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Farewell to the madridista Francisco Gento, the player with the most European Cups

The eternal Real Madrid winger, a symbol of the golden age of Real Madrid alongside Alfredo di Stéfano, has died at the age of 88
Francisco Gento

PHOTO/AFP  -   Francisco Gento

Francisco Gento, Real Madrid player between 1953 and 1971, has died in the Spanish capital at the age of 88. He is a true legend of Real Madrid and the only player to date with six European Cups, won between 1955 and 1960 and in 1966. 

In addition to his great achievements in Europe's top club competition, Francisco Gento accumulated 12 La Liga titles, one Intercontinental Cup, two Latin Cups, two Spanish Cups and one Little World Cup in his long career of 18 seasons with the Merengues. 

The winger was characterised by his great speed, practically uncatchable, and his dry braking made it virtually impossible for almost any opponent to mark him or follow him. He also possessed great precision and power with his left foot, which enabled him to have an important goalscoring ability, added to his almost unstoppable dribbling and dribbling ability. 

He had a great partnership on the pitch with Alfredo Di Stéfano and also in particular with the midfielder Héctor Rial, who understood him very well in his movements and provided him with precise passes that Gento took advantage of with his speed and explosiveness to break down rival defences. 

Nicknamed La Galerna del Cantábrico, Francisco Gento marked an era at Real Madrid, coinciding with the consolidation of the Madrid club as the most important in Europe and the world, along with the arrival at the Concha Espina Club of another legend, Alfredo di Stéfano, in the mid-1950s.

The left-footed winger, Real Madrid's eternal number 11, possessed impressive physical conditions and served as a link between two glorious generations of Real Madrid fans: the Real Madrid of the five consecutive European Cups and the 'ye-ye' Madrid that reconquered the title of best European team in 1966 after the end of the era marked by Alfredo di Stéfano. 

Francisco Gento was born in 1933 in Guarnizo, Cantabria, and joined Real Madrid in the 1953-1954 season from Racing Santander. That same year, the Argentinian Di Stéfano arrived, and together they were the stalwarts of the Madrid side that dominated Spain and Europe for five years, along with other great players such as Miguel Muñoz, José Emilio Santamaría, Raymond Kopa, Ferenc Puskas and others. 

Francisco Gento was a starter in the finals of the six European Cups he won with Real Madrid and scored in two of them: in the Second European Cup played at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium against Fiorentina and in the Third European Cup won against Milan. He went on to play in two more finals, eight in total, an absolute record along with Milan's Paolo Maldini. 

Francisco Gento played 600 official matches for Real Madrid and scored 182 goals. As a great symbol of the Madrid club, he succeeded Alfredo di Stéfano as honorary president of the club, which currently holds 13 European Cups as the most successful team in the Old Continent. He won 23 official titles with Real Madrid and had recently been equalled by the Brazilian Marcelo after the last Spanish Super Cup won by the Madrid team. 

With the Spanish national team, Gento played 43 matches and played in two World Cups, in 1962, in Chile, and 1966, in England. After his time as a player, he coached Real Madrid's youth teams. He also coached Castellón, Palencia and Granada in the Second Division.