Sergi Gonzalo: Spain’s Tom Brady ready to help his team any way he can

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady played in his eye-popping 10th Super Bowl and with the Buccaneers win, the 43 year old now has a total of seven Super Bowl rings.

Across the ocean in Spain, homegrown quarterback Sergi Gonzalo is following similar, but different, career path in his country’s top league.

The 31-year-old Gonzalo has now won five Spanish national championships as a quarterback with his team, the Badalona Dracs.

He never would have even picked up a football though, were it not for a family vacation in Mexico 16 years ago. Football is not exactly a major sport in Spain.

“I didn’t start playing football until the age of 15. After a family trip to México in 2004 we saw the game so when we got back home, both my brother and I started playing football at the backyard all summer and when the season started in September, we joined the Dracs.”

Gonzalo has been a part of the Dracs ever since, helping the team win both in Spain and at different levels of international play. Gonzalo says that his favorite memory playing for the Dracs was the day when he finally became a champion after years of falling just short.

“The first one was my first championship. I had been had playing for the Dracs for almost a decade and we had lost five finals during the process, so finally we won the desired championship against a tough Valencia Firebats.”

Sergi Gonzalo finding running room against Osos Rivas in a game in 2020 Photo: FEFA

In 2018, Gonzalo led Badalona to another Spanish title and helped the Dracs beat French finalists, the Thonon les-Bains Black Panthers, in an international tournament. That season, Gonzalo threw for 2,833 yards and an astounding 37 touchdowns.

“ It was a very tough opponent and the odds were against us, but we played really well, and our coaches did an amazing job.”

The championship quarterback also credits the rise of the Dracs program to coach Oscar Calatayud. Calatayud has been able to build the Dracs into one of the best American football teams in Europe while treating his players the right way.

“Oscar wants to treat us as players, not as friends, it will be easier to make a tough call if he must decide between a player or the entity of Dracs, I pretty much respect that. He’s really a “freak” of football so he will always use our best to win games.”

During his career with the Dracs, Gonzalo has been the starter and backup at times depending on when the program feels they need to bring in an American quarterback. Earlier this season, the Dracs announced they had signed American quarterback Cory Benedetto. Gonzalo has no problem with that and in fact is happy to learn from the import quarterback:

“Normally, the Dracs used to rely on me for one of the hardest positions in football when other Spanish teams decide to sign a quarterback. I’m very thankful for that, specially to Oscar. But sometimes they prefer to sign up an American QB to give them an extra in that position. That will help me too, absorbing as many football as I could and improve in my skills learning from a better player.”

Sergi Gonzalo leads Dracs to 2018 title Photo: Lola Gonzales

As far as this season’s goals, Gonzalo is determined to continue the Dracs dominance in Spain by winning another championship and competing internationally. Another title would bring Gonzalo’s total Spanish championships to six, only one behind Tom Brady.

“Main goal is to keep expanding our streak in national games, we are at 44 (I think) and win another ring at the end of the season to make it five in a row.”

As far as his future goals are concerned, Gonzalo still has a lot football left in him. His love for the Dracs organization is evident as he has been with the team for so long. Now seeing the rise of the Dracs makes him want to continue his career in Badalona and continue to help the program reach new heights before he hangs up his cleats.

“What I know for sure is I will retire as a Drac.”

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.