SPORT: Football
Real Madrid legend and European Cup record holder Francisco Gento dies aged 88.

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.

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