Argentina

Top 10 Best Argentine Footballers of All Time

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Argentina has won 2 World Cup titles and have reached the final five times, which has been possible because of the incredible quality of players they had over the years. Read on to learn more about the best Argentine footballers of all time. 

From Diego Maradona to Lionel Messi, Argentina has gifted the world some of the greatest players of all time. Some of their fellow citizens have dominated world football in different eras. The players have made enormous contributions at the international and club levels. So, without further ado, let’s get started.                     

10. Sergio Aguero (2006–2021)

Sergio Aguero is one of the greatest strikers of all time. (Picture was taken from mundoalbiceleste.com)

Beginning his career at Argentina’s Independiente, Sergio Aguero developed himself into one of the greatest strikers of his generation. Aguero played a total of 101 matches for Argentina, scoring 41 goals. He is one of the players who has been a victim of bad luck, as he lost three major international finals. Finally, in 2021, his big moment came when Argentina won the Copa America title.

Even though he wasn’t a regular in that tournament, he supported his teammates from the bench. His other international achievement is the Olympic Gold Medal trophy. Aguero is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League because of his accolades with Manchester City. Even though Aguero has never won a world cup, he remains one of the best Argentine footballers of all time.         

9. Ubaldo Fillol (1974–1985)

Ubaldo Fillol played in three World Cups. (Picture was taken from SportMob)

Often considered the best goalkeeper Argentina ever produced, Ubaldo Fillol had a successful run at the international level. He made 58 appearances for Argentina, including three World Cup tournaments (1974, 1978 and 1982).

His efforts helped his nation win the 1978 World Cup, where he was voted the tournament’s best goalkeeper. The shot-stopper played in the South American qualifiers for the 1986 World Cup (Argentina won), but he wasn’t picked for the final team.

At the club level, Fillol became a seven-time Argentine League champion with River Plate. Due to his enormous achievements for his country, we have placed Ubaldo Fillol in the 9th spot of the best Argentine footballers of all time.        

8. Gabriel Omar Batistuta (1991–2002)

Gabriel Omar Batistuta was a lethal striker. (Photo credit: https://www.diariopopular.com.ar/)

Gabriel Omar Batistuta is considered one of the greatest strikers ever to play the game. Due to his incredible skills, which included shooting from distance, powerful striking and volley goals, Batistuta became a formidable force for any defence.

Being technically gifted and physically strong, the centre-forward secured 54 goals in 77 matches for Argentina. He is the highest scorer for Argentina in World Cups with ten goals, a record still unbroken. Batistuta couldn’t taste World Cup glory, but he has 2 Copa America titles and 1 Confederations Cup on his international trophy shelf.

The lethal striker spent most of his club career playing in Italy, where he won 1 Scudetto with Roma and several other major titles. Gabriel Omar Batistuta is 8th in our list of best Argentine footballers of all time. 

7. Juan Roman Riquelme (1997–2008)

Juan Roman Riquelme is a Boca Juniors legend. (Picture was taken from independent.ng)

Riquelme was a gifted midfielder who earned fame playing in the ‘no. 10’ role. His elegant passing, intelligent off-the-ball movements and goal-scoring abilities made him a superior player on the pitch. Riquelme scored 15 goals for Argentina in 51 matches, but his international shelf remains void apart from an Olympic Gold Medal in 2008.

Riquelme dominated club football in his home country with Boca Juniors despite international glory. Bagging 53 goals and 61 assists in 221 matches, he helped them win 3 Copa Libertadores titles and 5 Argentinian league titles. Juan Roman Riquelme is 7th in our list of best Argentine footballers of all time.  

6. Omar Sivori (1956–1957)

Omar Sivori was the 1961 Ballon d’Or winner. (Credit: Juventus)

Omar Sivori was a prominent goalscorer who dominated Argentine and Italian football in the 1950s and 60s. The 1961 Ballon d’Or winner was known for his incredible pace with the ball, dribblings and feints. Even though he played only 19 matches with the Argentina national team, he contributed to the 1957 Copa America triumph.

Sivori spent most of his career in Juventus. He has 176 goals in 341 club matches while playing with three teams, River Plate, Juventus and Napoli. Saviour is a three-time Italian league winner and three-time Argentine league winner. Omar Sivori is 6th on the list of best Argentine footballers of all time.         

5. Daniel Passarella (1976–1986)

Daniel Passarella won two world cups with Argentina. (Credit: Twitter)

Daniel Passarella is the only Argentine player to feature in both World Cup winning tournaments. Playing in the central defensive position, Passarella became a rock that was too difficult to break for opponent strikers. Some of his unique abilities include sweeping from the back and scoring goals in important matches.

He played in 70 games for Argentina, scoring 22 goals and securing 2 World Cups. Apart from international glory, Passarella also won the Argentine league title 7 times, which made him an icon in his country. Daniel Passarella is 5th in our list of best Argentine footballers of all time.

4. Mario Alberto Kempes (1973–1982)

Mario Alberto Kempes scored the winning goal in the World Cup final. (Image credit: Eurosport)

Starting football at the age of 8, Mario Alberto Kempes didn’t know then that he’ll score one of the most important goals for his country. Even though Kempes scored 20 goals in 43 international matches, the crucial one came in 1978, which helped Argentina secure a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands in the World Cup final.

Known as a prolific centre-forward, Kempes scored 216 goals in 473 club competitions while playing for different teams in Argentina, Spain, Chile, Austria and Indonesia. Mario Alberto Kempes is 4th among the best Argentine footballers of all time.  

3. Alfredo Di Stefano (1947)

Alfredo Di Stefano is a Real Madrid legend. (Picture was taken from goal.com)

Born in Argentina, Alfredo Di Stefano spent most of his career in Spain. He claimed God-like status in Real Madrid because of his enormous achievements for the club. Alfredo Di Stefano was known for his skills, vision, stamina, passing and shooting abilities.

One of his unique traits was his ability to play anywhere on the pitch. Di Stefano won 2 Ballon d’Or, 4 European Cups and 8 Spanish League titles while at Madrid. Even though he only spent one year and appeared only in 6 matches for the Argentina national team, Di Stefano was part of a team that won the 1947 Copa America title.

Later in his career, he represented Spain in international tournaments. In 2003, Alfredo Di Stefano was voted the fourth-best player in the last 50 years by France football magazine, trailing Maradona, Pele and Johan Cruyff. Alfredo Di Stefano is 3rd among the best Argentine footballers of all time.           

2. Diego Armando Maradona (1977–1994)

Diego Armando Maradona won the 1986 World Cup. (Credit: Twitter)

Indeed among the top three greatest players of all time, “El Pelusa” was worshipped as a God in Argentina during his peak years. He was a naturally gifted player with exceptional dribbling skills and incredible pace. Nightmare for defenders, Diego Maradona used to cruise past defensive lines with ease.

Having played 91 games in the Argentine jersey, Maradona scored 34 goals, but none of them was more beautiful than the second goal Maradona scored against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

The famous goal is also known as ‘the goal of the century’. Maradona led his country to the 1986 World Cup triumph in that tournament and claimed an immortal figure in Argentine football. Maradona is one of the most respected people in Napoli because of his contributions to the Italian team including 2 Italian League triumphs. In total, he has secured 259 goals in 491 matches across all club competitions.

1. Lionel Messi (2005–)

Lionel Messi is the highest scorer of the Argentina national team. (Credit: Pinterest))

The player with the most Ballon d’Ors (6), Lionel Messi‘s achievements look unreal. Even when he was playing for his hometown club, Newell’s Old Boys, he showcased groundbreaking skills. Even though this article won’t be enough to talk in detail about all of Messi’s skills, some special ones are: elegant dribbling, accurate passing, lethal shooting, agile movements, physical strength etc.

Messi’s ability to play both the roles of a midfielder and a goalscorer in perfection is beyond impressive. With 81 goals in 160 matches, he is Argentina’s all-time highest goalscorer. He led his team to 4 major international finals(World Cup 2014, Copa America 2015, Copa America 2016, Copa America 2020) but only returned with one title. Due to international failures, there were growing pressures on his shoulders, which have been eased after the Copa America win in 2021.

In Club football, no Argentine has more accolades than ‘La Pulga’. Messi has secured 10 Spanish League titles, 4 Champions League, 3 Club World Cup and several other major titles. The World Cup failure is the only backdrop of his glorious career, but he still has a chance left. If he wins it in Qatar this year, then there would be no debate about him being the best Argentine footballer of all time and probably the greatest player of all time.                         

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Surajit Das

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