Carles Rexach

FC Barcelona Player 1965-81, Coach 1982-2003 and Legend

Born in Barcelona in 1947, Carles Rexach i Cerdà is one of the most loved and cherished figures in the recent history of FC Barcelona.

Affectonately known to supporters as Charly, as a player, he was also known as El Noi de Pedralbes or Boy from Pedralbes, after the Barcelona neighbourhood where he was born and brought up.

He first signed up with the FC Barcelona youth teams in 1959, aged just 12 years old, and after five years in the youth system, sixteen seasons on the first team as a player and twenty-two years and counting as part of the coaching and technical staff, it's fair to say that Charly's is a life dedicated to Barça.

His name will always be associated with Johan Cruyff, with whom he played from 1973 to 1978, and then coached as Cruyff's assistant throughout the Dream Team period from 1988 to 1996.

He is particularly famous for the phrase Correr es de cobardes, which in English translates as Running is for cowards.

The statement brought him a lot of criticism as a player, but it's clear that Rexach's concept of effortless technical possession football has had a profound influence on Barça's style of play, particularly since the Cruyff-Rexach tandem coached the first team.

Since his retirement from the coaching staff, Charly has always remained associated with the club, but mainly as a sports analyst and journalist.

Since early 2015, he has been part of the new Football Area Technical Commission, whose main role is advisory and scouting.





Carles Rexach as a Player

Rexach was given his first team debut by Salvador Artigas in a Copa del Rey game in El Sardinero against Racing de Santander on April 25th 1965, when Charly was 18.

Barça won 4-0 and Rexach made an impressive debut by scoring the fourth goal.

For the rest of that and the following season, Rexach played for CF Condal, which was the name of the FC Barcelona B team in those days.

Rexach finally made his debut in La Liga on September 19th 1967 against Real Zaragoza in the first game of the 1967-68 season aged 20, in which although Barça lost 3-2, Charly scored the first Barcelona goal.

From that point on Carles Rexach had secured a place on the first team and went on to play 22 matches that season scoring 6 goals.

Rexach was a very classy and technical right winger with an impressive burst of speed, a powerful shot, particularly when taking free kicks, who was also capable of centring the ball with great precision, and in his day was considered one of the best wingers in Europe.

Despite his obvious talent and the fact that he was a local Catalan boy, Rexach always caused disagreement amongst the supporters mainly because, as his famous Running is for cowards suggests, he was often criticised for not giving 100% on the pitch.

Once on the first team, Rexach was always in the starting line-up, apart from in his last season, in which due to age he only played eight games.

This meant that he played a total of 449 matches for FC Barcelona, which at the time of writing makes puts him in fifth place behind Xavi with 707 games, Puyol with 592, Migueli with 549 and Valdes with 527.

Rexach won the Pichichi Trophy in the 1970-71 season as La Liga's highest goalscorer with 17 goals in 29 official games, the best tally of his career, and with 122 goals stands as the seventh highest goalscorer in the history of FC Barcelona.

Despite his long playing career, Rexach only won one Liga title, which was in 1973-74 in Johan Cruyff's first season at Barça and alongside Hugo Sotil and Asensi.

He later took part in Barcelona's conquest of the European Cup Winners' Cup in Basel in 1979, when they beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 4-3 in a game in which Rexach first missed a penalty and then scored a goal.

The trophy he won most often was the Copa del Rey, which he won on four occasions, includin the 3-1 victory over UD Las Palmas in 1978, in which Rexach scored two goals and was voted Man of the Match.

Carles Rexach retired in 1981 at the age of 34 and the club organised a tesimonial against the Argentina National Team, with all their stars including a young Diego Armando Maradona.

Barça won the game 1-0 with a goal scored by Dane Allan Simonsen, who had arrived at the club as Rexach's replacement.

Carles Rexach as a Coach

Following his retirement as a player in 1981, Carles Rexach coached various FC Barcelona youth teams and in 1984 helped found the prestigious youth academy Escuela TARR, which took its name from its four founders, Torres, Asensi, Rifé and Rexach.

In 1987, he joined the first team as assistant coach to Luis Aragonés and briefly became head coach when Aragonés resigned at the end of the 1987-88 season, directing two friendlies against Barcelona de Guayaquil and Peñarol on a tour of Latin America.

When Johan Cruyff arrived as head coach in 1988, he chose his old teammate Charly Rexach as his assistant, and the would work as a partnership until 1996 and building the legendary Dream Team.

Rexach took over the first team in February 1991, when Cruyff suffered a heart attack and was obliged to rest until the end of the season.

Rexach directed six games, winning four, drawing one and losing one and was in charge when the Dream Team won the first of its four consecutive Ligas.

Following Cruyff's sacking, two games before the end of the 1995-96 season, Rexach took charge of the first team and the polemical decision cost him his friendship with Cruyff.

For the 1996-97 season, the first team coach was Bobby Robson, who brought Jose Mourinho as his assistant, and Rexach continued as a member of the technical staff, mainly working as a scout.

The following season, Rexach took his first period away from FC Barcelona and accepted the job as head coach of Japanese first division side, Yokohama Flugels, but was back at Barcelona a year later as part of Louis Van Gaal's technical staff.

In the presidential elections of 2000, future president Joan Gaspart included Rexach in his campaign as technical director, a position he occupied until Llorenç Serra Ferrer's sacking on April 23rd 2001.

Rexach accepted the job of head coach and directed seven matches, winning three, drawing three and losing one.

With La Liga title already lost, Rexach's only objective was qualifying the side for the Champions League, which he did thanks to a last minute chilena goal by Rivaldo in the final game against Valencia CF.

Rexach remained as head coach for the 2001-02 season and directed a total of 38 Liga games but only managed the same fourth position as the previous season.

Charly was heavily criticised for the team's mediocre play and the disappointing signings Frenchman Christanval, Brazilians Rochemback and Geovanni and Swede Andersson.

Rexach remained on the staff as technical director the next season, when Louis Van Gaal returned for his second spell as head coach but the team situation continued in crisis and when Joan Laporta was elected FC Barcelona president in 2003, he sacked Rexach putting an end to a relationship that had lasted for nearly 44 years.

Since 2003, Carles Rexach has worked mainly as a sports analyst and has a regular column in the sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

He has always retained close ties with the club and was instrumental in discovering and signing Lionel Messi with whom he has an excellent relationship.

Current president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently gave him scouting and advisory responsibilities on the newly created Football Area Technical Commission.



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