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18 Jan, 2022 12:40

Tributes paid to Real Madrid icon who recorded unique feat

The ex-left winger was voted Spain's best football player of the 20th century
Tributes paid to Real Madrid icon who recorded unique feat

Tributes have been paid to Real Madrid's joint most decorated player of all time, Paco Gento, who has died aged 88.

Born in October 1933, Gento got his lucky break 20 years later when a flu outbreak at Racing Santander saw him promoted to their first team to face Los Blancos.

So impressive was the youngster in the fixture that he was brought to the Bernabeu three days later to start a legendary spell with Madrid that lasted until 1971.

Wearing the number 11 shirt, Gento became the only man to win the European Cup (later renamed the Champions League) six times as part of a fabled side containing Ferenc Puskas which lifted the big-eared trophy in five consecutive seasons in the 1950s.

Until Sunday when equaled by Marcelo, thanks to Real Madrid's win in the Spanish Supercup, he was also the club's sole most decorated player of all time for 50 years.

Naturally, then, the tributes have poured in for a man considered one of the greatest Spanish footballers in the history of the sport.

On their official Twitter account, Real Madrid posted a near-five-minute clip with the caption: "So long, Gento".

Elsewhere, a minute's silence was held at their training ground by current first team players, and an official statement said that all those at the La Liga giants were "deeply saddened" by the death of their honorary president "and one of the greatest legends of our club and of world football".

Across 19 seasons, Gento played over 600 games for Real Madrid and netted 182 goals while noted for his blistering pace, vision, and technical ability.