The goal that Gento scored for me: the vision of a rival of the Cantabrian

The death of Paco Gento stains Spanish football in mourning. A myth is gone. The Galerna del Cantábrico marked an era in national football, truffing his career with titles, goals and fast runs. The recognition of his career is unanimous in the world of football. Also among his rivals. “Very fast, he always left the rivals. He was also very brave, he shot well and he was cheeky. It wasn’t easy to center like he did, with that speed. I haven’t seen many with that ability,” says Juan Mesa, who was Oviedo’s goalkeeper between 1964 and 1970.

Mesa suffered from the ability of the Cantabrian in a clash played at the Santiago Bernabeu on October 11, 1964. Madrid defeated the Blues 3-0 and Gento scored the second goal. “I don’t remember the goal, but there is a photo in the club’s museum of a save I made to Puskas,” says the former blue footballer.

But Mesa’s relationship with Gento went further. “We did the coaching course together, I spent a lot of time in my room. I think it was in 1963, in Madrid. About 600 showed up, you did an entrance exam and 60 of us stayed. There was also Pachín (defender for Madrid) and Luis Aragonés. We stayed for a month and a half as interns and we made a good friendship”, recalls the Andalusian.

Gento also visited Oviedo many times. Yes brother Toño, Gento III by nom de guerre, played for Oviedo between 1968 and 1971. “Paco used to come a lot to see him play. I know because we lived in the same building, opposite the National Police headquarters, very close to the old Tartiere. I lived in the sixth and Toño in the seventh. And it was usual to see Paco visiting,” he says. “He was a very good person, very flat and close. He was international, he won everything, he broke the record for games played in Madrid and he maintained a striking humility, ”completes Mesa.

best winger ever

nicknamed ‘The Cantabrian gale‘, because of his speed, Gento was considered as the best left winger in the world in the history of football. During his time, he shared a dressing room with players like Di Stéfano, Puskas, Kopa, Rial, Del Sol or Amancio and the arrival of the ‘ye-yés’ Grosso, Pirri, Sanchis or De Felipe.

With Real Madrid he totaled 761 games, in which he scored 253 goals, of these 427 league games (128 goals). On May 21, 1971, he played his last official match in the second leg of the Cup Winners’ Cup final, in which the Whites lost against Chelsea.


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