Who the hell is Hugo Sanchez?

“Who the hell is Hugo Sánchez?” That blunt enquiry from a fan in a Yahoo Answers forum is a reminder that, in football, all glory is fleeting. The fan was probably enraged because the forum was committing a kind of footballing blasphemy – asking whether Sánchez was better than Pelé – but even so the exploits of the legendary Mexican striker deserve a little more respect.

Yet to a generation of fans, Sánchez is primarily known as the Real Madrid player whose 234-goal tally in la Liga has just been surpassed by Lionel Messi. La Pulga's first goal in Barcelona's thrilling 4-3 victory at the Bernabeu made him the highest-scoring foreigner in the history of la Liga and the league’s second highest scorer of all-time. Topping the list is Telmo Zarra, whose 251 goals in 278 games were scored at a slightly higher strike rate (0.91 per game), that is slightly higher than Messi’s (236 in 268 is 0.88), but is primarily remembered by fans of Athletic Bilbao, where his prowess helped rebuild a team – and a club – emerging from the wreckage of the Spanish Civil War.

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