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Marcos Alonso: Football in his blood

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Chelsea left wing-back Marcos Alonso comes from a family of footballers, including legends of Real Madrid and Barcelona

Clive Rose/Getty Images

This is a guest post by Sarthak Kumar, who covers Spanish football for BarcaBlaugranes and VillarrealUSA. You should follow him on Twitter.


Real Madrid weren't playing well, if at all. Stade de Reims were splitting the Real defense time and time again with exquisite passing and one-touch football. Real were 2-0 down in 10 minutes, and 3-2 down in 62.

Championships are won in the toughest moments. Legends are born in the most decisive moments.

Step forward Marcos Alonso Imaz, a.k.a. Marquitos.

Real Madrid had struggled to break down Reims' defense, who were man-marking Real Madrid to an almost suicidal, Bielsa-esque degree, when coach José Villalonga sent defender Marquitos upfield. He was the only player not marked for about a minute. But a minute is a long time in football.

It was a simple goal -- a pass to split the defense and a routine one-on-one -- but it was the most important in Real Madrid history.

Real Madrid would go on to win 4-3 in the first ever final  of what now known as the Champions League.  But that 1956 final was only the beginning. Marquitos, along with Lesmes and either Atienza or Santamaría, formed what is the legendary "Defensa de la Alpargata", which would win five European Cups, five league titles, two Latin Cups, an Intercontinental Cup, and a Copa del Generalísimo.

Marquitos was signed from Santander, where he was born and raised. And while he made it big at Real Madrid, his son, Marcos Alonso Peña (aka Marcos), failed to break through the youth ranks and went back to Santander, where he made his professional debut at the age of just 17.

His impressive performances as a winger led him to be picked up by Atlético Madrid at the age of just 19, and after three seasons he became the most expensive signing in Spain when Barcelona shelled out 150 million pesetas for him. Marcos would go on to hurt Real Madrid several times - he would score a last minute goal against them to win the 1983 Copa del Rey final for Barcelona, and his first ever stint as coach was at Rayo, who famously beat Real 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu, a game that led to institutional chaos and the sacking of Jorge Valdano.

As a player he also led Racing Santander to the Segunda in 1991, and was a runner-up with Spain in the 1984 Euro tournament. And as a manager he gave Rayo Vallecano a moment of history, took Sevilla to La Liga, and steadied the ship at clubs such as Real Zaragoza, Real Valladolid and Málaga.

His son, Marcos Alonso Mendoza, is gifted - he has the height and defensive aggression of his grandfather, and the traits of a winger from his father. And he has already done what his father couldn't - and that's actually break through at Real Madrid, even if he left immediately afterwards.

Only the future will tell if he wins championships and becomes as well-renowned as his father and grandfather. But I hope that, like his grandfather, Marcos Alonso creates history.