Sunday, May 14, 2017

Estudiantes de La Plata Greatest All-Time Team

2009 Copa Libertadores

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.

Estudiantes de La Plata is amongst the most successful teams in Argentina. In 1967, Estudiantes was the first team outside of the traditional "big five" to win a professional league title. Since then, the squad has won four more league titles to bring the total to five. It has had even greater international success, having won six international titles. Estudiantes' international silverware consists of four Copa Libertadores (including three straight from 1968–70), an Intercontinental Cup, and an Interamerican Cup.

Three straight Copa Libertadores titles between 1968 and 1970.

GK: Gabriel Ogando (Argentina)
Gabriel Ogando spent 14 seasons with Estudiantes de La Plata between 1939 and 1952.  He played his first game as a 18 years old. In 1952, he moved to Huracán.  After a brief spell, he moved to River Plate, where he replaced legendary Amadeo Carrizo. He payed 5 times for Argentina. His debut was in 1945 against Paraguay.

GK: Alberto Poletti (Argentina)
Alberto Poletti  was mainly known for being a part of the successful Estudiantes de La Plata team of 1967–1970. He started his career with Estudiantes in 1965. His last match with them was on Dec 16, 1970 against Velez Sarsfield. In the 1969 Intercontinental Cup, he received a life ban because of a fight with AC Milan players. However, he was pardoned and was able to play again.

GK: Mariano Andújar (Argentina)
In 2009, Andújar was the first team goalkeeper in Estudiantes' Copa Libertadores winning team. Andújar did not concede a single goal in any of the eight games in La Plata and he set a new tournament record of 800 minutes without conceding a goal, beating Hugo Gatti's 767 minutes. After 2009, he joined Catania in Italy and then, Napoli.  Capped 11 times.  He went to the WC Finals in 2010.
Mariano Andújar
RB: Rúben Pagnanini (Argentina) 
Nicknamed was El Gato ('the cat'), he played for Estudiantes de La Plata, Club Atlético Independiente, Argentinos Juniors and Minnesota Kicks. Playing for Estudiantes, he won the 1969 Copa Libertadores and 1970 Copa Libertadores. He was a part of the national team that won the 1878 World Cup, though he did not play in any match during that tournament.

RB: Julián Camino (Argentina)
Camino spent most of his career with Estudiantes where he won two league titles. He capped  11 times.  He was a part of the Argentina squad for Copa América 1983.  His international career suffered from a foul he committed against Franco Navarro of Peru. He later played for Argentinos Juniors.  He also played in India and Israel.

CB: Ramón Aguirre Suárez (Argentina)
Aguirre Suárez made his name in Osvaldo Zubeldía's Estudiantes. He won 3 Copa Libertadores. Estudiantes lost the 1969 Intercontinental Cup against AC Milan, which resulted violence on the field.  He endured jail time and suspensions. He also played for Granada CF in 1971/72 and and UD Salamanca before retiring in 1975. In 1977, he came out of retirement to play four games for Club Atlético Lanús.
Ramón Aguirre Suárez 
CB: Óscar Malbernat (Argentina) 
Malbernat was the captain of Estudiantes de La Plata between 1967 and 1972, when the team won a local championship in 1967, three consecutive Copa Libertadores titles (1968 to 1970) and one Intercontinental Cup (1968), where he marked Manchester United's George Best. Before his retirement, he played for Boca Juniors in 1972 and Racing Club de Avellaneda in 1973.

CB: Raúl Madero (Argentina)
He played for Boca Juniors and Huracán but he came into his own with the Estudiantes de La Plata team that won several national and international titles between 1967 and 1970. He was also cited for the national team. He scored only nine goals for Estudiantes, but one of these goals was a crucial header against Quilmes that helped Estudiantes avoid relegation.

CB: José Luis Brown (Argentina)
Brown spent most of his career with Estudiantes, for which he appeared in more than 300 official games and won two major titles. He also played in Colombia, France and Spain. Nicknamed Tata, Brown represented Argentina at the 1986 World Cup and three Copa América.  In 1986, he replaced Daniel Passarella at the WC Finals. He scored his only international goal in the final against West Germany.
Jose Luis Brown
LB: Abel Ernesto Herrera (Argentina)
Herrera holds the record for the most league appearances for Estudiantes de La Plata with 467 between 1972 and 1988. Nicknamed "Titi" Herrera was noted for his short stature and intense play. He is a one-club man having played his entire professional career for Estudiantes.

DM: Miguel Russo (Argentina)
Russo played his entire career for Estudiantes de La Plata, from 1975 to 1988. He was a staple of the team that won two back-to-back championships in the 1982–83 season. Although Russo was called on by national team coach Carlos Bilardo to play in the 1986 World Cup qualifiers, a string of minor injuries prevented him from going to the 1986 World Cup Finals.

DM: Carlos Bilardo (Argentina)
Bilardo achieved worldwide renown as a player with Estudiantes de La Plata in the 1960s, and as the manager of the Argentina side that won the 1986 World Cup. As manager of Argentina, he was renowned for successfully employing the 3–5–2 formation at the highest level; this formation has been in use for decades, but has never achieved mainstream status.
Raúl Madero and Carlos Bilardo (R)
DM/CM: Carlos Pachamé (Argentina)
Pachamé was a defensive midfielder for the Estudiantes de La Plata team that won three successive Copa Libertadores from 1968 to 1970, and the 1968 Copa Intercontinental. He formed part of a fearsome midfield, along with Carlos Bilardo and Eduardo Flores. He also played Boca Juniors, Quilmes, Lanús, Deportivo Independiente Medellín and Rochester Lancers.

CM: Alejandro Sabella (Argentina)
Born in Buenos Aires, he began his playing career with River Plate in his home country before moving to England in 1978 to play for Sheffield United. Known as "Alex" while in England, Sabella then had a spell with another English side, Leeds United, before returning to South America and representing Estudiantes, Grêmio, Ferro Carril Oeste and finishing his career with Irapuato.  Capped 8 times.
Alejandro Sabella
CM: José Daniel Ponce (Argentina)
Ponce was a part of Estudiantes coached by Carlos Bilardo that won two back-to-back titles. His trademark were his precision free kicks, and his skill with the ball, both dribbling and passing.  In 1983 Ponce was selected to join the Argentina squad for the Copa América 1983. He later took part in the process that led to Argentina's victory in the 1986 World Cup.

AM: Patrício Hernández (Argentina)
Hernández started his career in 1974 at Estudiantes de La Plata. He was transferred to Torino FC in 1982 for a then record transfer fee for Estudiantes. He played for 2 seasons with Torino before moving to fellow Italian side Ascoli. In 1985 Hernández returned to Argentina to play for River Plate. He was part of the team that won the Copa Libertadores in 1986. In 1987, he moved to Argentinos Juniors.

AM/CM: Juan Sebastián Verón (Argentina)
Juan Sebastian Veron was the son of a Estudiantes de La Plata great Juan Ramon Veron.  He was also a hero at the club.  Both father and son won the Copa Libertadores for the club.  He also played briefly for Boca Juniors in 1996.  He had an extended career in Europe, playing for Parma, Lazio, Sampdoria, Manchester United, Chelsea, Inter Milan, etc.  He was considered one of the best Argentine player of his generation, winning 73 caps between 1996 and 2010.
Juan Sebastian Veron

AM/LW/FW: Juan Ramon Verón Sr (Argentina)
Nicknamed La Bruja (The Witch), Juan Ramón Verón played for Estudiantes de La Plata during the late 1960s. Verón was considered its greatest player. The fans remembered his "bicycle kick" goal against Racing Club, his header in the Intercontinental Cup championship against Manchester United and, most famously, his glorious hat-trick against Brazil's Palmeiras in the finals of the 1968 Copa Libertadores.  He also played for Panathinaikos F.C. of Athens, Greece in 1972 and for Junior in Colombia.
Juan Ramon Veron
AM: Eduardo Flores (Argentina)
Flores started his playing career in 1962 with Estudiantes, he went on to make 165 league appearances for the club scoring 65 goals. He was part of Osvaldo Zubeldía's team that won three successive Copa Libertadores titles from 1968 to 1970. In 1972, Flores joined French team AS Nancy where he played out the remainder of his career.

ST: Enrique Guaita (Italy)
Guaita played for Estudiantes de la Plate before moving to AS Roma .  He was the top-scorer of the League in 1934–35, with 28 goals.  In 1936, he returned to  Argentina to play for Racing Club because he feared that he would be drafted into the army.  He was capped 4 times for Argentina.  While in Italy, he was capped 10 times for Italy.  He won the World Cup in 1934 with them, where he scored a goal in the semi-final.
Enrique Guaita 
ST: Ricardo Infante (Argentina)
Ricardo Infante was the 2nd highest scoring player in the history of Estudiantes de La Plata and the 6th highest scoring player in the professional era of the Primera División Argentina.  Against Rosario Central in 1948, he scored a goal using rabona from 31 meters out. In 1958, Infante was part of the Argentina squad that played in the 1958 World Cup.

ST: Alberto Zozaya (Argentina)
Alberto Zozaya was the first player to score a goal in the professional era of Argentine football, which began in 1931. He became an integral part of the Estudiantes team of the 1930s nicknamed "Los Profesores" (The Professors).  In 1937, Zozaya played in the South American Championship 1937 helping Argentina to win the title scoring 5 goals

ST: Manuel Ferreira (Argentina)
Ferreira was part of the Argentine squad that won the football silver medal at the 1928 Olympic tournament. He also captained the Argentine team at the 1930 World Cup finals, in which Argentina finished as runner-up. He won the Copa America championship with Argentina in 1929 and also won the Copa Newton in 1927 and 1928.

ST: Manuel Pelegrina (Argentina)
Pelegrina started his career with Estudiantes in 1938, he played for the club until their relegation in 1952 when he left with Ricardo Infante to join Club Atlético Huracán. Pellegrina only played one season with Huracán before returning to Estudiantes. During his time at Estudiantes Pelegrina made a number of appearances for Argentina, including games at the South American Championship 1945
Manuel Pelegrina 

Honorable Mention
Marcos Angeleri, Leandro Desábato, Néstor Craviotto,  Rodrigo Braña, Marcos Conigliaro, Miguel Ángel Lauri, Hugo Gottardi, Eduardo Luján Manera, Oscar Pezzano.
Los Profesores
Squad Explanation 
-- Estudiantes had a famous offensive lineup in the 1930's: Miguel Ángel Lauri, Alejandro Scopelli, Alberto Zozaya, Manuel Ferreira and Enrique Guaita, known as Los Profesores ("The Professors").
-- Estudiantes won three Copa Libertadores in the row from 1968 to 1979.  I included eight players from that era on my team.  They are Alberto Poletti, Rúben Pagnanini, Ramón Aguirre Suárez, Óscar Malbernat, Raúl Madero, Carlos Bilardo,  Carlos Pachamé and Juan Ramon Verón Sr.
-- Most of the squad came within the ranks of two great teams, but Juan Sebastián Verón and Mariano Andújar were only members of the 2009 Copa Libertadores team on my team. Leandro Desábato is on the Honorable Mention list.
-- Juan Ramon Verón scored the winning goal vs Manchester United in the 1968 Intercontinental Cup. Manchester United did not win the cup until 1999. His son Juan Sebastian Veron would play for Manchester United from 2000 to 2003. He was born the day his father played a derby for Estudiantes against cross-town rivals Gimnasia y Esgrima. 
-- Patricio Hernández is the club's record transfer-out.

Billiard started largely because of his legendary status with the club, but perhaps helped by his coaching career as well. Juan Ramon Veron plays on the left side.

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