Real Madrid: The day Cruyff blew Paco Gento’s mind
Although he had travelled everywhere and had faced some of the best players in the world, it was that day, on October 11, 1967, that Gento was left with his mouth open by the performance of the young Dutchman.
“The truth is that I was excited about playing Ajax, both their team and their No. 9 [Cruyff],” he told MARCA.
Ignacio Zoco was assigned by his coach, Miguel Munoz, with the task to man-mark the Dutch wizard, who one month earlier scored the first ever goal in a game between Ajax and Madrid.
The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw, while the second game in Spain went to extra-time and Los Blancos qualified for the next round.
Gento opened the scoring 13 minutes into the second half and Cees Groot equalised 20 minutes before the end, with Jose Luis Veloso scoring the winner to make it 2-1.
Rinus Michels was building a dynasty back in Amsterdam, although it was just the fourth time they participated in the European Cup and they had never gone through to the quarter-finals.
Cruyff was the icing on top of the cake of an Ajax team that would go on to dominate Europe and introduce fans to the ‘total football’.