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This Wednesday July 9th marks the 75th anniversary of the debut of Cesar Rodriguez in a Barça shirt, in a match which took place on 9th of July 1939 at the Les Corts stadium, in a friendly against Alaves.
The legendary striker César, who eventually would be popularly known as ‘El Pelucas’, was then a young 19 year old who had arrived a few days earlier from his birthplace, Leon. He had been discovered by Joan Font, a former Barça and Sabadell player who had fought in the Republican army during the Civil War and had been a POW in the Spanish capital.
First game and first goal
After just a few training sessions, César played his first game for Barça. The match was played on July 9th 1939, at Les Corts stadium, against Alaves. Barça put out a team that included players from other clubs: Pérez; Babot, Melenchón, Muñoz, Franco, Bordoy, Domènech, Trujillo, César, Estrada, and Pagès. In the second half, Muñoz, Herrerita and Pacoví came on for Franco, César and Pagès. The team from Vitoria, playing as a tight unit, won the match 4-2, the Barça goals being scored by César and Domènech. Despite the logical newbie nerves, the lad from Leon had a very good 45 minutes on the pitch. Thus, in the in the media at the time it was said that: "Young César is a great striker for the future". Actually, that phrase couldn’t have been more accurate.
Compulsory fascist occasion
During the summer of 1939, the civil war having ended just a few months earlier, every Barça friendly match at Les Corts was an event with a compulsory fascist tinge. That day was no less so, and the fans had to listen to the words of two important characters within the new Franco regime, like the fascist poet Ernesto Giménez Caballero, and captain Manuel Brabo Montero.
Fleeting time and loans before his great success
After his debut César play more friendlies for Barça, where he showed his scoring ability and even played in the Catalonian Championship of 1939/40, the last one ever played. However, in November 1939, before the start of La Liga season, he was loaned out to Sabadell for the rest of the season, and between 1940 and 1942 he played for Granada. When he returned to Barcelona, it was for keeps, and he left his legendary mark on the team until 1955, with his unbelievable headers and his 301 goals in 433 matches.
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