|Full name||Jorge Alberto González Barillas|
|Date of birth||13 March 1958|
|Place of birth||San Salvador, El Salvador|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
At the club level, he played mainly for FAS and Spain's Cádiz in a 24-year senior career. Dogged by his self-admitted and often-reported lack of discipline, he was often hailed as the greatest and most skilled footballer ever produced by El Salvador, and as one of the greatest players from the CONCACAF region.
While playing in El Salvador, González became known as Mago, meaning "Magician" or "Wizard," 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, but 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 he made his Segunda División debut on 5 September 1982 and scored Cádiz's only goal in a 1–1 home draw against Real Murcia. 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 14 goals as the team promoted to La Liga.
In 1983 and 1984, Cádiz traveled to the United States. The first year González was the principal attraction, but in the following year 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”. His debut in the top division came on 11 September 1983 in a 1–3 home loss against the same opponent, Murcia, and the club was immediately relegated.
Despite this, the French club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and Italian clubs Atalanta BC, ACF Fiorentina and U.C. Sampdoria showed interested in signing him, but González chose 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; 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 four 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.
González returned to El Salvador and FAS after Atalanta again failed to sign him. 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, meaning "Most Worthy Son," and renamed the national stadium the Flor Blanca, "White Flower," after him. 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.
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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. 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.
- Scores and results list El Salvador's goal tally first.
|1||29 April 1977||?||Mexico||1–2||Friendly||1|
|2||20 October 1977||Estadio Tecnológico, Monterrey, Mexico||Suriname||3–2||1977 CONCACAF Championship||1|
|3||4 June 1980||Flor Blanca, San Salvador, El Salvador||Haiti||3–0||Friendly||1|
|4||17 August 1980||Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala||Guatemala||1–1||Friendly||1|
|5||24 August 1980||Rommel Fernández, Panama City, Panama||Panama||3–1||1981 CONCACAF Championship qualification||1|
|7||? September 1980||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Guatemala||3–2||Friendly||2|
|10||5 October 1980||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Panama||4–1||1981 CONCACAF Championship qualification||3|
|11||23 November 1980||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Honduras||2–1||1981 CONCACAF Championship qualification||1|
|12||26 July 1981||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Haiti||4–0||Friendly||1|
|14||18 April 1982||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Honduras||3–2||Friendly||2|
|15||8 December 1991||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Hungary||1–1||Friendly||1|
|17||19 July 1992||Managua, Nicaragua||Nicaragua||5–0||1994 World Cup qualification||2|
|18||23 July 1992||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Nicaragua||5–1||1994 World Cup qualification||1|
|19||25 October 1992||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Canada||1–1||1994 World Cup qualification||1|
|20||1 November 1992||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Bermuda||4–1||1994 World Cup qualification||1|
|21||2 May 1993||Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador||Canada||1–2||1994 World Cup qualification||1|
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Style of play and temperament
A slender and highly creative forward, with superb ball-control, technical ability, and dribbling skills, González was also known for his quick feet and use of tricks and feints (including the flip flap, the Cruyff Turn, and the step over), 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. He was 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.
A versatile forward, González 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. His playing style served as an inspiration for 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."
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González was born to a family of modest means in the Luz neighborhood of San Salvador, one of seven brothers and a single sister. His older brother, Mauricio González Pachín, was a footballer who became well known at the local level.
- "Jorge González". Worldfootball. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
- Rainbow, Jamie (18 May 2013). "Unforgettable moments of Magico". World Soccer. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- "Magico Gonzalez, an exceptionally talented football star". Pundit Feed. 5 April 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- Pérez García, Carlos Alberto (23 May 2021). "El equipo ideal histórico de CONCACAF que podría haber ganado una final de Champions League" [The all-time CONCACAF team who could have won a Champions League final] (in Spanish). 90 Min. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- Alvarado, Jeremías (13 March 2018). "Felicitaciones para "el Mágico" en su cumpleaños número 60" [Congratulations to "the Magic" on his 60th birthday]. El Gráfico (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- Franco, Sander (March 2018). "Mágico González vs Mario Kempes: la revancha de España 82" [Mágico González vs Mario Kempes: the revenge of Spain 82] (in Spanish). ElSalvador.com. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- "1–1: El Murcia empezó fuerte" [1–1: Murcia started strong]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 6 September 1982. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "3–1: ¡Carranza fue una fiesta!" [3–1: Party at Carranza!]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 23 May 1983. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Maldonado, Julio (3 February 2003). "Mágico: el genio indisciplinado" [Mágico: the undisciplined genius]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Magico Gonzalez Top 10 Best Soccer Players Ever" (in Spanish). YouTube. 2 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- "El Murcia, ¡co-lider...!" [Murcia, joint-leaders...!]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 12 September 1983. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- De la O, Eduardo (4 August 2017). ""Mágico" González rechazó hace 35 años lo que Neymar aceptó en el PSG" ["Mágico" González rejected what Neymar accepted at PSG 35 years ago]. El Gráfico (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- Casado, Edu (13 March 2009). "Qué fue de… 'Mágico' González" [What happened to… ‘Mágico’ González]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- Lastra, Paco (29 February 2016). "Mágico González se encontraba "flojo" y no jugó en La Condomina" [Mágico González was «weak» and did not play in La Condomina]. La Verdad (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- Funcia, Carlos (16 September 1986). "El retorno de 'Mágico' Gonzalez" [The return of 'Mágico' Gonzalez]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Griñán, Virginia (17 April 2009). "Qué fue de... Mágico González, el duende de Cádiz" [What happened to... Mágico González, the elf of Cádiz] (in Spanish). Cadena SER. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Magico, still doing it his way". FIFA. 1 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "El Mago o El Magico... Simplemente Jorge" [The Wizard or The Magician... Simply Jorge] (in Spanish). El Balón Cuscatleco. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- "Homenaje" [Homage] (in Spanish). Cádiz CF. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2006.
- "El fútbol sería distinto sin David Vidal" [Football would be different without David Vidal]. El Día de Córdoba (in Spanish). 30 November 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
- Mágico González – FIFA competition record (archived)
- Owsianski, Jarek. "Jorge Alberto González Barillas – International Goals". RSSSF. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "Así recibió España al "Mágico" hace 35 años" [This was how Spain welcomed the "Magician" 35 years ago]. La Prensa Gráfica (in Spanish). 5 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Durante la década de los 80 – Su paso por el fútbol español" [During the 80's – His spell in Spanish football]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- Ros, Cayetano (18 March 2013). "Mágico González y los demás olvidados" [Mágico González and the other forgotten]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Kiko es su heredero en el fútbol español" [Kiko is his heir in Spanish football]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Pérez Monguio, Fernando (4 February 2003). "El mago hechiza de nuevo" [The wizard enchants once again]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Coccoluto, Salvatore (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.
- Foster, Eamonn (27 September 2015). "The best footballer you've never heard of". World Soccer. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
- Leme de Arruda, Marcelo. "IFFHS' Players and Keepers of the Century for many countries". RSSSF. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Stokkermans, Karel. "IFFHS' Century Elections". RSSSF. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Corona, Andrés (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 could not] (in Spanish). Vice Sports. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
- Mogollo, Álvaro (16 March 2018). "Mágico González, el ídolo cadista al que no fichó el Barcelona por culpa de una alarma" [Mágico González, the Cádiz idol Barcelona did not sign because of an alarm]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 July 2018.
- Membreño, Orestes (10 April 2001). "¿Volverá la magia?" [Will the magic return?] (in Spanish). ElSalvador.com. Archived from the original on 16 November 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- 1958 births
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