Paulino Alcantara: The fading of a legend
The emergence of a significant player from a country that is not so advanced on football, has multiple benefits besides pride. The same happened at Philippines when Paulino Alcantara culminated with the colors of Barcelona, about 100 years ago! The scant information, however, did the legend be endangered with extinction...
Almost seven thousand miles separating Philippines from Spain, and beyond football, the differences are chaotic at all levels. But the presence of Paulino Alcantara is the unifying factor in two different worlds.
Paulino Alcantara: The man with 369 goals
Alcantara was born on October 7, 1896, by a Spanish father and Filipino mother. The country of birth was still a colony of Spain when at 8 years old, he left for Barcelona because of his father, who was an officer in the army. Stranger in a big city, he enrolled in the academies of Barcelona and played for the Catalans at the age of 15 years. Became not only the youngest player to wear the shirt of the club, but also the first to score in an official game. And not only a goal, but three!
He had shown from the beginning that he was a great player and at 1916 led FC Barcelona to win Copa Del Rey and two Catalonia Championships. However, he was forced to return to Philippines to continue his studies.
Paulino Alcantara was known by the nickname of Trencaxarxes (net-breaker), from 1922
Of course, his country took the opportunity to express his awesome talent. Led the Philippines to a 15-2 victory against Japan in the Far Eastern Games in 1917 in Tokyo. A Score that's still a world record. The desire to return to Barcelona was big and to make it, he used his illness.
Infected from malaria and refused to receive treatment if they won't let him return to Barcelona! He returned to Barcelona and start doing big things again. He scored 369 goals and in a lot of matches had to play as a defender! Overall, he won 10 championships in Catalonia and 5 Cups.
However, he played at the wrong time, which did not favor his reputation. His achievements are not on video. Most of football fans never heard of Alcantara. The only source of information about him was the internet.
Yet, even in recent years, information about the legend, has a positive impact.
Paulino Alcantara died in 1964, becoming the biggest football personality who passed through the country of Philippines. In the Football Federation offices in Manila, stands proudly a wooden statue of him. The mission is his image to come out of there, to get to know people and inspire children who daily kicking the ball in Philippines...