Legends: Francisco Gento


Paco Gento

Francisco Gento Lopez was born in Guarnizo, Cantabria, 21 October 1933. Son of a truck driver, left school at fourteen to help his father and take care of the cows they had on a small farm. As a child when he ran around Guarnizo, he dreamed of playing for Racing de Santander. Never thought his name would be a world football legend and he would be considered the best left midfielder of all time.

At that time he started playing football in the “Nueva Montaña” team, alternating with the athletic sport, where he purchased the speed that made him famous as a footballer. Shortly afterwards went to the “Astilleros”. In this team and with only fourteen years, scored nine times in a regional championship game, earning him a move to “Rayo Cantabria”. In 1953 amounted to Racing Santander, where his name became a national attraction. Alvaro Bustamante’s references, vice-president of Real Madrid who was born in the same province that Gento, served that season to sign for the white team for a period of five years. His early performances for the club were a disaster and a disappointment. Extremely fast and lacks a polished technique, raids ended, most of the time, outside the boundaries of the pitch, forgetting the ball that was left behind.

The arrival of Héctor Rial, a fine Argentine midfielder managed to temper the speed of Gento and make him profitable. Passes over 40 yards on the boot of the Cantabrian were finished in impressive gallops by the band in which he moved the ball a few yards and ran after him, overflowing with all that is put in front. Only stopped when he approached the line of lime which delimits the end of the field, then he took out his left leg and threw a measured center to the head of Di Stefano, Puskas or any other striker in that wonderful team.

Francisco Gento always noted for his impressive speed and prodigious dribbling that left sitting all his rivals. This made him the most dangerous left side of the moment. Not noted for his height, but became the world's fastest extreme. Nobody at the time had his speed. Also had a terrible and powerful shot on goal.


Francisco Gento's fame spreads far beyond Spanish. In Europe, Gento have been the only player in the world who played for fifteen consecutive years in the European Cup (Champions League), appearing in eight finals and achieving six titles, the last being perhaps the most emotional because he captained a young team, dubbed the "Ye-ye", composed by young Spanish players. This was the title that best taste left in Paco Gento.

Gento's track record  like player is really impressive. During the eighteen years he played for Real Madrid, Gento won: 6 European Cups, 12 League titles, 2 Spanish Cups and 1 Intercontinental Cup, among other awards.

He wore the Spanish jersey 44 times and has long held the record for games played with the national team. Among the amenities that football has given him is to have played in two world championships. In 1963 he was selected by FIFA to make the team "Rest of the World" which faced the English at Wembley Stadium in London.

After retiring as an active player became coach. He managed Castilla, Castellón, Palencia, Granada and several teams from the inferior categories of the Real Madrid. Today, Gento is "Real Madrid ambassador in Europe", traveling in front of the first team, along with his inseparable friend and Honorary President of Real Madrid, Alfredo DiStefano, on European soil.

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