentina defense, scoring the second goal with a beautiful chip over Guiliano Sarti.
The 1958 European Cup final versus Milan finished 2-2 after 90 minutes and proceeded to extra time for the first time in the competition's history. Gento sprang into life during the additional thirty minutes in response to the tired Italians. First, he watched his cross go awry after getting past three defenders. He cut inside and fired the following time, hitting the post.
When his fizzing strike shocked the Milan goalie two minutes into the second half of extra time, it was third time lucky. 'I simply whacked it and hoped,' Gento said in classic Gento manner. He had a goal disallowed in the 1959 final for taking a freekick too fast (not that it mattered as Madrid defeated Reims 2-0 anyway).
While Di Stéfano and Puskás are often attributed with the win in the 1960 final at Hampden, no one had ever seen anything like Puskás, Di Stéfano, or Gento's sprinting exploits.
All of Madrid's seven goals came from Di Stéfano (three) and Puskás (four) in their 7-3 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. After a blazing run and a beautiful cross for Puskás to go home, Gento assisted produce probably the finest of the seven.
When the squad reached the final for the second time in 1962, Gento was captain. However, an elderly Real Madrid squad was unable to deal with aBenfica
side led by Eusébio, who won the match 5-3. When Madrid fell to Inter Milan in the European Cup final in 1964, Gento was once again captain.
Gento's last season in the top European tournament was 1969-70, but he did participate in the European Cup Winners' Cup final the following season, retiring after Chelsea beat Madrid 2-1 in the replay.
An important fact about Francisco Gento is that he had played in 600 official Real Madrid matches and scored 182 goals before he retired in 1971. His time in Madrid did not start well, but because to his determination and sacrifices, he finished with more medals than both Di Stéfano and Puskás.
A notable fact about Francisco Gento is that he established a number of records throughout his career, including the most European Cup final appearances (eight), the most European Cup final victories (unmatched with six), the most consecutive European Cup seasons (fifteen), and the most La Liga seasons (nineteen) as well as La Liga championships (with twelve).
saw Gento, he said it was the finest thing he had ever seen, andPelé
included him when talking about the greatest players of all time. After winning the European Cup in 1966, even the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia complimented his effort.
Gento was the sole player remaining from the famous Los Blancos squad of the 1950s after that win, the club's sixth European Cup. Francisco Gento, like Di Stéfano and Puskás, was an integral component of the great Madrid teams of the 1950s and 1960s.
Francisco Gento social media
, it should be mentioned that he does not have any pages on any social media platforms like Instagram or twitter.
Francisco Gento body measurements
, it should be mentioned that the former legendary player 171 cm and 71 kg.
Francisco Gento's net worth
is believed to be in the range of $3 million to $5 million dollars. From his main profession as a soccer player, he has amassed a substantial fortune.
He used to drive luxury sport cars during his playing time in Real Madrid, which showed that he had earned substantial money back then.
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