FC Barcelona: Blast from the Past: César Rodríguez

César Rodríguez Álvarez was one of Barcelona's greatest football players. He was born on 29 June 1920 in León and started his youth football career at a local club. At the age of 19 César joined the club from the Catalan capital, but didn't stay there for long. In 1940 military service forced him to leave for Granada where he joined Granada CF as part of a loan deal. There he, in two seasons, amassed 23 goals in 24 games, therefore starting to make a name for himself as a premiere goalscorer.

César returned to Barcelona in 1942 and during the next 13 years he became known as one of the most complete players in club history. Known as "El Pelucas" or the " Wigman" because of his early balding was blessed with an incredible scoring touch and great technique. Capable of shooting the ball with great accuracy and power with both feet while also being able to power the ball with his head made him one of the most feared goalscorers of his time.

He reached double figures in (La Liga) goals 11 times in his 13 year Blaugrana career while eclipsing the 20 goal mark three times. That may not seem much in the times of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but those numbers were enough for César to win the Pichichi trophy once, with 27 goals in 24 games (1947-48), as well as finishing second on three occasions. César finished at the top of the club's goalscoring charts for seven consecutive season from 1944 to 1951 while leading Barcelona to 13 titles including five La Liga titles.

During his playing days César was considered as one of the greatest stars of his generation, but he remained as humble and modest as he was before he made a name for himself. César completed his Barcelona career in 1955 as the Club's leading scorer in official games with 232 goals. That record stood for almost six decades until, a modest man himself, Messi broke the record on 20 March 2012 against one of César's previous clubs, Granada. César, however, remains Barcelona's leading scorer in the greatest football rivalry, El Clasico. He netted 14 times against Real Madrid, but Messi can again break the record in the near future as he trails César by only one goal.

César played out the remainder of his footballing career in the Segunda and Tercera divisions with Cultural Leonesa, Perpignan and Elche. After helping Elche to two consecutive promotions, the last season as a player-coach, César retired as a player in 1960.

Internationally César never made any significant impact, but that was mainly because he only played 12 international games in seven years for Spain. He scored six goals for La Furia Roja and his side never lost a game when he scored, winning four of them. César was also a member of the Catalan national team.

After hanging up his player boots César stepped into managerial boots, but his coaching career wasn't as successful as his playing career. His biggest coaching achievements came in his first coaching stint, at the helm of Real Zaragoza. The club finished in the top five in each of the three season César was the manager and even reached the final of the Cup where he, fittingly, lost to Barcelona. César returned to Barcelona in 1963 as a coach, but his coaching career in Catalonia was a forgettable one as he was sacked just five matches into his second season. César went on to coach Mallorca, Celta Vigo, Real Betis, Zaragoza (again), Hércules and San Andrés, never staying at any club for more than two seasons.

César died on 1 March 1995 at the age of 74 in Barcelona, in the city where he will always be remembered as one of the Club's greatest goalscorers and a true legend.

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