Ex-Barcelona, Sporting Gijon and Spain star Quini dies

Former Barcelona and Spain striker Quini has died of a heart attack, aged 68.

Quini spent the majority of his career with Sporting Gijon, who he represented prolifically either side of his 1980 to 1984 stint with Barca.

He won the Pichichi trophy for being the top scorer in LaLiga five times and remains eighth on the all-time list in Spain's top flight thanks to 219 goals across 448 appearances.

Quini represented Spain at the 1978 and 1982 World Cups, along with the 1980 European Championship.

His honours at Barca included Copa del Rey triumphs in 1980-81 and 1982-83 – scoring twice against his beloved Sporting in the former final – and the 1981-82 Cup Winners' Cup.

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Barcelona might have completed a Liga and Copa double in 1980-81 but their title bid faltered in astonishing circumstances when Quini was kidnapped at gunpoint after scoring twice in a 6-0 win over Hercules

He was released 25 days later, choosing not to press charges against his captors, and finished the season as LaLiga's top scorer.

David Villa is another striker who learned his trade at Sporting before moving to Barca and Spain's all-time top scorer led the tributes to his mentor.

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"When I took my first steps in this profession I was lucky to be blessed by the advice of the best Spanish striker of all time, I could never have arrived where I arrived without your help," he wrote in an Instagram post.

"I will be eternally grateful, friend. I remember that you asked me one day [to be] a better striker than you and I apologise for not succeeding, but that was an impossible mission for any striker who wanted to try. 

"We will miss you very much, not only because you have been the best as a forward but also because [of how] you have been as a person. 

"I am sure that they have claimed you up there because in the sky they need goals and they have taken the best. You will always be in my memory. I love you so much, wizard. RIP."

Barca captain Andres Iniesta tweeted: "We'll miss you brujo. RIP. My condolences to family and friends."

The LaLiga giants' president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: "Dismayed by the death of Quini, an extraordinary player and an incredible person who won a privileged place in the hearts of the Barca players and the world of football. Our heartfelt condolences to your family and friends."

Sporting adorned their club crest on their official Twitter page with a black ribbon and posted a short message.

"With deep sorry we realise the death of our beloved Quini. RIP," it read.

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