Seasons at the club: 1912-27
Games played: 357
Goals Scored: 357
Paulino Alcántara is considered
one of Barca’s legendary players because of his goal scoring exploits. He lacked the build of a stereotypical athlete,
but he possessed the killer instincts of a matador. This offensive machine knew where the goal was and often made sure that
the ball was in it.
Alcántara was born in Iloilo, Philippines, in 1896 to a Spanish father, who was in the Spanish
Army that was stationed in the province. He was a mestizo, born to a Spanish father and an Ilonggo mother. In 1910, he traveled
to Barcelona to continue his education. Alcántara grew up in Barcelona and initially played for FC Galeno before he was spotted
by Joan Gamper and signed up for FC Barcelona. He made his senior debut at the age of 15 years, 4 months and 18 days on February
25 1912 against Catalá SC in the Championat de Catalunya. FC Barcelona won 9-0, and Alcántara scored the first three goals
of the game. Among his team mates during his first spell at the club were Francisco Bru, Jack Greenwell and Romà Forns. He
went on to help the club win the Copa Del Rey and Championat de Catalunya double in 1913 and a 'Championat de Catalunya' in
1916. Back then, Copa Del Rey represented the championship of Spain.
In 1916, Alcántara’s parents decide to return to the Philippines and took their son with them. There, he continued
his studies in medicine and played football for Bohemians of Manila. He was also selected to play for the Philippines national
football team in 1917 and represented the country at the Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, helping them defeat Japan
national football team 15-2. At the same games he also represented the Philippines at table tennis. Meanwhile, FC Barcelona
had failed to win a major trophy in his absence and the club pleaded in vain with his parents to allow him to return to Spain.
However, he contracted malaria in 1917, and apparently refused to take the prescribed medication until he was allowed to go
After returning to Spain and FC Barcelona, his former team mate and now coach, Jack Greenwell experimented with Alcántara
as a defender. His decision was short-lived. Barca’s club membership,"Los Socios," demanded that Alcantara be switched
back to his normal position. The paying members received their wish. Alcantara went back to scoring goals on a usual basis
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 Championat de Catalunya double with Alcántara scoring in the 2-0 win
over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa final. The FC Barcelona team now included Sagibarbá, who formed a notable 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 dominating both the Championat de Catalunya and Copa Del Rey. Alcántara scored twice in the
1922 Copa final where FC Barcelona beat Real Unión 5-1 and scored the winner in the 3-2 win over Atlético Madrid in the 1926
In 1915 Alcántara made his debut with the Catalonia national football team. Between then and 1924 he played
at least 6 games and scored at least 4 goals for the Catalan XI. However records from the era do not always include accurate
statistics and he may have played and scored more. As well as playing for the Catalan XI and the Philippines national football
team, he also played for the Spanish national football team.
In 1920, Alcántara, along with Ricardo Zamora, Josep Samitier, and Félix Sesúmaga, was selected to represent Spain
at the 1920 Summer 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 subsequently
made 5 appearances and scored 6 goals for Spain between 1921 and 1923. Alcantara is on record as being the first player from
Barcelona born outside of Europe to represent Spain in international football competition. His ability to hit the most powerful
of shots crossed frontiers on the 30th April 1922 when, in a game between Spain and France, he hit a shot so hard that it
ripped right through the net. For many years after, children from Barcelona would recall that moment and would wish to do
the same as the man from the Philipines.
He officially retired on July 5, 1927. The Spanish National Team and Barcelona played a "testimonial" that day, a
game in honor of Alcantara. At age 31, he felt it was time to dedicate his life to his profession. However, this was not his
goodbye to football. He was on the board of directors between 1931 and 1934 and Alcántara was one of the first footballers
to write memoirs of his playing days.
But it was not a definite goodbye to football as a whole. He briefly served on
the coaching staff of Spain’s National Team in the 50s – three matches against Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden.
He won one game and tied the other two.
Paulino Alcantara died in Barcelona on February 13, 1964. With his goal scoring titles, he also won five Spanish Cup
championships and 10 Catalonia championships.
Alcantara is not only one of Spanish football’s most revered legends,
but a revered legend in the sport of football as a whole. He represents not only Spain, but the Philippines also. He represents
success not only in Catalonia, but also in Iloilo.