Paulino Alcántara

On February 25, 1912 a young Filipino of just 15 years called Paulino Alcántara first pulled on the first team shirt and scored three goals. When he retired in 1927, he had scored 369 goals in friendlies and official matches for the club.

First hat-trick at 15 years

Born in the Philippines in 1896 to a Spanish father and Filipino mother, Alcántara was just three when his family moved to Barcelona, the same year that Joan Gamper and his friends formed FC Barcelona. In 1910, he joined the club's youth team, and was soon amazing everybody with his skill and goalscoring ability. Despite his young age, the first team already had an eye on this prodigy.

On February 25, 1912 he played for the first eleven for the first time in the Catalonian Championship at the old Carrer de la Indústria ground against Català Sporting Club. Barça won 9-0 and Alcántara scored three of the goals to set a record that has never been broken for being the youngest player to ever score for FC Barcelona in an official match.

Those were early days for the game, and there were only about a hundred people there to witness the incredible sight of this tiny child able to shoot the ball with such immense power.

The man with the amazing goals

Defying his slender appearance, Alcántara was a true professional from the start and fully dedicated to the cause. His medical studies helped him no end, especially his knowledge of the very latest fitness methods. This meant that an extraordinarily skinny looking player on the outside was built like a train within, and his ability to strike the ball hard astounded everyone that ever saw him play. Looking so appealing with his white handkerchief always hanging out of his shorts, he became the first major media figure in FC Barcelona history.

From 1922, he was known by the nickname of Trencaxarxes (net-breaker) after one of his shots actually managed to pierce the net in a game he played for Spain, although that was not the first time his amazing shooting had caused uproar. On April 13, 1919, Alcántara scored what has gone down in history as the "police goal" in a game at Les Corts against Real Sociedad. A powerful shot from the Filipino was heading straight for the goal when a stray policeman somehow got in the way of the ball. Such was the power of the shot that both the ball and policeman ended up in the back of the net.

Record in Barcelona and Philippines

In order to dedicate more time to medicine (having already been a practicing doctor since the early 1920s), Alcántara hung up his boots in 1927. He died in Barcelona in 1964 and was buried in Les Corts cemetery, next to the Camp Nou. In 2007, FIFA named him the best Asian player of all time. He still lives strong in the memory not just of Barça fans but also the Filipino population. Right now there is a huge campaign underway in the country to promote passion for the sport, and there is no better symbol or hero of the Philippine's footballing past than the legendary Paulino Alcántara.

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