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.
Real Madrid legend and honorary president Paco Gento has died at the age of 88.Gento is the only player in history to win six European Cups. He also won 12 league titles. A true Madrid and world football icon.Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/vZbuYDnLkT— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 18, 2022
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.
𝘏𝘈𝘚𝘛𝘈 𝘚𝘐𝘌𝘔𝘗𝘙𝘌, 𝘎𝘌𝘕𝘛𝘖. pic.twitter.com/EaLgFcqKsR— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) January 18, 2022
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".
🙏 Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the great Paco Gento.🏆 A veteran of two FIFA World Cups and the only man in history to win six European Cups, Gento's loss will be mourned by the football community.@realmadriden | @SeFutbol— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) January 18, 2022
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.