Mágico González

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Mágico González
Personal information
Full name Jorge Alberto González Barillas
Date of birth (1958-03-13) 13 March 1958 (age 60)
Place of birth San Salvador, El Salvador
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1976 ANTEL
1976–1977 Independiente Nacional
1977–1982 FAS
1982–1984 Cádiz 74 (30)
1984 Barcelona
1985 Valladolid 9 (2)
1986–1991 Cádiz 120 (28)
1991–1999 FAS
Total 203 (60)
National team
1976–1998 El Salvador 62 (21)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Jorge Alberto González Barillas (born 13 March 1958), popularly known as El Mágico (The Magician), is a Salvadoran retired footballer.[1][2][3]

A slender and highly creative forward, with superb ball-control, technical ability, and dribbling skills, he was also known for his quick feet and use of tricks, as well as his accuracy with the ball and speed in possession; however, his talent was often overshadowed by his questionable behaviour off the pitch.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] He is widely considered to be the greatest Salvadoran footballer of all time, as well as one of the best ever Latin American footballers in the history of the game; in 2000, he was named his nation's Player of the Century in IFFHS' Player of the Century Elections.[11][12][13] A versatile forward, he was capable of playing both as a winger or as a second striker, but was also deployed as a centre-forward, as a playmaker in the number 10 role, or even as a midfielder on occasion, and often wore the number 11 shirt.[9] His playing style served as an inspiration for his Barcelona teammate Diego Maradona, who was a staunch admirer of the Salvadoran, describing him as one of the ten best players he had ever seen, and even stating that "[w]e, in training, always tried to imitate him [González], but we couldn't."[14][15] At club level, he is mainly associated with his stint with Spanish side Cádiz, while at international level, he represented the El Salvador national team for more than two decades, also taking part at the 1982 FIFA World Cup and the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in San Salvador, González began his professional career in 1975 with the Administración Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ANTEL) team. He played for ANTEL and Independiente Nacional 1906 over the course of two seasons, before moving to Club Deportivo Fútbolistas Asociados Santanecos in the Salvadoran Primera División.

While playing in El Salvador, González became known as Mago but later, upon transferring to Spain, his nickname was slightly changed to Mágico.


Both Atlético Madrid and Cádiz CF became interested in acquiring González in 1982 – despite the Colchoneros' higher profile, he signed with the Andalusians. His first game in Spain came in a friendly against La Barca de la Florida, while his Segunda División debut was on 5 September 1982 in a 1–1 home draw against Real Murcia, scoring in the process.[16] He became a fan-favorite thanks to his dazzling moves and goals, but was also notorious for his love of the nightlife and his sleeping habits were also brought into question, whilst his on-field abilities endeared him to the Cádiz fans enough that they overlooked his minor indiscretions; he finished his first season with 33 games and 15 goals as the team promoted to La Liga.[17]

In 1983 and 1984, Cádiz traveled to the United States to play. The first year it was González who was the principal attraction, but in the following the team was joined by FC Barcelona and its superstar Diego Maradona, who later claimed that the Salvadoran was “without a doubt amongst the greatest ten players I have ever seen play, in all my life”.[18] His debut in the top division came on 11 September 1983 in a 1–3 home loss against the same opponent, Murcia,[19] and the club was immediately relegated back.

Despite this, interest from French club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and Italian sides ACF Fiorentina and U.C. Sampdoria arose, but González opted to stay in Cádiz. His stay was somewhat short-lived, however, as he was transferred to Real Valladolid in the 1985 January transfer window due to problems with manager Benito Joanet. He did not get along at Valladolid, where his personal life was tightly controlled and, after playing in just nine games, he returned to Cádiz exactly one year later;[20] as a precaution against his partying, his contract was reputed to have contained a clause stipulating he was to be paid US$700 per game played and none for the ones he missed.

After several coaching changes, González was finally able to shine again for Cádiz under Víctor Espárrago, still competing in a further top level campaigns. In all, he scored 58 goals in 194 league games for the club until his departure on 6 June 1991, aged 33.

Late career[edit]

Estadio Jorge "El Magico" Gonzalez

González returned to El Salvador and FAS after another Italian club, Atalanta BC, failed to garner his services. He stayed with the team until 1999, when he retired to begin coaching as an assistant in Houston, Texas. After a short stint in the US, he returned to his homeland.

In 2001, Cádiz honored González with a testimonial match, with the proceeds going to the victims of a recent earthquake in El Salvador. In 2003, the Salvadoran National Assembly gave González the government's highest honor, the Hijo Meritísimo, and renamed the national stadium the Flor Blanca, after him.[21] On 28 August 2004, another testimonial was played in his honor, this time in El Salvador at the Mágico González Stadium, between America XI, a group of international stars, and a team made up of ex-FAS players: he played a half with either side, and scored a total of three goals.[11][22]

International career[edit]

Many critics and journalists say that if González had been Argentinian or Brazilian, he would have ranked amongst the best in the world, alongside Maradona and Pelé.[23] He received the first of his 62 caps for El Salvador on 1 December 1976, in a FIFA World Cup qualification match against Costa Rica. He was also instrumental in leading the nation to the 1982 FIFA World Cup – the second time in history – where he appeared in all three group stage matches, including the 1–10 loss to Hungary.

González represented his country in 31 World Cup qualifiers,[24] and scored 21 goals in full internationals.[25]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list El Salvador's goal tally first.[25]
Goal Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 24 November 1976 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador Colombia Independiente Medellín 4–2 Unofficial friendly 1
2 29 April 1977 ?  Mexico 1–2 Friendly 1
3 17 June 1977 ? Argentina Newell's Old Boys 1–1 Unofficial friendly 1
4 19 August 1977 ? Argentina Talleres de Córdoba 3–1 Unofficial friendly 1
5 10 October 1977 Estadio Tecnológico, Monterrey, Mexico  Suriname 3–2 1977 CONCACAF Championship 1
6 28 November 1977 ?  Nicaragua 6–0 1977 Central American Games 2
7 1 December 1977 ?  Nicaragua 8–0 1977 Central American Games 3
8 11 May 1980 Fello Meza, Cartago, Costa Rica Costa Rica Cartaginés 2–1 Unofficial friendly 1
9 4 June 1980 Flor Blanca, San Salvador, El Salvador  Haiti 3–0 Friendly 1
10 31 July 1980 Qemal Stafa, Tirana, Albania Honduras Marathón 1–3 Unofficial friendly 1
11 17 August 1980 Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala  Guatemala 1–1 Friendly 1
14 24 August 1980 Rommel Fernández, Panama City, Panama  Panama 3–1 1981 CONCACAF Championship qualification 1
15 ? September 1980 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Guatemala 3–2 Friendly 2
16 5 October 1980 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Panama 4–1 1981 CONCACAF Championship qualification 3
17 23 November 1980 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Honduras 2–1 1981 CONCACAF Championship qualification 1
18 26 July 1981 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Haiti 4–0 Friendly 1
19 2 August 1981 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador Portugal Vitória Guimarães 2–1 Unofficial friendly 1
20 2 September 1981 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador Argentina Newell's Old Boys 3–2 Unofficial friendly 1
21 25 March 1982 Chateau Carreras, Córdoba, Argentina Argentina Talleres de Córdoba 1–2 Unofficial friendly 2
23 18 April 1982 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Honduras 3–2 Friendly 2
24 9 May 1982 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador Peru Universitario de Deportes 2–2 Unofficial friendly 1
25 12 May 1982 Flor Blanca, San Salvador, El Salvador Peru Universitario de Deportes 4–1 Unofficial friendly 1
26 16 May 1982 Flor Blanca, San Salvador, El Salvador Brazil Ponte Preta 2–2 Unofficial friendly 1
27 8 December 1991 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Hungary 1–1 Friendly 1
28 19 July 1992 Managua, Nicaragua  Nicaragua 5–0 1994 World Cup qualification 2
29 23 July 1992 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Nicaragua 5–1 1994 World Cup qualification 1
30 17 August 1992 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador Austria Gabor Spittal 2–1 Unofficial friendly 1
33 21 August 1992 ? Italy Savigliano 1–1 Unofficial friendly 1
34 23 August 1992 ? Italy Belnsag 3–0 Unofficial friendly 2
36 25 October 1992 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Canada 1–1 1994 World Cup qualification 1
37 1 November 1992 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Bermuda 4–1 1994 World Cup qualification 1
38 2 May 1993 Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador  Canada 1–2 1994 World Cup qualification 1

Personal life[edit]

González was born to a family of modest means in the Luz neighborhood of San Salvador, one of seven brothers and only one sister. His older brother, Mauricio González Pachín, was a footballer who became well known at the local level.

Mágico married Anna Ruano, daughter of another Salvadoran football legend, Alfredo Ruano. His son, Rodrigo, also played in the country's top division, for C.D. Atlético Marte.[26]




  1. ^ https://www.elgrafico.com/futbol/Felicitaciones-para-el-Magico-en-su-cumpleanos-numero-60-20180313-0002.html
  2. ^ http://www.elsalvador.com/deportes/futbol/460865/magico-gonzalez-vs-mario-kempes-la-revancha-de-espana-82/
  3. ^ https://www.elgrafico.com/futbol/Mario-Kempes-y-el-equipo-de-Fuera-de-Juego-vencieron-a-los-Amigos-del-Magico-20180319-0019.html
  4. ^ Así recibió España al “Mágico” hace 35 años (This was how Spain welcomed the “Magician” 35 years ago); La Prensa Gráfica, 5 July 2017 (in Spanish)
  5. ^ Durante la década de los 80 – Su paso por el fútbol español (During the 80's – His spell in Spanish football); at Marca (in Spanish)
  6. ^ "Mágico González y los demás olvidados" [Mágico González and the other forgotten] (in Spanish). El País. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Kiko es su heredero en el fútbol español" [Kiko is his heir in Spanish football] (in Spanish). Marca. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  8. ^ Fernando Pérez Monguio (4 February 2003). "El mago hechiza de nuevo" [The wizard enchants once again] (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Salvatore Coccoluto (4 June 2016). "Pelé? Maradona? E se il calciatore più forte di sempre fosse Jorge "Mágico" González? Storia (e leggenda) di un fantasista che amava le donne e la notte" [Pelé? Maradona? And if the greatest footballer of all time were Jorge "Mágico" González? The story (and legend) of a playmaker who loved women and the night] (in Italian). Il Fatto Quotidiano. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  10. ^ "The best footballer you've never heard of". World Soccer. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  11. ^ a b "El Mago o El Magico... Simplemente Jorge" [The Wizard or The Magician... Simply Jorge] (in Spanish). El Balón Cuscatleco. Retrieved 16 February 2009. 
  12. ^ Marcelo Leme de Arruda (21 January 2000). "IFFHS' Players and Keepers of the Century for many countries". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  13. ^ Karel Stokkermans (30 January 2000). "IFFHS' Century Elections". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  14. ^ Andrés Corona (10 November 2015). "Jorge 'Mágico' González, el salvadoreño al que Maradona quiso pero nunca pudo imitar" [Jorge 'Mágico' González, the Salvadoran that Maradona wanted to imitate but couldn't] (in Spanish). Vice Sports. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  15. ^ Álvaro Mogollo (16 March 2018). "Mágico González, el ídolo cadista al que no fichó el Barcelona por culpa de una alarma" (in Spanish). Marca. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  16. ^ "1–1: El Murcia empezó fuerte" [1–1: Murcia started strong] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 6 September 1982. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "3–1: ¡Carranza fue una fiesta!" [3–1: Party at Carranza!] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 23 May 1983. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Magico Gonzalez Top 10 Best Soccer Players Ever" (in Spanish). YouTube. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "El Murcia, ¡co-lider...!" [Murcia, joint-leader...!] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 12 September 1983. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "El retorno de 'Mágico' Gonzalez" [The return of 'Mágico' Gonzalez] (in Spanish). El País. 16 September 1986. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Magico, still doing it his way". FIFA.com. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  22. ^ "Homenaje" [Homage] (in Spanish). Cádiz CF. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2006. 
  23. ^ "El fútbol sería distinto sin David Vidal" [Football would be different without David Vidal] (in Spanish). El Día de Córdoba. 30 November 2007. 
  24. ^ Mágico GonzálezFIFA competition record
  25. ^ a b Jorge Alberto González Barillas – International Goals; at RSSSF
  26. ^ ¿Volverá la magia? (Will the magic return?) Archived 16 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.; El Diario de Hoy, 10 April 2001 (in Spanish)

External links[edit]