Real Madrid European Cup great Gento dies

Paco Gento, winner of six European Cups with Real Madrid, has died aged 88.
Camera IconPaco Gento, winner of six European Cups with Real Madrid, has died aged 88. Credit: EPA

Francisco "Paco" Gento, a former Real Madrid great, the only player to win six European Cup titles, has died. He was 88.

Madrid announced Gento's passing on Tuesday but did not give a cause of death.

Gento played with Real Madrid for 18 seasons, from 1953-71. His 23 titles with the club in official competitions is a record he shares with Brazilian defender Marcelo, who drew level on Sunday by winning the Spanish Super Cup.

In addition to the six European Cups, Gento also helped Madrid win 12 Spanish league titles. He played 600 games with the club, scoring 182 goals. He was later named Real Madrid's honorary president.

"Paco Gento truly represents all the values of Real Madrid, and has been and will continue to be a reference for madridistas and for the sporting world," Madrid said in a statement. "He will always be remembered by madridistas and all football fans as one of their greatest."

Gento, a strong and speedy left winger, also made 43 appearances with the Spanish national team. He played in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told the squad about Gento's death before Tuesday's practice session and called for a moment of silence in his memory.

Former Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said Gento helped put Madrid's name in the history books forever by "achieving the greatest achievements."

Several clubs and players expressed their condolences through social media posts.

Among Gento's teammates in attack during his time at Madrid were other former greats such as Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas.

Gento arrived in Madrid from Racing Santander in 1953, the same season Di Stefano joined the club. Together, they led Madrid to a golden era both in Spain and internationally.

Gento was a crucial piece in the team that won five consecutive European Cups from 1956-60, and he also helped it lift the trophy in 1966. He played in eight European finals in total -- a record he shares with AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini -- losing the final in 1962 and 1964. Gento played in 88 European Cup games, scoring 31 goals.

He is survived by his wife, Mari Luz, sons Francisco and Julio, and granddaughters Aitana and Candela.

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