Real Madrid have confirmed the death of their 88-year-old honorary president and club legend Francisco “Paco” Gento.
Gento played for the Spanish club in 18 seasons and won six European Cup titles — a record for an individual player.
The left-winger — who was capped 43 times by the Spanish national team — won a total of 24 trophies at Los Blancos, including 12 La Liga titles and two Copas de España, now known as the Copa del Rey.
Considered one of the greatest Spanish players of all time and one of the greatest ever in his position, Gento combined his gifted technical ability with excellent vision and acceleration.
Gento scored 182 goals in 600 appearances for Real Madrid, for whom he played between 1953 and 1971.
Gento won the European Cup a record six times during a distinguished playing career for Real Madrid.
Gento played 761 games for Real Madrid between 1953 and 1971, winning six European Champions Cups (1956–1960, 1966), 12 La Liga titles and two Spanish Cups. Gento also played 43 times for the Spain national football team and appeared in two World Cups (1962, 1966).
Born in northern Spain, Gento was a Racing Santander B‑team product and quickly made an impression when promoted to the senior side in the 1952–53 campaign.
A flu virus within the Santander first team gave Gento a chance in a top-flight game against Real Madrid that season and such was the impression the winger made, he was signed by the capital club three days later.
Nicknamed La Galerna del Cantabrico (The Gale of the Cantabrian Sea) due to his goal threat and explosive play, he established himself as one of the greatest players in the club’s history and was a key player in their all-conquering European team of the late 1950s.
Gento was the only player to feature in all six European Cup victories for the club and he appeared in a total of eight finals in the competition, to which he contributed with 30 goals in 89 appearances.
Gento also appeared in a ninth European final in the 1970–71 Cup Winners’ Cup final which Real Madrid lost to Chelsea.
His club trophy record was equaled by current club captain Marcelo on Sunday — as Real Madrid won the Spanish Supercopa against Athletic Bilbao (although Gento won the short-lived Small Club World Cup with Real Madrid, which according to the criteria, would place him still a trophy ahead of Marcelo).
“Real Madrid CF, its President and its Board of Directors deeply regret the passing of Francisco Gento, Honorary President of Real Madrid and one of the greatest legends of the club and of world football.