Roberto Gil, legend of Valencia CF, dies

Roberto Gil lifts the 1967 Cup in the presence of Franco. / EFE

Player of one of the most glorious times of Valencia, he won the Fair Cups in 62 and 63, the Cup in 67 and the historic League of 71 with Di Stéfano as coach

Valencianism is in mourning for one of its myths: Roberto Gil has died days after his 84th birthday. Born in Paterna on July 30, 1938, he immediately moved to Riba-roja, where he has resided and where he acted as coach of the municipal team. He held that same position at Valencia, where he was also sports director, years after having played as a footballer. The Valencian occupied the midfield of the Mestalla team that between the 1960s and early 1970s won the Fairs Cup (1962 and 1963), the Cup (1967) and the historic 1971 League in Sarriá with Di Stéfano on the bench . Since his inception, he started from the youth ranks and patiently waited for his opportunity until he made his debut with the first team. He went through the Valencia Mestalla at the age of 18, making his debut in the Second Division on June 9, 1957 against Murcia, despite having a good season, the Mestalla relegated that year to the Second Division B.

His debut with the first team, on June 11, 1959 in a friendly match against Corinthians, left no one indifferent, to the point that the then coach Otto Bumbel decided to incorporate him into the first team. That same season (1959-1960) in which he played 19 league games, all of them as a starter. The two subsequent campaigns with Domingo Balmanat cost him to enter the eleven until with the arrival first of Scopelli and later of Pasieguito he became the undisputed starter.

His progression as a player allowed him to settle in the eleven and form a partnership with Paquito, consolidating himself as one of the most significant tandems in the club's history in midfield. He came to wear the captain's armband, for example, in the Cup final on July 2, 1967. With the arrival of Di Stéfano in 1970, his prominence declined. Having an almost residual role in achieving the League championship that broke the drought of 24 years without winning this title. His pubic injury weighed him down throughout the year.

In the following season he had to say goodbye to the club of his life, to which a couple of years later he would return to train as a coach. Before that, he went to Calvo Sotelo in Puertollano to end his playing days. In total he played 300 games and scored 35 goals with the Valencia shirt.

As coach he took over the team in the 1983-1984 season on matchday 22 and after being eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Castilla. He took charge of his beloved Valencia, replacing Francisco García 'Paquito', who left Valencia in twelfth position. Roberto Gil continued to lead the team for one more season. It was a time of economic problems and he would finally have to leave the bench: Oscar Ruben Váldez would take his place. His last season as coach was when he returned to the First Division, covering Di Stéfano's loss until the end of the season, when he definitely focused on more technical tasks. As sports director he also had a nose: Quique Sánchez Flores and Lubo Penev were some of the players he brought to the club of his life.

Roberto Gil always defined himself as another myth for Valencianism, David Albedla, with the small difference that he tended to go on the attack, which bordered the area more until he had to delay his position. Already retired, he was assiduous in the talks and gatherings that were always held around his beloved Valencia, collaborating whenever required with the Aula LAS PROVINCIAS, and was very active in the centenary events always side by side with the Football Players Association that Fernando Giner presides. Valencianism mourns one of the myths of him.

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