Cesar, Barca’s forgotten talisman

by Evan Kelly

In the midst of Lionel Messi becoming Barca’s all time top scorer there isn’t much attention paid to the now, second top scorer in Barca’s history – Cesar Rodriguez.

Simply known as Cesar to most, Cesar Rodriguez started his playing career in the Leon youth teams, Cesar’s time in the Leon youth teams was all very brief though as he soon put pen to paper in a deal join Barcelona. Cesar officially joined Barca in 1949. Soon afterwards Cesar was rather controversially was relocated to Granada due to military service.

Cesar stayed with the military in Granada for two years so, to try keep his fitness up he joined local club Granada FC (the team Messi broke Cesar’s record against) on loan for 2 seasons. Cesar’s time at Granada was a God send for the second division club as his goals catapulted them into the first division.

In 1942 Cesar returned to Barca and bolstered by the experience he gained at Granada he was hungry for success. He and Lazlao Kubala spearheaded a formidable Barca attacking force and two years later they lead Barca to their first league title in 16 years. That season Cesar scored 15 goals in 24 matches, no mean feet considering the at best lenient referees and the horrible state of the pitches.

Barca didn’t win the league for another two years but they were back to winning ways again in the 1947/48 season trumping nearest rivals Valencia by nine points, Cesar won the Pichichi (trophy awarded to highest league scorer in Spain) that year, ’twas was to be his first and his last Pichichi. Cesar stayed at Barca until 1955 when he eventually left Cultural Leonesa.

The team

Cesar was part of a Barca team that changed the course of Barca’s history as they shot up from a team that played second fiddle to Real Madrid to a team that largely dominated the late 40′s to mid 50′s era. That Barca team included as well as Cesar some of its best ever players such as legendary keeper Antoni  Ramallets,  Estanislau Basora, Josep Segarra and Lazlao Kubala to but a few.

International career

Cesar’s international  career was undeservedly short as he only played 12 times for La Roja, scoring six goals including a goal v Poland on his international debut. Due to impressive performances for Barcelona Cesar was selected for Spain’s 1950 World Cup Squad, but rather disappointingly Cesar was an unused member in Spain’s campaign. Cesar was also selected for the Catalan XI. Perhaps Cesar’s best international moment came as a Catalan XI player when he scored a brace in a symbolic 3-1 win for Catalunya over Spain.

Post Barca and management

After Cesar’s spell at Barca he joined Cultural Leonesa, he stayed with them for only one season as they were soon relegated from the top division. After a uninspiring stint at Perpignan FC he ended up at the last club of his playing out the last days of his career at Elche .

At Elche Cesar’s goals thrust them from being a third division side to a first division side in a matter of two years, much like what he did with Granada FC. In the Summer of 1960 Cesar hung up his boots and called it a day.  The next chapter of his career came in management, Cesar was actually the  player/ manager of Elche in his last season there so with that he was hired by Zaragoza.

Zaragoza was where Cesar really earned his managerial guile because he guided them to notable feats such as coming third in La Liga in 1961, coming fourth in 1962 and reaching the Copa final the same season (Zaragoza eventually lost to Barca). Cesar was afterwards offered the Barcelona job, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse but it wouldn’t be the fairytale ending to his time at Barca.

Upon his return to Barca he was harshly sacked after losing out on the Liga title by two points. After that Cesar’s managerial career spiraled downwards into three consecutive relegation’s with Mallorca, Celta Vigo and Betis. His last professional job came as Zaragoza coach, it turned out his second time round wasn’t as good as the first because he finished a mediocre thirteenth. The truth is, Cesar was never gonna be as good a coach as he was a player and that is reflected in his managerial evaluation.

Other Cesar facts:

  • Cesar is Barca’s second all time scorer with a total of 232 official goals.
  • Barca paid Cesar a weekly allowance up until his death for his services to the club.
  • Cesar was known for his uncanny ability to score goals from corners.
  • Cesar once, in an unbelievable act of fair play rolled the ball into the arms of the keeper from the penalty spot as he thought the penalty decision was unjust.
  • Cesar played 353 official La Liga games, scoring 226 goals that tally is only bettered by three others- Zarra, Hugo Sanchez and Alfredo Di Stefano.

1 Response

  1. Ionut says:

    This guy is not forgotten by any Barca supporter around the world. Is a special player in the history of this club. Only the fans who never read almost a piece of his biography doesn’t know anything about him.

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