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Paulino Alcántara Riestrá (October 7, 1896, Iloilo Citymarker, Philippinesmarker — February 13, 1964, Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker) was a Filipino football player and manager who spent most of his playing career at FC Barcelona and was the first Filipino and Asian player to play for a European club. He also played for Catalonia, the Philippines and Spain. Alcántara made his debut for FC Barcelona at the age of 15 and remains the youngest player to play or score for the club. He also scored 357 goals in 357 matches, making him the club's highest goalscorer. After retiring as a player in 1927 at the age of 31, he became a doctor. On July 5, 1927 FC Barcelona played against Spain in a testimonial match in his honour and he later served as a club director between 1931 and 1934. In 1951 Alcántara became a selector and coached Spain for three games.

Early years

Alcántara was born in the Philippines and moved to Spain to play for FC Galeno before he was discovered by Joan Gamper and signed up for FC Barcelona. He made his debut at the age of 15 years, 4 months and 18 days old on February 25, 1912 against Catalá SC in the Championat de Catalunya and FC Barcelona won 9-0 and Alcántara scored the first three goals of the game. He was nicknamed "el rompe redes" (the net breaker) due to his scoring ability. Among his team mates during his time at the club were Francisco Bru Sanz, Jack Greenwell and Romà Forns. He went on to help the club win a Copa del Rey and Championat de Catalunya in 1913 and a Championat de Catalunya in 1916.

Bohemian Sporting Club

In 1916 Alcántara return to the Philippines and played for the Bohemian Sporting Club. He was selected by the Philippine national football team in 1917 and represented his country at the Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyomarker, helping them defeat Japan 15-2, which became the Philippines' highest win in international football. Meanwhile, FC Barcelona had failed to win a championship title in his absence.

FC Barcelona

After returning to FC Barcelona, his former team mate and coach, Jack Greenwell experimented with Alcántara as a defender, but failed to achieve success on that position, which saw him return to the forward line and in 1919, he helped the club win another Championat de Catalunya. The club also reached the Copa del Rey final but lost 5-2 to Arenas Club de Getxo. In 1920 the club won another Copa del Rey and the Championat de Catalunya with Alcántara scoring in the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa final. The FC Barcelona team included Emilio Sagi Liñan, who formed a partnership with Alcántara as well as Ricardo Zamora, Josep Samitier and Félix Sesúmaga. This marked the beginning of the club’s first golden era and saw them dominate both the Championat de Catalunya and Copa del Rey tournament. Alcántara scored twice in the 1922 Copa final where FC Barcelona defeated Real Unión 5-1 and scored the winning goal in the 3-2 win over Atlético Madrid in the 1926 final.

International career

In 1915 Alcántara made his debut with Catalonia and in 1924 he played at least 6 games and scored at least 4 goals for the team, as well as representing the Philippines and Spain in international level. In 1920 Alcántara, along with Zamora, Samitier and Sesúmaga, was selected to represent Spain at the Olympic Games. However, Alcántara chose to stay at home to take his final medical exams. He eventually made his debut for Spain on October 7, 1921 at the age of 25 against Belgium and scored both goals in a 2-0 win. He made 5 appearances and scored 6 goals for Spain between 1921 and 1923.



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