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In memory of Enrique Castro, 'Quini'


The news broke just as Real Madrid's game away to Espanyol came to a conclusion: Quini had died. A sudden heart attack close to his home in Gijon being the cause of death. With his sad passing the world of Spanish football loses one of the greats from the game, five-times top scorer in LaLiga and two times top marksman in the second tier. He was a key player in Sporting's promotion to the first division in 1970 after a lengthy spell out of the top flight. He later moved to Barcelona and won two Copa del Rey titles and a European Cup Winners Cup with the Catalans before returning to Gijon where he hung up his boots at the age of 37. He was also capped 37 times by Spain with fierce competition for places with the likes of Gárate, Santillana and Satrústegui challenging for a starting place with 'La Roja' at the time.

Quini during a Spain v Scotland game
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Quini during a Spain v Scotland gameDIARIO AS

An example

Always positive, lethal in the area...a quick player with energy and intelligence and possessing a fine shot and an outstanding individual to boot. The typical footballer that wins over the supporters on both sides as he refused to get involved in petty incidents on the pitch, rolled with the punches that went with his position as striker, helped out the match officials and was always respectful towards fans of the opposing side. His behaviour on the playing field was akin to his personality off the pitch. He was a down-to-earth type, humble, good natured, a joker and always surrounded by friends. He overcame a recent cancer that may have taken it's toll on his body as he death at the age of 68 was unexpected and out of the blue.

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Kidnap ordeal

Quini became loved by many and this was never more true after after his kidnap ordeal in 1981 when four delinquents took him forcefully from his home after a league match. The whole country was on a knife edge for 25 days and he eventually showed up again on the same night that Spain beat England at Wembley in a friendly game as part of the 1982 World Cup preparation. The news broke as the game was unfolding and the joy around the nation was palpable. Quini was soon back among the goals after his ordeal and generated even greater applause from stadia throughout the league. He eventually forgave his kidnappers which says much about Quini the man. He may have left us at the age of 68 but leaves behind an incredible legacy as a player and a person.