"These fans are great but what they don't know is that there is a player even better than Pele and I." These are the words of Maradona himself on the Cult Hero – Jorge Gonzalez!

Born 1958 in El Salvador, the young Magico came to prominence after impressing at the 1982 World Cup. He had offers from Atleti and PSG, but in the end, decided to settle in Cadiz.

Perhaps it reminded him of home. Cadiz after all doubled as Havana in a Bond film and is a city full of grand old buildings in pastel tones with palm trees lining narrow streets surrounded by the city and sea walls. All of it slowly crumbling due to the erosion of coastal winters. It’s a beautiful place.



But it’s not just the architecture that could have helped young Magico settle. Cadiz also happens to have a thriving nightlife.


"I like the night and the desire I have to enjoy it, well, even my mother couldn’t take that away from me. I know I’m irresponsible, I know I’m a bad professional and it might be that I’m not taking advantage of the best opportunity of my life but there’s something wrong in my head, I don’t like taking football like a job. If I did that I wouldn’t be me, I play to enjoy myself."

– Jorge Gonzalez




Responsibility for Magico often fell at the feet of his long suffering manager David Vidal, the Tom to Magico’s Jerry, the man who complained of Magico that ‘the guy could sleep for 15 hours a day’. Indeed for years after his arrival in Spain Magico blamed his sleeping pattern on the time difference between Cadiz and El Salvador.



There’s a story that Vidal once had a tip off that Magico was at a disco in Cadiz. The manager's plan to try and get him out was thwarted by a DJ who hid Magico under the decks, where he promptly fell asleep. The party wound down and the place locked up, leaving Magico to wake up on his own and stuck in a disco for the foreseeable future.



But come the weekend, Magico was always in the team. On his day there was genuinely no one more capable of a moment of brilliance.



Diego Maradona once said;

"These fans are great but what they don't know is that there is a player even better than Pele and I. He is Jorge Gonzalez, el Magico, and he still plays in Cadiz – he's phenomenal.”



His loyalty to Cadiz, where he spent 7 years, has made him a legend in the city and the walls of bars across the city are still adorned with his image.


Words by Andy Gallagher





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