Francisco Gento: The man with the record cup collection

Francisco Gento’s six — yes, six — European Cups

On 21 October 1933, Real Madrid striker Francisco Gento was born in the Guarnizo district of Cantabria in northern Spain. By the time he retired, he was the club’s all-time appearances leader and he remains the only man to win six European Cups.

An outside left forward, he started his professional career in 1952 with Racing Santander, but moved to Real Madrid for the 1953–54 season. He started slowly. Although he failed to score across 21 appearances in his maiden season, Gento did collect his first silverware as Real Madrid won the league for the first time in eleven years.

The honors flowed regularly thereafter, with another league title in 1955 and the first of five consecutive European Cups in 1956. In 1957, he scored in Real’s 2–0 win over Fiorentina, then provided the 107th-minute match-winner against Milan in 1958. After Real Madrid’s European streak came to an end, the club returned to the final on the losing side in 1962 and 1964 and won the for a sixth time in 1966. Gento, who captained the side in 1966, was the only person to play for Real Madrid in all six wins.

When he retired in 1971, Gento had made a total of 599 appearances for Real Madrid. At the time, he held the record for most appearances for the club, though that tally has since been surpassed by four other players. he moved into management briefly — for Castilla, Castellón, Palencia, and Granada — before becoming a European ambassador for Real Madrid.