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Ricardo Zamora

Personal information
Place of birthBarcelona, Spain
Place of deathBarcelona, Spain
Height1.94 m (6 ft 4.4 in)
Playing positionGoalkeeper

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Ricard Zamora i Martínez (21 January 1901 - 8 September 1978) was a Spanish footballer and manager. He played as a goalkeeper for, among others, RCD Espanyol, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. As an international he played for both the Catalan XI and Spain. As a manager he won two La Liga titles with Atlético Aviación and briefly managed Spain.

Zamora, nicknamed El Divino, was noted for wearing a cloth cap and a white polo-neck jumper on the field, a look later copied by several of his contemporaries. He claimed it was to protect him from both the sun and his opponents. He was also noted for his bravery. In 1929 while playing for Spain against England, he carried on playing despite breaking his sternum. Spain won the game 4-3, becoming the first team from outside of the British Isles to defeat England. Zamora is also remembered for a spectacular last minute save he made in the 1936 Copa de España final while playing for Real Madrid against FC Barcelona. The award for the best goalkeeper in La Liga, the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, is named in his honour and he was voted one of the greatest players of the 20th century by World Soccer magazine. He was also Spain's most capped player for 45 years until being surpassed by José Ángel Iribar.

Zamora was also the subject of controversy throughout his career. He allegedly enjoyed drinking Cognac and smoking up to three packs of cigarettes a day. During the 1920 Olympic Games he was sent off against Italy after punching an opponent and on the way back from the same tournament he was arrested, imprisoned and fined for attempting to smuggle Havana cigars. In 1922 he was suspended for a year when he lied to the tax authorities about the signing on fee he received when he returned to RCD Espanyol. He also received 40,000 pesetas of the 150,000 peseta fee that took him from Espanyol to Real Madrid.

Zamora’s apparent political allegiances were also the subject of debate and controversy. Despite playing regularly for the Catalan XI, he was accused of rejecting Catalan nationalism because he spent the majority of his playing career at Espanyol and Real Madrid. In 1934 he was awarded an Order of the Republic medal by his namesake Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, president of the Second Spanish Republic, but during the Spanish Civil War he was exploited by Nationalist propagandists and he played in a benefit game for their cause. During the 1950s he was awarded the Great Cross of the Order of Cisneros by Franco.


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