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Carles Rexach

Seasons in the club:1965 – 81
Played matches: 656
Goals scored: 197
1 League (1973/74)
UEFA Cup (1965/66)
4 Spanish Cups (1967/68, 70/71, 77/78, and 80/81)
1 Pichichi (1970-1971.)

Carles Rexach Cerdá is a former footballer and coach in Catalan football, born in the neighborhood of Pedralbes in Barcelona on January 13th, 1947. He is known as Charly Rexach, or just Charly, and nicknamed 'El noi de Pedralbes' (the boy from Pedralbes) and is one of the most charismatic and renowned figures of FC Barcelona, club that he joined as a 12 year old kid. He holds the record of having held a contractual relationship with the Catalonian club for 44 years: 5 as a player for the youth teams, 17 with the first team and 22 with the tactical team. He was an assistant to Johan Cruyff during the eight years (between 1988 and 1996) that he Dutch legend directed the team. Later on he became coach of the first team between 2001 and 2002. In 1997 he was, during a single season, coach of Yokohama Marinos, a Japanese first division team.

He debuted with FC Barcelona's first team under the lead of Salvador Artigas. It was on April 25th, 1965, at 18 years old, in a Copa del Rey game in El Sardinero, Santander, against Real Racing Club. Barcelona won 0-4, and Rexach scored the last goal for Barcelona, the first one of his professional career.

Between 1965 and 1966, Rexach played a few games with the first team, but he participated more with CF Condal, which was Barcelona's second team at the time.

His debut in the Spanish league was on September 10th, 1967, when he was 20 years old, during the first game of the 1967-68 season. The game was played in Zaragoza, where Real Zaragoza beat Barcelona 3-2. Carles Rexach scored the first goal of the game at the tenth minute.

Rexach became a starter after that day. For the 1967-68 season, he played 22 of the 30 games, all of them complete, scoring a total of six goals and establishing himself as on of the revelations of the seasons.

He played over the right side, where he showed an excellent class. Fast, a superb crosser and good kicker (especially for free kicks and penalties), he was considered one of the best in his position in Europe. His figure, however, always divided within the local supporters. While he was valued thanks to his class, and for being a Catalonian boy from the youth teams, he was always criticized for his lack of consistency and fighting spirit.

During his sixteen seasons with Barcelona, he was always a starter, except for his last seasons when, due to his age, he only played eight games in the league. This allowed him to become the second player with the most official games for Barcelona with a total of 665, only behind Migueli, who played 670 games for the club.

Although he was not a natural scorer, Rexach did win the Pichichi as top league scorer in the 1970-71 season after scoring 17 goals in 29 games. That was his best scoring season. He is the sixth top scorer in club history with 211 goals in official games.

Despite his long career with Barcelona, he only won one league title with the club and that was back in 1973-74, with Johan Cruyff as his teammate. Later on he won the European Cup Winner's Cup in 1979. He was one of the most important players of the final played in Basiliea, Switzerland, where Barcelona defeated Fortuna Düsseldorf 4-3 in extra time. Rexach missed a penalty in that game but did score the 4th goal which turned out to be the game winning goal.

The title that Rexach won the most times was the Copa del Rey, which he won four times. In the 1978 final, Barcelona defeated UD Las Palmas 3-1 with Rexach scoring twice and was considered the best player of the game.

Carles Rexach retired as an active player in 1981, at the age of 34. Barcelona organized an honor game for him on September 1st, 1981 against the reigning World Cup champion at that time, Argentina, which played with all their stars including a young Diego Maradona, in front a full Nou Camp. Barcelona won 1-0 with a goal from the Dane, Allan Simonsen, who joined the team to actually replace Rexach.

Rexach also represented Spain in international games and made his first appearance with the Spanish national team on April 23rd, 1969 against Switzerland in Valencia. He was constantly called up for ten years, although he only played 15 games and scored two goals. He played in the 1978 world cup in Argentina, where he played his last international game, with Spain losing against Austria 1-2 in Buenos Aires.

After his retirement, Rexach continued his link with the club, joining the tactical team as coach of the youth squad. That is how he started a career that would give him more titles than he achieved as a

From his retirement as an active player in 1981 until 1987, Rexach coached Barcelona's youth teams. In 1984, he founded a prestigious school for youngsters in Barcelona called TARR School, which receives its name from the names of the founding partners, former Barcelona players Torres, Asensi, Rexach and Rifé.

It was in 1987 when he became part of the first team's coaching body, as assistant to Luis Aragones. Since then, and until 2003, he was with the first team for over 16 years, although most of the time as assistant. Even then, he had to take the first coaching spot several times and for diverse reasons.

His first time as main coach was in 1988 when Luis Aragones decided to resign his position. Rexach took over until the end of the season, when the club then signed Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff wanted his former teammate as second coach. Together, Cruyff and Rexach formed a partnership that, between 1988 and 1996, achieved the most titles in the history of the club. During that time Rexach acted as first coach in many occasions, especially during the 1990-91 seasons. On late February of that year, Cruyff suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized several days and in recuperation for many months. From February until the end of the season, Rexach coach the team, which ended up winning the league, the first one of four in a row. In total, Rexach coached for six games, won four, tied one and lost one. In those six games the team scored 13 goals and conceded only three.

It was always said that Rexach not only had a lot to do with that title, but that he was the real tactical brain of FC Barcelona that revolutionized Spanish football and won the European Cup in 1992 and that was nicknamed 'Dream team'.

The following season, 1997-98, the team was coached by the Englishman, Bobby Robson, who brought the Portuguese Jose Mourinho as second coach. Rexach continued working with the first team, but as a spotter of rival teams and possible signings.

A little later, Rexach resigned from Barcelona for the first time in his life, when he accepted an offer to coach Yokohama Flugles, from the Japanese first division. His far east adventure was short lived and, at the end of the 1998-99 season, Rexach rejoined Barcelona's coaching team, led then by the new Dutch arrival, Louis Van Gaal.

On April 23rd, 2001 Rexach had a new opportunity. The club's president, Joan Gaspart, fired the first coach Llorenc Serra Ferrer, due to bad results, and offered Rexach the chance to coach the first team for the two months remaining in the season, with the prime objective was to get the team to qualify for the Champions League with the league title lost. Rexach coached the team for seven games, resulting in three wins, three ties and one loss, enough to finish in fourth place and qualify to get into the Champions League. This was possible thanks to an spectacular goal from Rivaldo in the last minute of the last game of the season against Valencia.

After the Champions League qualification, Joan Gaspart offered Rexach the chance he had always dreamed of: the renewal of his contract and the possibility of becoming Barcelona's first coach for the following season, 2001-2002. For the first time, Rexach would not be the first coach due to circumstances, but for his own right with all the power and time to plan the season to his taste with the team he wanted.

During the 2001-2002 season, Rexach coached the team during the whole 38 games. However, FC Barcelona only managed to get the fourth spot. He won 18 games, tied 10 and lost 10, with 65 goals scored and 37 received. The team did not win any of the competitions they played. Rexach was strongly criticized for the poor performance of the team, as well as the low level showed by the signings he had obtained (the French defender Christianval, the Brazilians Rochemback and Geovanni, the Swedish defender Patrick Anderson, and the Argentineans Bonano and Saviola) of which only Saviola had an acceptable season.

At the end of the season, Barcelona signed Louis Van Gaal to coach the team for the second time and Rexach came back to scouting positions, but earning the salary of first coach that he had agreed upon on his contract. The poor results continued the following seasons (2002-2003) and led the team to a crisis that ended up with Gaspart's resignation and the call for presidential elections.

The elections, in June of 2003, gave the victory to the current president, Joan Laporta, who pushed for a renovation through all the club, including the termination of Charly's contract.

Carles Rexach’s Barcelona’s tenure ended on July of 2003, after 44 years of contractual relationship with FC Barcelona.

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