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Gustau Biosca i Pagès, one of the biggest stars in FC Barcelona history, has passed away at the age of 86. There shall be a minute’s silence in his memory at the Camp Nou this evening before the game with Celta.
He was at Barça from 1950/51 to 1957/58 and was the lynchpin of the defence and a regular starter from the day he arrived. Biosca identified strongly with the club, and would always be a major ambassador for it and Catalonia all around the world.
Although he was a spectacularly corpulent, physical defender, Biosca also had an exquisite touch with the ball at his feet, an uncommon trait among defenders at the time. A veritable all-rounder, his positional sense was outstanding and he read the game to perfection, with an astonishing ability to deliver long yet accurate passes up the field. But it was for his capacity to break down attacks that he will always be remembered most.
From academy to first team
Biosca was born on February 29, 1928 in l’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona) and grew up through the youth ranks at Futbol Club Barcelona. In 1950/51 he made his first team debut and went on to be a key member of the famous team of the ‘Five Cups’, a legendary line-up consisting of Ramallets, Martín, Biosca, Seguer, Gonzalvo III, Bosch, Basora, César, Kubala, Vila and Manchón. Biosca stood out for his open nature and was always a media favourite. Very much the joker in the pack, masseur Àngel Mur Navarro once recalled how he used to put a bandage over his eyebrow so people could see he was injured.
He, Ladislau Kubala and César Rodríguez made an inseparable trio of buddies that got up to all kinds of antics both on and off the field. The friendship was so strong that Biosca even named one of his sons César, who was baptised in September 1963 in the Camp Nou chapel, with Rodríguez as godfather.
Sadly, one of Barça’s finest centre backs of all time suffered a serious injury playing away to Real Sociedad in 1957 and he was never quite the same player again. He started playing for the reserve team, Comtal, in an attempt to get match fit, but was unable to achieve that goal and announced his retirement in 1958 after making 187 appearances for the club and winning two Ligas, four Spanish Cups, one Eva Duarte Cup, one Latin Cup and one Fairs Cup, as well as winning eleven international caps for Spain. On February 7, 1962 the club held a testimonial match in honour of him and Gonzalvo III between Barça and Peñarol of Montevideo.
Coach and director
He went into coaching and would be Ladislau Kubala’s assistant with the Spanish national team, and manager of the U21 side. Years later, from 1993 to 2000, he was a member of Josep Lluís Núñez’s board at FC Barcelona, being responsible for player relations. Also, for several years he was the ‘alma mater’ of the Barça Players Group.
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