Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Argentina Greatest All-time team

Argentina 1978

This is my all-time team for ArgentinaIf there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Boca JuniorsRiver PlateIndependienteEstudiantes de La Plata
San Lorenzo Racing ClubVelez Sarsfield.
Argentine-born players capped by other national teams
Angels with Dirty Faces with Di Stefano at the World Cup 1958 
Argentina All-Time Team before 1978,
Argentina All-Time Team After Maradona.
Provincia de Córdoba, Argentina All-Time Team
Provincia de Santa  Fe, Argentina All-Time Team
Provincia de Buenos Aires 
The City of Buenos Aires

Argentina has long been recognized as one of the top teams in the world since the inception of the World Cup Finals. However, it wasn't until 1978 that they clinched their first World Cup victory. Prior to that, they had already made it to the final in 1930, showcasing their early prominence in the tournament. An interesting twist occurred in 1934 when Luis Monti, a hero of the 1930 World Cup for Argentina, won the World Cup with Italy instead. The unfortunate timing of World War II prevented members of "La Máquina" from showcasing their skills in the World Cup Finals.

In the post-war periods, Argentina witnessed the absence of exceptional players like Alfredo Di Stefano and Omar Sivori, who never had the opportunity to represent their country in the World Cup Finals. It wasn't until 1978, with the likes of Ubaldo Fillol, Daniel Passarella, and Mario Kempes, that Argentina secured their first World Cup triumph. Eight years later, Diego Maradona's brilliant individual performance propelled Argentina to their second World Cup victory, leaving an indelible mark on football history.

Additionally, Argentina boasted strong teams in 1994, 1998, and 2006, further exemplifying their consistent presence among the world's footballing elite.  In 2023, they won their third World Cup titles.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

Argentina 1986

GK: Ubaldo Fillol
Ubaldo Fillol was considered one of the greatest Latin American keeper. He was the 1978 WC winning goalkeeper for Argentina.  He also went to the WC Finals in 1974 and 1982. In 1977, he became the first keeper to win the Player of the Year award in Argentina. For his club career, he started with Quilmes.  He played mainly for River Plate.  He also had spells with Racing Club, Flamengo, Atletico Madrid, etc.

GK: Amadeo Carrizo 
Amadeo Carrizo was the young goalkeeper for River Plate's "La Máquina" in 1940's.  For them, he won five Championship trophies in 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1957.  He was considered one of the greatest keeper from South America. Despite his greatness, Argentina constantly refused to select him.  He only earned 20 caps between 1954 and 1964. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1958. He also played for Millonarios in Colombia.

Amadeo Carrizo
GK:  Rogelio Dominguez
He played around the same time as Carrizo.  He earned 59 caps.  He missed the 1958 World Cup Finals because he moved to Real Madrid in 1957 and Argentina did not select overseas players.  With Real Madrid, he won two European Cups playing alongside with Alfredo Di Stefano.  Before Real Madrid, he played for Racing Club in Argentina.

RB: Javier Zanetti
Javier Zanetti was the starting rightback for Inter Milan for almost 20 years.  He served as their captain from 1999, earning him the nickname "Il Capitano" (The Captain).  He held all kind of appearance records in Italy.  He widely considered to be Argentina's best ever rightback.  He holds the record of the most capped player in the history of the Argentine national team and played in the 1996 Olympic tournament, five Copa América tournaments and two World Cups, in 1998 and 2002.
Javier Zanetti
RB: Carlos Sosa 
Carlos Sosa started his career with Atlanta in 1939.  He joined Boca Juniors in the 1941, where he established as one of the best defenders of his generation.  He won two Argentine Primera División. He went to play in France in 1952.  He played for Racing Paris and Red Stars in Paris.  With Argentina, he was capped 12 times. He won two Copa Americas(1945 and 1946).

CB: Oscar Ruggeri 
Oscar Ruggeri played in 3 World Cup Finals, winning the one in 1986 and finishing second in 1990. In total, he played 97 times for Argentina. He was La Liga Foreign Player of the Year in 1989 and South American Player of the Year in 1991. He played for both River Plate and Boca Juniors. In 1988, he left for Europe where he played for Spanish clubs Logroñes and Real Madrid. He also had career with Vélez Sarsfield, San Lorenzo, etc.

CB: Roberto Ayala
Roberto Ayala captained Argentina for 63 times, a record.  He is also the second cap record holder for Argentina with 115 caps.  He went to three World Cup Finals: 1998, 2002 and 2006. For club football, he was best remembered for winning the UEFA Cup with Valencia. He also played for Real Zaragoza in Spain, Milan and Napoli in Italy and River Plate in his native Argentina.

CB: Daniel Passarella
Daniel Passarella was one of the best center-backs ever played the game.  He captained Argentina when it won the World Cup in 1978. He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1982, but he was forced into have a non-playing role in 1986 after a row with Diego Maradona. He was also known for scoring over 140 goals in his career, very high for a defender. His career was associated with River Plate. He also played for Fiorentina and Inter Milan in Italy.
Daniel Passarella
CB: Roberto Perfumo 
Nicknamed El Mariscal, Roberto Perfumo was considered as one of the best Argentine defenders ever. At club level, Perfumo played for Racing, River Plate and Brazilian team Cruzeiro. He was a legend with Racing Club in Argentina winning the Primera title, the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup.  He was considered their greatest player. He had 37 caps for Argentina.  He played in 1966 and 1974 WC Finals. 

LB:  Silvio Marzolini
In 1959, Silvio Marzolini started his career with Ferro Carril Oeste. A year later, he joined Boca Juniors where he played until 1972 and became an idol. He was considered one of the greatest leftbacks in Latin American football history.  For Argentina, he had 28 caps between 1960 and 1969.  He went to the 1962 and the 1966 World Cup Finals.

LB: Alberto Tarantini
Alberto Tarantini had 61 caps between 1974 and 1982. He was the starting leftback for Argentina in 1978 and 1982, where Argentina won their first WC in 1978.  He was infamously known for his career in England where he only lasted 28 matches. He played for River Plate, Boca Juniors and Talleres de Córdoba, River Plate, and European teams SC Bastia, Toulouse and FC St. Gallen.

DM: Luis Monti
The ruthless central midfielder led Argentina to the WC Final in 1930 where they lost to Uruguay.  Four years later, he became an Oriundo and won the World Cup with Italy.  He was also remembered for getting injured at the Battle of Highbury in 1934 when England played Italy.  Monti started his career in 1921 with Huracán. The following year he signed with Boca Juniors but left without playing a game. He joined San Lorenzo. In 1930, he joined Juventus in Italy, where he played until 1939.
Luis Monti
DM: Nestor Rossi
Nestor Rossi is one of Argentina's greatest defensive midfielders.  Nicknamed "Pipo", he started his career at River Plate, playing from 1945 to 1949, and then again from 1955 to 1958, winning a total of 5 Argentine leagues. He played with La Maquina, but at the end of their peak.  He also won 6 more with Millonarios in Colombia. He played in the 1958 World Cup Finals and was a part of their 1957 Copa America winning team.

CM: Fernando Redondo
Fernando Redondo played his first game in the Primera División at only 16 for Argentinos Juniors, and remained five years with the team before moving abroad to CD Tenerife in Spain.  He joined Real Madrid in 1994, where he would become one of the best central midfielders in Real Madrid's history.  He won two Champions' League with them in 1998 and 2000. For the national team, he only picked up 29 caps because he had issues with various managers.

CM/AM/FW:  Alfredo Di Stefano
The best player in the world before the emerge of Pele and Maradona. He was one of the younger member of the great River Plate in the 1940's.  In 1949, he moved to play in Colombia before moving to Europe in 1953.  He won 5 straight European Cups with Real Madrid. He was credited in turning Real Madrid into a legendary club. His international career was limited to the fact that Argentina did not select overseas players.  He played for Argentina, Colombia and Spain.
Alfredo Di Stefano
LW:  Félix Loustau  
A member of River Plate's "La Máquina, one of the greatest team in the history of football. He won 8 national titles during his time at the club. He usually played as an outside left and he is considered to be one of Argentina's greatest wingers. Because the peak of his career was during the 2nd World War, his international career was very limited. Nevertheless, he played 28 times for Argentina scoring ten goals.  He won three straight Copa America in 1945, 1946, and 1947.

AM: Diego Maradona
Maradona was considered the second best player in history after Pele.  He won the World Cup in 1986, scoring the best goal in the history of the World Cup when he scored against England.  He also played in the WC Finals in 1982, 1990 and 1994.  For club football, he was best remembered for leading Napoli to break the dominance of the Northern Italian clubs in the Serie A.  Napoli won two league titles and a UEFA Cup.  He was also considered to be Boca Juniors' greatest player.
Diego Maradona
RW/FW: Lionel Messi 
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona. At time of writing, he won 4 World Player of the Year and 5 Ballon d'Or.  For Argentina, he has played over 140 times.  At the time of writing, he has not won an international trophy for the national team, but reached three Finals in his career.

SS/FW: Adolfo Pedernera 
He was a member of  "La Máquina".  He is still considered by many to be one of the greatest Argentine players of all-time. He was elected the 12th best South american footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS in 2000. He moved to Atlanta in 1947 and Millonarios in Colombia.  Because of the Second World War, he did not play many games for Argentina. He still won the Copa America 1941 and 1945.

AM/FW: José Manuel Moreno 
José Manuel Moreno was the star of  "La Máquina" of River Plate in the 1940's.  Some older fans in Argentina considered him better than Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano. He earned 34 caps for Argentina scoring 19 goals, but never played in the World Cup Finals due to the World War II, but won the South American Championships of 1941, 1942 and 1947. He also played club football in Mexico and Colombia.  He was selected among the 25 best players in the world in the 20th century by the IFFHS in 1999.
José Manuel Moreno
SS/FW:  Omar Sivori
After Argentina won the Copa America in 1957, Omar Sivori joined Juventus from River Plate where he enjoyed 8 successful years.  He was credited with the resurgence of the club.  With John Charles and Giampiero Boniperti,  he formed "the Magical Trio" with the club.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1961. He also played for River Plate in Argentina and Napoli in Italy.  He only played 19 times for Argentina.  He later played for Italy 9 times scoring 8 goals.

ST/FW: Ángel Labruna 
Ángel Labruna is the second top scorer of the Argentine First Division with 293 goals. He was also part of River Plate's La Máquina (The Machine), and he was considered one of the best South-American footballers of his generation.  He played 37 matches for Argentina, scoring 17 goals. He also won two South American Championships (1946 and 1955) and as a nearly 40-year-old he played in the final phase of 1958 World Cup held in Sweden.

ST:  Gabriel Batistuta
Gabriel Batistuta is the current top-scorer for Argentina.  He first gained international recognition when Argentina won the Copa America in 1991 where he finished as the top scorer. He earned a move to Fiorentina spending the next 9 seasons there while becoming their all-time leading scorer.  In 2000, he moved to Roma and won the scudetto in his first season. He played 77 times for Argentina.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
Gabriel Batistuta
Honorable Mention
Americo Tesoriere, Antonio Roma, Nery Pumpido, Hugo Gatti and Roberto Abbondanzieri, Jorge Olguín, Wálter Samuel, Walter Samuel, Javier Mascherano, Roberto Sensini, Jose Ramos Delgado, Jose Salomon, Ludovico Bidoglio, Rafael Albrecht, Fernando Paternoster, Juan Pablo Sorin, Juan Roman Riquelme, Antonio Rattin, Diego Simeone, Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Sebastian Veron, 

Juan Carlos Muñoz, Ricardo Bochini,  René Houseman, Ermindo Onega, Raimundo Orsi, Omar Oreste Corbatta, Ángel Di María, Juan Evaristo, Jorge Valdano, Miguel Ángel Brindisi, Humberto Maschio, Osvaldo Ardiles, Guillermo Stábile, Claudio Caniggia, Americo Tesoriere, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Ariel Ortega, Luis Artime,  Bernabe Ferreyra, Mario Kempes, Sergio Aguero, Hernan Crespo, Gonzalo Higuaín, 

Squad Explaination 
-- Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Alfredo Di Stefano were automatic selection.  They were the big three of Argentine football.  Following closely behind them were Jose Manuel Moreno and Omar Sivori, both highly esteemed figures in Argentine football history. Daniel Passarella, widely regarded as Argentina's greatest defender, secured his rightful place on the team. Additionally, Amadeo Carrizo, Fernando Redondo, Javier Zanetti, and Gabriel Batistuta were undisputed selections
Lionel Messi 
--  The The Argentine Football Association created their own All-Time Best XI on 2022.  The team was as followed: Ubaldo Fillol, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Perfumo, Daniel Passarella, Alberto Tarantini, Miguel Brindisi, Fernando Redondo, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Gabriel Batistuta and Mario Alberto Kempes.
-- IFFHS came up with three All-Time Dream teams for Italy. Their A team consisted of Amadeo Carrizo, Javier Zanetti, Daniel Passarella, Roberto Perfumo, Silvio Marzolini, Fernando Redondo, Osvaldo Ardiles, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Alfredo Di Stéfano and Gabriel Batistuta.  They were followed by their B team: Ubaldo Fillol, Carlos Sosa, Oscar Ruggeri, Roberto Ayala, Alberto Tarantini, Antonio Rattín, Jorge Burruchaga, Ricardo Bochini, José Manuel Moreno, Mario Kempes and Omar Sívori.  The last but not least were their Team C: Hugo Gatti, Jorge Olguín, Rafael Albrecht, Wálter Samuel, Juan Pablo Sorín, Néstor Rossi, Juan Sebastián Verón, Norberto Alonso, Ángel Labruna, Adolfo Pedernera
and Luis Artime.
-- Luis Monti led Argentina to the Final of the first World Cup in 1930.  However, I only selected him from that squad.
-- Argentina was known for "Angels with Dirty Faces" for their victory in the 1957 Copa America.  That team was one of the greatest Argentinian side.  Imagine they played with Alfred Di Stefano at the World Cup 1958.  My imaginary team included 6 members from this All-Time team.  In addition to Di Stefano, my selection also featured notable players such as Omar Sivori, Amadeo Carrizo, Rogelio Dominguez, Nestor Rossi, and Ángel Labruna. That team had more representatives on this all-time selection than the two World Cup winning team combined.  Argentina's performance in the actual 1958 World Cup Finals was disappointing, leading to the infamous label "El desastre de Suecia" or "The Sweden disaster."
-- Both World Cup winning teams were underrepresented. For the 1978 team, I only selected Ubaldo Fillol, Alberto Tarantini and Daniel Passarella.  Mario Kempes won both Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the tournament, but he missed out to the fact there were too many great Argentinian attackers.
-- I only had two players from the 1986 World Cup team. Only Diego Maradona and Oscar Ruggeri made the team.  Daniel Passarella was dismissed before the tournament started. Nery Pumpido would have been my 4th choice goalkeeper.
-- On paper, Argentina had a team that could have won the World Cup in 1994.  The team had 4 players on this team: Diego Maradona, Fernando Redondo, Oscar Ruggeri and Gabriel Batistuta.  Of course, Maradona was ageing and his drug suspension probably caused Argentina's downfall that year.  
-- Lionel Messi led Argentina in winning the World Cup in 2022.  He was the only member of the team that made it.
World Cup 2022
-- Most players played with or before Diego Maradona.  Only four players were on my Argentina All-Time Team After Maradona.  
-- For goalkeepers, Amadeo Carrizo and Ubaldo Fillol were obvious choices.  The IFFHS ranked Carrizo as the best South American keeper of the 20th century in 1999.  Fillol was Silver Ball South American Player of the Year: 1978, 1983, 1984.  He went to three World Cup Finals.  He was known as one of the best ever spot kick savers in history.  He saved 25% of his spot kicks.
-- Then, I chose Rogelio Dominguez, a player who coincided with Amadeo Carrizo during their time on the national team. Surprisingly, Dominguez occasionally started ahead of Carrizo, despite the latter's reputation. Interestingly, Dominguez accumulated more appearances for Argentina than Carrizo, despite spending some time playing overseas in an era when Argentina did not typically select foreign-based players. I chose Dominguez due to his compatibility with Carrizo during their prime years. 
-- Americo Tesoriere, Antonio Roma, Nery Pumpido, Hugo Gatti and Roberto Abbondanzieri were some of the more famous goalkeepers from Argentina. They made honorable mentions.
-- The four centerbacks were obvious.  Roberto Perfumo, Oscar Ruggeri, Daniel Passarella and Roberto Ayala easily earned their spots. Walter Samuel, Javier Mascherano, Roberto Sensini, Jose Ramos Delgado, Jose Salomon, Ludovico Bidoglio and Rafael Albrecht made honourable mention.  
-- Daniel Passarella was a figure who required no introduction. He could have been the sole Argentine player with two World Cup medals. However, due to a disagreement with Diego Maradona during the training camp, Passarella departed from the team. Despite his departure, he technically remained on the roster. Throughout his career, Passarella gained recognition as a defender who had a knack for scoring goals.
-- Roberto Perfumo, known as "El Mariscal (The Marshall)" won the  the 1967 Intercontinental Club Cup with Racing de Avellaneda, the first Argentine to win the title.  He went to two World Cup Finals.
-- Oscar Ruggeri won 4 titles with the national team (1 World Cup, 2 Copa Americas and a Confederation Cup).  He was one of the most decorated player in Argentine national team's history.  He was named on AFA's greatest All-Time team in 2022.
--Roberto Ayala captained La Albiceleste a record 63 times. He amassed a total of 114 caps, which was the second-highest at the time of his retirement.
Roberto Ayala 
--Upon joining Barcelona, Javier Mascherano made a transition to the central defender position. He holds the distinction of being the second most capped player for Argentina. While he gained recognition among younger fans, who witnessed Barcelona's numerous trophy victories, my personal preference lies with Perfumo, Ruggeri, Passarella, and Ayala. These four legendary defenders may not have enjoyed as remarkable club careers in Europe as Mascherano, but they are often ranked higher by most individuals.
-- On the right side, Javier Zanetti had a 20 year career at the top level.  Notably, he holds the record for the most appearances by a foreign player in Serie A. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest right-backs to have ever graced the game. On the other hand, Carlos Sosa may not have garnered much attention beyond Argentina, but within the country, he was highly esteemed. In fact, in 2000, Sosa was rightfully selected for Argentina's All-Time Best XI for the 20th Century.
--  Silvio Marzolini was among the greatest left backs in football history.  He was an all-timer with Boca Juniors and ended up coaching them in the early 1980's, where a young Diego Maradona played for him.  He was elected to be the leftback of the All-Star team of the 1966 World Cup Finals.  I opted for Alberto Tarantini over Juan Pablo Sorin, despite both players not excelling in European club football. Tarantini's career coincided with a period when South American club football was on par with its European counterpart. Therefore, his struggles in England could be attributed to various factors, such as cultural differences or adjustments. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that Tarantini had won a World Cup. During my research, I also came across Fernando Paternoster, although my knowledge about him is limited. Paternoster served as the left-back for the 1930 World Cup team and made history as the first player to miss a penalty in a World Cup final when he failed to score against Mexico
-- I considered Luis Monti one of the greatest defensive midfielders ever played the game.  He was a star with Argentina before switching to Italy.  Despite winning a World Cup with Italy, he was not on my all-time team for ItalyI tried not to select "oriundo" for that team. He was nicknamed "Doble Ancho (Double Wide)" because he covered a large section of the field.  He was known to be a hard tackler, but he had the skills to be the playmaker during the attack. He played with Argentina in the 1930 World Cup Finals, where he was one of the top players.  Nestor Rossi was another automatic selection for central midfielders. He played for River Plate at the end of "La Máquina", where he played with some of the players from that era.  He was also the central midfielder behind Argentina's famous 1957 Copa America winning team.
Nestor Rossi 
--I intended to select Osvaldo Ardiles as a potential deep-lying midfielder due to his skill set. However, Fernando Redondo possessed the ability to not only fulfill defensive duties but also contribute significantly to advancing the ball up the field. Another player capable of playing in that deep role was Juan Sebastian Veron. However, I decided to give him an honorable mention rather than including him in the final selection.
-- Antonio Rattin's name recognition in the English speaking world come from his incident in 1966.  He was actually a very good midfielder.  That incident might or might not help his career since every soccer history buff knew him because of the incidentDiego Simeone was the first Argentine player to reach 100 caps. But I kept them off the team because I already have Fernando Redondo, Luis Monti and Nestor Rossi ahead of them. It was almost impossible to break into the team with the three of them.  
-- Fernando Redondo never had the opportunity to showcase his talents for the national team. He was notably excluded from the 1998 World Cup squad due to a dispute with Daniel Passarella. However, this omission does not diminish his worth as a player. Similarly, Alfredo Di Stefano had limited appearances for La Albiceleste, but that did not affect my evaluation of him. Countless individuals regarded Redondo as one of the greatest central midfielders in history. With Real Madrid, he played a pivotal role in their triumph in the 1998 UEFA Champions League, marking their first victory in the competition since 1966. One unforgettable moment from that campaign was his extraordinary backheel assist to Raul in a quarterfinal match against Manchester United. This skillful nutmeg of Henning Berg near the touchline remains an enduring image from Champions League action in the 1990s.
Fernando Redondo
-- Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Alfredo Di Stefano, José Manuel Moreno and Omar Sivori already occupied all of the forward/attack midfielder positions.  
--Alfredo Di Stefano received only 6 caps for Argentina, all of which were before his prime. Interestingly, he went on to represent Spain over 30 times. However, despite his extensive international appearances for Spain, it is hard to disregard his Argentine roots. Di Stefano's versatility as a player, including his ability to drop deep, further justified my decision to exclude Osvaldo Ardiles from the selection.
-- Ricardo Bochini and Juan Roman Riquelme were both omitted from the team due to an abundance of attacking midfielders and secondary forwards already present. Despite being Diego Maradona's idol and a renowned figure in the Argentine league, Bochini had limited opportunities at the national team level. Maradona specifically requested his inclusion in the 1986 World Cup team, which turned out to be Bochini's only major tournament appearance. Juan Roman Riquelme achieved legendary status with Boca Juniors, yet his time at Barcelona was deemed unsuccessful. However, it was during his stint with Villarreal that he experienced his peak in European football. In the national team, Riquelme encountered disagreements with several individuals, including Diego Maradona. Ultimately, he made the decision to retire from international football prior to the 2010 World Cup Finals.
-- José Manuel Moreno was the greatest Argentine player before the emerge of Alfredo Di Stefano or even Diego Maradona.  In 1999, he was ranked as the 5th best South American player in the 20th Century (behind Pelé, Maradona, Di Stéfano and Garrincha).
-- I could not find space for Rene Houseman, Raimundo Orsi and Omar Oreste Corbatta.  They were Argentina's greatest wingers.  Corbatta was only 26 yeras when his form started to decline before he joined Boca Juniors in 1963. The wide players would be Félix Loustau on the left.  Messi could also play on the right.
-- Mario Kempes was the hero of the 1978 World Cup winning team, but Gabriel Batistuta, Lionel Messi, Omar Sivori, Moreno, Adolfo Pedernera, Alfredo Di Stefano and Diego Maradona were ahead of him for a spot of the team. So he only made honorable mention.
-- The players from River Plate's La Máquina never got the chance to shine in a World Cup Finals.  Ángel Labruna, Adolfo Pedernera, Félix Loustau and Jose Manuel Moreno made the team.  Nestor Rossi and Alfredo Di Stefano also played with them.
-- Gabriel Batistuta was the all-time top-scorer for Argentina when he retired.  He was probably the best striker in the world during his prime.  I took him over Luis Artime, Guillermo Stábile, Bernabe Ferreyra and Hernán Crespo.  Luis Artime's strike rate of 0.96 goals per game for Argentina also makes him one of the most prolific goal scorers in Argentine international football. He played at the 1966 FIFA World Cup and at the South American Championship 1967, where he was the top goalscorer.  Guillermo Stábile scored 8 goals and 4 games, and was the top scorer of 1930 World Cup.  However, apart from the World Cup Finals, he never played for Argentina again.
-- Omar Sivori won the Ballon d'Or in 1961.  In my opinion, he and José Manuel Moreno were right behind Diego Maradona, Alfredo Di Stefano and Lionel Messi as the 4th or 5th greatest ever Argentine player.  Some older Argentine considered José Manuel Moreno to be greater than Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano.  
Omar Sivori (R)
-- Ángel Labruna spent 20 years with River Plate.  For the national team, he was limited because Argentina refused to participate at the World Cup.  However, he won two Copa Americas.
-- At one point, Hernan Crespo was the world's most expensive player.  Except Diego Maradona, no other player held that title.  However, his national team career was overshadowed by playing behind Gabriel Batistuta.  Without Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero would have been Argentina's star player of his generation.  His national team career was not as good as his club form.

Starting lineups 
Formation I 
Cesar Luis Menotti developed a personal rivalry with Carlos Bilardo in the 1970's and 1980's.  They were two different styles of football.  Menotti was more offensive and artistic while Bilardo's style was more defensive and practical.  I based this 4-2-4 formation with Menotti's team in 1978.   Diego Maradona would have a free role enjoyed by Mario Kempas in 1978.  I thought of playing him on the left because Jose Moreno usually played on the right behind the forward line. In the end, Maradona should stay as the center of attack, I reasoned.  Lionel Messi and Jose Moreno would move around the field in a free flowing style.  Alfred Di Stefano would be the deep-lying midfielder.
Cesar Luis Menotti's team

Cesar Luis Menotti

Formation II
Carlos Bilardo used a similar formation in 1986.   I forced Di Stefano to the left so that Maradona could play in his original position.   I considered playing Messi up front where Barcelona often used him.  This team would be protected by 6 defensive players.
Carlos Bilardo's team

Carlos Bilardo

Formation III
 If I were managing this team, this is the formation I would use.  I move Maradona to the left because he was a better left-side player than any of the obvious starters on the team.  I brought in Redondo to run the midfield. 



  1. Maradonna and Messi, how do you lose. As long as we are talking about soccer culture here is the Crazy Soccer culture in Buenos Aires (FC San Lorenzo) I recently experienced. Hope you enjoy :)

  2. Formation III is definitely the most balanced. Almost perfect.

  3. Formation III is definitely the most balanced. Almost perfect.

  4. Where is Ariël Ortega?
    Juan Roman Riquelme?

  5. I think Di Stefano was a representative of Spain rather than Argentina. If exclude him, who will sub in?

  6. Bochini. missing.redondo too. Mascherano maybe.

  7. The team number 3 is my team for Argentina.maybe the second best in the world after Brasil.

  8. Just imagine, all those giants could be united in a real time!!! What a squad, if they would work together. There are so many world class players who only earned "Honorable mentions".

  9. a team with scraps and leftovers:
    salomon varallo
    evaristo olazar heinze
    peucelle simeone cherro garcia

    garcia and peucelle had enormous synergy with moreno. but they will have to do with these mediocre aerialists;)

  10. 1.Carrizo
    7.Di Stefano
    3.Juan Evaristo

    1. Thanks. But in all honesty; I would make a bunch of changes now over the team I made.....

  11. Great blog. Personally, I would put Kempes in the team. He did more for the national team than most other players.

    1. Kempes was very very important in 1978, I agreed but his career outside that tournament was not as great as others. His problem was being Argentine. He had Maradona, Moreno, Di Stefano and Sivori ahead of him for sure. Then, I have Labruna, Pedernera and Batigoal. Kempes' peak years was short as compared.

  12. This was written in 2014 but there's no way Ardiles, Veron and Cambiasso (any, much less all 3) miss this list. Even then, Kun was deserving. And then I realized Kempes didn't make it...that's quite crazy.

    1. Ardiles, Veron and Cambiasso can never get ahead of Rossi, Monti and Redondo. Who do I drop for any of them?
      Kun??? In his prime, he never got near the Ballon D'or. The other Argentine forwards on this team were the best of best in their generations. Please pick a player that i should drop for Kun. Kempes was a borderline case due to 1978, I can see.

  13. Di Maria for Labruna after the 2022 World Cup?