Real Madrid great Paco Gento dies at 88

By Sports Desk January 18, 2022

Real Madrid have announced that former star Paco Gento had died at the age of 88.

The former Spain international was considered one of his country's greatest players of the 20th century and formed part of one of the finest Madrid teams in history.

Gento scored 182 goals in 600 official matches for Los Blancos, winning a club-record 24 trophies, including 12 LaLiga titles and six European Cups. He remains the only man to have won Europe's top club competition more than five times.

He also won 44 caps for Spain and featured at the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.

"Paco Gento truly represents all the values of Real Madrid, and has been and will continue to be a reference for madridistas and for the sporting world," the club said in a statement on Tuesday announcing his passing.

"He will always be remembered by madridistas and all football fans as one of their greatest."

Francisco Gento, who began his career with regional teams in his native Cantabria, joined Racing Santander in 1953 before his transfer to Madrid, where he spent 18 hugely successful years.

A fast and skilful wide player, described by Madrid as one "many believe to be the best left-winger of all time", Gento was part of an historic side that included Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Raymond Kopa and Hector Rial.

He was part of the team that won the first five European Cups from 1956 to 1960 before he captained an all-Spanish Madrid side – known as the 'Ye-ye' Madrid – to a sixth title in 1966. Gento played in eight finals in total, a record he shares with Milan great Paolo Maldini.

Gento also won 12 LaLiga titles between 1954 and 1969, before he took over as Castilla coach following his retirement in 1971. After spells coaching Castellon, Palencia and Granada, Gento took up an ambassadorial role with Madrid and became the club's honorary president following the death of Di Stefano in 2016.

"He was fast and he hit the ball like a cannon," Di Stefano said of his old team-mate, as per Radio Marca. "That's not something you learn, it's something you're born with. You can only teach the rest."

Related items

  • Simeone: This season a 'wake-up call' for Atletico Madrid Simeone: This season a 'wake-up call' for Atletico Madrid

    Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is satisfied but expects more after his side's season ended with a 2-1 win away to Real Sociedad on Sunday.

    Having already confirmed Champions League football next season, Atleti secured third spot over Sevilla with the win through second-half goals from Argentine duo Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Correa.

    After holding out against Real Madrid to win the LaLiga title last season, Simeone's side were considered favourites to repeat after strengthening the squad with De Paul, Matheus Cunha and Antoine Griezmann's arrivals, but finished 15 points adrift of their title-winning city rivals.

    Securing Champions League qualification is satisfactory according to Simeone, but this season has been a reality check for Atleti.

    "As we were champions last year, this always seems little," he said post-match. "In the end we ended up rounding off an important season, a good one, and one that leaves us in a privileged place," he said post-game.

    "I'm not going to lie, because I always expected more and I always want to be the champion. It's not easy because we live in a league with Barcelona and Real Madrid and it's difficult for both of them to fail, but on two occasions since I've been coach of Atletico we've achieved it.

    "This season has given us a wake-up call."

    Four consecutive LaLiga losses in December put the Rojiblancos in a difficult position, 14 points off Real Madrid by Christmas and out of the Champions League places with a resurgent Barcelona gaining ground under Xavi.

    They were eventually able to turn around a nine-point deficit to Sevilla, while pushing Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League, in what was a positive second half to the season.

    Following a solid performance to end the season, Atleti's strong run home gives Simeone confidence going into the next campaign, despite the Spanish league's natural order.

    "It's not a problem of improving positions, although it's clear how we can strengthen ourselves, but the team is already there and it has very good players who have won 10 in the last 14 games, which are numbers of a champion," he said.

    "We were very close to not making it [Champions League]," Simeone said. " This season leaves us with a lot of things, it was hard. We need to rest, since it started it wasn't easy. It cost a lot. It would be great to be able to generate hope, reverse how the end of the season was done. The rebelliousness of the players give us hope."

  • Xavi: Barcelona must be 'humble' to improve in off-season Xavi: Barcelona must be 'humble' to improve in off-season

    Barcelona boss Xavi asserted the club must be "humble" after they marked the end of the season with a 2-0 loss to Villarreal on Sunday.

    Goals from Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez handed the seventh-placed Villarreal their first LaLiga win at Camp Nou since 2008 and punctuated Barcelona's trophy-less season, finishing 13 points off the title-winning Real Madrid.

    The fact Barca even finished second provided some cause for satisfaction given their start to the season, after winning only four of the opening 13 league games and sitting ninth in November, when Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman.

    The 42-year-old believes, amid an expectant fan base, the time to get to work and transform the squad to his liking has officially come, now Barca have reached the end of the season.

    "I keep the minutes in which people have cheered," Xavi said post-game. "It is normal, the public does not like to lose. But taking stock, we have to be satisfied. We have to be humble and see reality. Now the work of the office begins.

    "We have to change things. We have to opt for titles. We have to change things. We have to improve and strengthen ourselves."

    After only managing Al-Sadd for two years before taking on the coaching role at his former club, Xavi has experienced a baptism by fire upon his return to Europe, with crises gripping his boyhood club both on and off the pitch.

    The Blaugrana have experienced positive and difficult moments in his first coaching role in Europe, defeating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu but also falling meekly in the Europa League at the hands of eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

    On a personal level, Xavi is in a sense satisfied he has aided Barcelona in qualifying for the Champions League and salvaging their season, but is the adamant his squad must improve.

    "I knew that it was coming at a complicated and difficult moment," he said. "We have improved, but not enough. We have played brilliant games, but we have to be more reliable. I am here to add value, now we have to work for next year. We have to be positive.

    "We've saved a season that could have been disastrous. I'm satisfied on a personal level. We came from one of the worst moments in the club's history. A lot of things have to be changed.

    "This season has gone as it has gone. The coach has changed. And now we cannot come second. We have to reinforce ourselves very well. We have to compete. We have to change many things."

  • Cagliari suffer Serie A relegation as Salernitana survive for first time despite Udinese thrashing Cagliari suffer Serie A relegation as Salernitana survive for first time despite Udinese thrashing

    Cagliari were relegated from Serie A after only managing a draw against Venezia as Salernitana retained their top-flight status despite being thrashed by Udinese.

    Salernitana looked in serious danger of going down when Davide Nicola took charge in February, sitting bottom of the table with three wins from 23 games.

    Nicola inspired a resurgence, though, with his side picking up 15 points in a run of seven league games to head into the final matchday two points clear of Cagliari.

    However, Udinese were rampant as Gerard Deulofeu, Ilija Nestorovski and Iyenoma Destiny Udogie put Nicola's side 3-0 down before half-time on Sunday.

    Udinese captain Roberto Pereyra added a fourth after the interval as the Friulians achieved their best Serie A points haul (47) since the 2012-13 season (66).

    That meant Cagliari would have stayed up with a win at already-relegated Venezia, but Alessandro Agostini's could only muster a draw as the Rossoblu were relegated to Serie B for the sixth time in their history.

    Cagliari's failure handed Salernitana their first-ever Serie A survival, having failed to do so on their other two attempts in 1947-48 and 1998-99.

    Salernitana also became the first team to stay up despite conceding at least 78 goals in a single top-flight campaign after Livorno (79 in 1929-30) and Lucchese (82 in 1947-48, 79 in 1949-50).

    Meanwhile, Cagliari join Venezia and Genoa in Serie B and the trio will aim to bounce straight back up next season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.