Prudent and simple. Extremely shy. A man of few words, with a strong character, sarcastic and endearing in short distances. Able to pick up the phone at home and when asked about him, change his tone of voice to conclude with a laconic “he's not home, he's walking the dog.” This is how Francisco Gento, born in Guarnizo (Cantabria) in 1933 and died this Tuesday in Madrid at the age of 88, was with great brushstrokes. The Spaniard, one of the most successful footballers in the history of football, never boasted about anything.
Nor of his six European Cups, although no other footballer has won as many as him; nor of his 12 Leagues, also a personal and non-transferable brand that will be very difficult to overcome by those who come after him and even more so after the departure of Messi (10) from the Spanish championship.
The great night of Gento
“I'm not one of those who stick out their chests, I never did. I am not very stiff in stature and character”, he pointed out when asked about his achievements. Due to the strength that the Spanish League always had, I would say that it is more difficult to win those 12 trophies than the six European Cups, but I am as proud of one thing as another”. It is not for less, only Real Madrid (13) and Milan (7) accumulate more orejonas that he in a private capacity. Liverpool and Bayern have the same.
The life and career of Paco Gento , in pictures
For his fellow sufferers he was always Paco, and as Amancio Amaro says, terribly moved by his loss, “he was a good man, our great captain. I say, I command, but without saying it, without it being noticed. When all the greats left, he stayed to educate those of us who came from what Real Madrid was and with him as captain we won the Sixth”.
Gento, the only player of history with six European Cups.#RealMadrid
— Real Madrid CF (@realmadrid) January 18, 2022
He never cared to spend many years in Di Stéfano's shadow. Paco felt true admiration for his partner and defined him gracefully. “He had a very bad milk, but he was a hell of a guy and he was the best footballer I've played with and that I could have had against”, said of La Saeta. They arrived together at Real Madrid in 1953 and shared a dressing room for 11 seasons, until Alfredo was fired and went to Espanyol. He continued another seven courses at the white club.
Gento never forgot that at the end of the first season, when Santiago Bernabéu wanted to loan him out or transfer him to Osasuna because he had not performed as expected Of him, Di Stéfano appeared in the office and told the president: “Gento does not touch, he has to continue here and he will learn. It has innate conditions”. And he stayed 18 seasons.