Monday, January 16, 2017

River Plate Greatest All-Time Team

La Máquina 1942
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

In 2000, River Plate was honored by FIFA as the 9th best club of the century in the world and the best Argentine football club in that ranking. At the time of writing, River Plate has won official domestic titles than any other club. River Plate has also won 16 international titles, ten recognised by FIFA and CONMEBOL that includes three Copa Libertadores, one Intercontinental Cup, one Supercopa Sudamericana, one Copa Sudamericana, two Recopa Sudamericana, one Copa Interamericana and one Suruga Bank Championship. Furthermore, the club has also won six tournaments organized by AFA and AUF together: five Copa Dr. Ricardo Aldao, and one Tie Cup.
Copa Libertadores 1996

GK: Ubaldo Fillol (Argentina)
He 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. For domestic football, he played in his native Aegentina, Brazil and Spain, but he was known for his career with River Plate.  In 1977, he became the first keeper to win the Player of the Year award in Argentina. 

GK: Amadeo Carrizo (Argentina)
Amadeo Carrizo was the young goalkeeper for River Plate's "La Máquina" in 1940's.  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. He went to the WC Finals in 1958.

GK: German Burgos (Argentina)
Burgos started playing professionally with Ferro Carril Oeste. In 1994 he moved to River Plate, where he was dubbed Mono (monkey) because of his height and disheveled appearance, going on to win several titles during his spell, notably the 1994 Apertura where his team did not lose one single game.  He also played in Spain. He was capped 35 times and was the backup keeper at the WC Finals in 1998 and 2002.

RB: Hernan Diaz (Argentina)
Díaz joined River Plate in 1989. He went on to win 8 league titles with the club as well as the Copa Libertadores in 1996.  His 10 titles as a player make him the second most decorated player in the history of Club Atlético River Plate. He was capped 28 times and went to USA 1994.

CB/RB: Norberto Yacon (Argentina)
Yacon was a member of River Plate's "La Máquina" in 1940's. He made his debut in 1938. He remained with the club until 1953, when he moved to play in Mexico for America.  The highlight of his career with Argentina was the South American Championship 1947 in which La Selección won the tournament undefeated.

CB: Daniel Passarella (Argentina)
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 WC 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 vs Diego Maradona
CB: Celso Ayala (Paraguay)
He was a part of the great defensive unit of the Paraguayan national team during the 1990's.  He was capped 86 times and was among the most capped players for his country. For club football, he played in Spain, Brazil, Argentina and of course, Paraguay.  He was known for his spell with Club Olimpia and two spells with Ribver Plate.  He won Copa Libertadores for both clubs. 

CB: Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina)
Oscar Ruggeri played in 3 World Cup Finals, winning the one in 1986 and finishing second in 1990. 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 as well as Real Madrid in Spain. He also had career with Vélez Sarsfield, San Lorenzo, etc.
Oscar Ruggeri

LB/LM: Jose Ramos  (Argentina)
Ramos was a member of River Plate's "La Máquina" in 1940's. He played left back and midfield.  He retired in 1952.  Capped 11 times.  He was a key midfielder as Argentina won Copa America in 1946.

DM: Nestor Rossi  (Argentina)
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 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.

DM: Reinaldo Merlo (Argentina)
Merlo played his entire career for Club Atlético River Plate as a defensive midfielder. He was part of the midfield that conquered a string of championships under coach Ángel Labruna between 1975 and 1981, the others being Juan José López and Norberto Alonso. He made over 500 appearances for River. He won seven titles during his time at the club and made 42 appearances in the Superclasico, more than any other player in history.

RW: Juan Carlos Muñoz (Argentina)
During his time at River Plate he won 4 titles and is considered one of their greatest ever players. He was part of the team known as La Máquina ("the machine") which dominated Argentine football in the 1940s. After a very successful time at River Plate He moved to Platense, from 1951 to 1953, where he played in 39 games making 3 goals. Muñoz played 11 times for the Argentina national team scoring two goals, he was part of La Albicelestes that won Copa América 1945

LW:  Félix Loustau (Argentina)
A member of River Plate's "La Máquina, one of the greatest team in the history of South American football. He won eight 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.

CM: Americo Gallego (Argentina)
In 1978, he made his debut with Newell's Old Boys.  In 1981, he moved to River Plate. He played for the "Millonarios" for seven years before retiring at the conclusion of the 1987/88 season. He is hailed as a legend at River, as he was the captain during the team's obtaining of their first Copa Libertadores, Intercontinental Cup and Copa Interamericana's in their rich history. Gallego was capped 73 times.  He won the WC in 1978.

CM/AM/FW:  Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina)
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 

AM: Norberto Alonso (Argentina)
Known colloquially as "Beto" Alonso,  he played the majority of his career for the Argentine club River Plate. He remains one of their most iconic players.  He won 7 titles with River Plate and was a key player of the team that won River Plate's first Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup in 1986.  For the national team, he was a seldom used by various managers.  He only played a few minutes as Argentina won the WC in 1978.

AM: Ariel Ortega (Argentina)
Ortega's career was associated with his time with River Plate. . With the club, he won the Primera División in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1996, as well as the Copa Libertadores in 1996.  He also played for Fenerbahçe, Parma, Sampdoria, Valencia, and Newell's Old Boys. Ortega played for his country in the 1994, 1998, and 2002 World Cups. He was also a member of the team that won the silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.  In 1998, he was remembered getting send-off against Holland, in which Dennis Bergkamp scored immediately after his send-off.
Ariel Ortega
AM:  Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay)
Known as "the Prince", he was Uruguay's most capped outfield player.  He was a big fan favorite in River Plate where he won Copa Libertadores in 1996.  He also played in France and Italy. With Uruguay, he won three Copa America's in 1983, 1987 and 1995, where he was voted the best player in two of the tournaments.  He was also South America Player of the Year in 1984 and 1995.
Enzo Francescoli 

SS/FW: Adolfo Pedernera (Argentina)
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.

FW: Bernabe Ferreyra (Argentina)
He was one of the first professional players in Argentine football to reach great popularity, to the point that he had a movie biography. He started with Tigre and then a spell with Vélez Sársfield.  In 1932, Ferreyra was transferred from Tigre to River Plate for a record transfer fee of 23,000 pounds. He kept this record for a total of 17 years – the longest unbroken time period for this record.  For River Plate, his scoring ratio was more than one goal per match.  He was only capped 4 times.

AM/FW: José Manuel Moreno (Argentina)
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 Maradona and Di Stefano. He 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.
José Manuel Moreno 

SS:  Walter Gomez (Uruguay)
Throughout his career, he played for Club Nacional de Football and Club Atlético River Plate. He joined River Plate in 1950 at the end of La Maquina.  Later in his career, he formed a famous partnership with Omar Sivori there.  So he was a connection between the two generations of Argentine club football.  His national team appearance was very limited because he moved to play in Argentina in 1950. He only played 4 times for the national team.

ST/FW: Ángel Labruna (Argentina)
He is the second top scorer of the Argentine First Division with 293 goals, Arsenio Erico being the first top scorer with 295 goals. Labruna was also part of the celebrated River Plate offense, nicknamed 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 FIFA World Cup held in Sweden.

ST/FW: Oscar Mas (Argentina)
He made his debut in the Argentine First Division at the age of 17 in 1964, with River Plate. He would go on to win two titles with River Plate, both the titles contested in 1975. He was twice the top scorer in the Argentine Primera and once top scorer in the Copa Libertadores. In total, he scored 199 goals in 382 games for River, being their second-most prolific scorer. He also played for Real Madrid, América de Cali, Quilmes, Sarmiento, Mariano Moreno, El Porvenir, Defensores de Belgrano, Huracán Las Heras de Mendoza and Talleres de Remedios de Escalada in Argentina. He earned 37 caps and was a member of the 1966 WC team.

ST: Hernán Crespo (Argentina)
Started with River Plate, he went on to play for many big clubs in both Italy and England.  He won three Serie A scudetti, a Copa Libertadores, a Premier League title and an Olympic Games silver medal. At international level, Crespo's career was limited by playing with Gabriel Batistuta, but he still managed to score 35 goals and is Argentina's third highest goalscorer. He played in three FIFA World Cups: 1998, 2002, 2006.
Crespo scoring at the Final of 1996 Copa Libertadores

Honorable Mention
Jose Maria Minella, Pablo Aimar, Ramon Diaz, Marcelo Salas, Leonardo Astrada, Javier Saviola, Juan Jose Lopez, Eduardo SapolettiAlfredo Perez, Omar Sivori, Mario Kempes, Gozalo Higuian, Roberto Perfumo, Roberto Bonano, Juan Pablo Sorin, Ramón Bello, Ricardo Vaghi, Federico Vairo, Jose Ramos Delgado.
La Máquina: Juan Carlos Muñoz, José Manuel Moreno, Adolfo Pedernera, Angel Labruna and Félix Loustau

Squad Explanation
-- Some of Argentine all-time greats only spent a few seasons at the club.  So they were not selected for this team.  
-- The greatness of La Máquina has kept many of River Plate idols away from this squad.  Ramon Diaz, Pablo Aimar, etc were some of the players who contributed a lot to the club, but did not make the team.
-- Omar Sivori did not play enough matches for the club.  He had to fight for a spots against players from La Maquina.  Enzo Francescoli won a lot of trophies for the club, including Copa Libertadores. 
-- Crespo was the hero of the 1996 Copa Libertadores for the club. He got ahead Marcelo Salas, etc.
-- German Burgos played on the undefeated team.

Only three starters were not on La Maquina. 

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