BARCELONA: Spanish champions Barcelona have announced the death, at 89, of former goalkeeper Antonio Ramallets, one of the club’s greatest heroes of the late 1940s and 1950s.
He was goalkeeper for the Spain national team who finished fourth in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil and the legendary Barcelona ‘Team of the five trophies’ under Czech coach Ferdinand Daucik (father in law of star team-mate Ladislav Kubala).
Ramallets died in hospital near his local home in Vilafranca del Penedes after a long illness.
He played 473 games for Barcelona between 1947 and 1962 winning six league titles, five Spanish cups, two Latin Cups, three Eva Duarte Cups and two Inter-Cities’ Fairs Cups. He was also awarded the Trofeo Zamora on five occasions as the league’s best goalkeeper and played 35 times for Spain.
Born in Vila de Gracia on July 1, 1924, Antoni Ramallets i Simon joined Barcelona from Europa in 1942. He played on loan at San Fernando, Mallorca and Valladolid before returning to Las Corts in 1947 under Uruguayan coach Enrique Fernández.
Initially he was reserve to Juan Velasco but took over after the Basque veteran injured an eye in a game against Celta in Vigo in 1949-50. He remained first-choice up until his retirement after a testimonial against Uwe Seeler’s Hamburg in 1962.
Along the way Ramallets was a key figure in the iconic Barcelona team of the late 1950s alongside Hungarians Kubala, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor as well as Brazil’s Evaristo,Paraguay’s Eulogio Martinez and Spain stars Luis Suarez, Martin Verges and Juan Segarra.
Ramallets captained Barcelona on their first appearance in the European Champions Cup Final in 1961 but, despite being favourites after overthrowing Real Madrid, they lost 3-2 to Benfica. Ramallets was blamed in part for all three Portuguese goals.
On retirement he was briefly a coach, guiding Zaragoza in 1964 to fourth place in the league and victoties in the Spanish cup and the Fairs Cup.
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