The white Real Madrid is dyed black by the death of the legendary Paco Gento. Footballers such as Marcelo, the president Florentino Pérez and the coach Carlo Ancelotti, have attended this heartfelt tribute that has been held at the Santiago Bernabeu for the only player who has 6 European Cups to his credit.
His coffin wrapped in the Real Madrid flag has also been surrounded by these trophies and numerous flower crowns, including that of Barça. Gento will be buried in his hometown, Guarnizo in Cantabria, in the strictest privacy at the express wish of the family.
Known as the ‘Galerna del Cantábrico’, Paco Gento, as a Real Madrid winger, wore the number 11 shirt for 18 years. He came to treasure 24 titles, more than any other white club footballer. He also got to play with the Spanish team in 43 games.
As the hours went by they saw well-known figures from Madrid society go by, such as Father Ángel, president of the charitable organization Mensajeros de la Paz, who was praying before the coffin just at the moment in which the coach of the first team, the Italian Carlo Ancelotti, came to pay his tribute with his wife.
Political authorities such as the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, and the mayor of Santander, Gema Igual, also spent a long time comforting the Gento family, represented by a good number of relatives, adults and children, ready to give their last bye.
Acting as host was the madridista president Florentino Pérez, talking with each other, as well as the director of Institutional Relations of the entity and former player, Emilio Butragüeño.
Along with them, he was accompanied by several former players such as Paco Buyo, José Martinéz ‘Pirri’, Fernando Sanz, Fernando Hierro, the Montenegrin Pedja Mijatovic, Álvaro Arbeloa or Rafael Martín Vázquez.
Representing Spanish sport, the president of the Higher Sports Council, José Manuel Franco, attended, and leaving aside the historic citizen rivalry, Enrique Cerezo, president of Atlético de Madrid, attended.
The feeling for the historical extreme was not reduced to the players and leaders. Real Madrid fans of all kinds and conditions also attended the funeral chapel. Most of them were veterans who remembered their best moments, even at some point out loud.
“You were a magnificent person and a better player, may God have you in his glory,” exclaimed an elderly man before the coffin.
Another came to say goodbye to his idol with a framed black and white photograph of Real Madrid’s sixth European Cup winning team, the one in 1966. “I never saw him kick anyone, they tripped him up so that didn’t run”, explained Enrique, an 81-year-old madridista fan who didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to pay his last tribute to his idol with his painting.
Gento was born in Guarnizo, a district of Astillero, Cantabria, Spain, on October 21, 1933. He went through Rayo Cantabria and Racing de Santander, before signing for Real Madrid, where he played a total of 761 games from 1953 to 1971. , in which he scored 253 goals. With the Spanish team he played 43 games and scored 5 goals, participating in the World Cups in Chile 1962 and England 1966.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.