By Daniel Infante Tuaño
BARCELONA — Considered as the best Asian player of all time, holds the record for the most number of goals a FC Barcelona player has ever scored, and dubbed as “El Rompe Redes” for breaking nets with the power of his goals.
Despite these football milestones and after more than 100 years, half-Ilonggo, half Spanish Paulino Alcantara seemed to have sunk into oblivion.
Recently, a biography entitled “Paulino: El primer crac de la història del Barça” was launched to remember Alcantara and pay tribute to his legacy in Barcelona’s premier team Fútbol Club Barcelona or locally known as Barça.
Alcantara is the highest goal scorer in Barça’s history with 369 goals in 357 games, beating the goal record of modern-day football superstar Lionel Messi.
The book, published by Edicions Saldonar and Fútbol Club Barcelona, was written by David Valero Carreras and Angel Iturriaga Barco.
“Our main sources of information were two biographies of Alcantara, one was published in 1924 by Alcantara (himself) and the other was made for the centennial of the club…By luck, we can speak with the family here in Spain, the two grandchildren of Paulino. And she told us many things about the footballer of the family,” Valero said.
One of their interesting discoveries, according to Iturriaga, is that Alcantara was related to Hollywood actor Juan de Garchitorena and that he played for the Club while pursuing a career in medicine.
Ana Maria Gutierrez Puigbert, the granddaughter of Alcantara, recounted her memories of her mother’s uncle: “I remember him. I know his son that died when he was a doctor…Paulino, we used to see him, when he used to play, and everything, but he died, I think 1970.”
Also present in the well-attended book launch in Camp Nou was Philippine Honorary Consul Jordi Puig, who stressed the importance of knowing his life story. “He’s one of the important players of the team of Barcelona and he’s from the Philippines,” he said.
What also caught the attention of the crowd during the book launch was the 10-year-old Pinoy football player Sandro Reyes, who also attended the event with his family.
Reyes, who is being primed to follow the footsteps of his compatriot Alcantara, was admitted to the prestigious football academy for kids FCB Escola last year.
The biography is published in Catalan, one of the official languages of Catalonia, but the authors plan to have it translated into Spanish, English and even in Filipino in the future.
The authors are also slated to present the book again this time to the Filipino community in Barcelona on December 9 at the Philippines Club de Catalunya. ABS-CBNnews.com
Watch this related TV report in Filipino language aired on Balitang Europe, The Filipino Channel, ABS-CBN: