What happened to Manolo Canabal? The 'crack' that they laughed at in Madrid because he had a Golf

According to Capello he was going to be a star in the First Division, but he did not get to play any official minute with Madrid. He recognized that in the locker room they laughed at him because he was wearing a Golf.

In recent days, the name of Manolo Canabal (Forcadey, 45 years old) has gone viral on social networks after circulating the image of a young man wearing his Madrid shirt in the Metro. And whoever names Canabal does not do so in vain. Because to talk about him is to talk about one of the players with the most bizarre sports history in recent times. In the summer of 1997 Madrid, chaired by Lorenzo Sanz, paid 800 million pesetas (around 4,800,000 euros) for his signing, a star price. And that's where it all began.

He was going to turn 23 years old, he played for Mérida and it was an express request of Fabio Capello, then coach. "He will be one of the stars of the First Game wherever he plays," said the coach, who insisted on his signing and was his great supporter. Canabal had not played a single minute of his life in Primera, but his numbers in Mérida and Pontevedra were outstanding. He painted to crack and Madrid launched. He signed him and put a clause of 8,000 million pesetas (almost 50 million euros) .

But his landing in Madrid went from bad to worse. First, because as soon as he landed, he found that Capello, who had been fully involved in his signing and committed to being his mentor, was no longer the coach. The context had changed from light to dark. To make matters worse, he did not fit in the dressing room, to the point that in an interview for La Voz de Galicia he acknowledged that in the dressing room they laughed at him because he was wearing a Golf.

Worked and tried to conform. Talent he had: he was a 'tank' striker, which today would be defined as a born finisher, an area man. He was 1.95 meters tall and weighed just over 90 kilos. A physical animal that was not going to collapse at the first change. In the preseason he did not leave bad feelings, in fact Madrid won a Bernabéu Trophy thanks to his goal. Hierro attended to beat the Portuguese. But it would be a mirage.

The coach then was Jupp Heynckes, who at a press conference asked for patience, but then did not give him a single chance. That winter of 1997 he went on loan to Valladolid, where he played 15 games and scored a goal. A year later, he would go out, also on loan, to Alavés (30 games and 5 goals) and then to Rayo Vallecano (33 games and 11 goals). He did everything but play in white at the Santiago Bernabéu.

After so many trips, he assumed that his place was not Madrid and left, definitely as a transfer, to Malaga. Madrid took out almost 500 million pesetas from its sale (approximately 2.70 million euros), recovering a large part of the investment. He left without making his debut in an official game. On the Costa del Sol he achieved 'stability' and won an Intertoto (2002), playing four consecutive seasons in which he played 95 games (only 28 were as a starter) and scored 11 goals (just three per season) .

It would be the following year, in 2004, when he would return home, to Pontevedra, to hang up his boots. In March 2005, he announced his retirement from football, suffering from severe back pain, problems that prevented him from falling asleep and even "standing, sitting or lying down for five minutes." Soccer had turned into hell and, although he had just turned 30, he couldn't take it anymore. It was the end of Manolo Canabal. He is currently away from the spotlight and from public life, trying to remake a new stage in his life. It remains for him that, at least, a young man wears his shirt in the Metro and that Capello wanted to be his great mentor. That is no longer taken away by anyone.

Photos from as.com
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