Monday, January 29, 2018

Venezuala Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Copa America 2011
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

South America without Brazil and Argentina.

Venezuela is the only CONMEBOL country where football is not a big sport.  It is the only country that never qualified for the World Cup Finals.  The national team seldom wins a match against the other team from the confederation.   However, they are making progress in recent years. At the 2011 Copa America, they finished 4th and then, a respectful 6th place at the World Cup qualifiers in 2014.

They are nicknamed La Vinotinto ("The Wine-Red"). When playing at home in official games, they usually rotate between three stadiums: The Polideportivo Cachamay in Puerto Ordaz, the Estadio José Antonio Anzoátegui in Puerto La Cruz and the Estadio Pueblo Nuevo in San Cristóbal. In friendly matches, they tend to rotate between the rest of the stadiums in the country.

Venezuela did not participate in FIFA World Cup qualification until the 1966 qualifiers in which they were drawn with Uruguay and Peru, but failed to register a point in four games. In the 1970 qualifiers they managed to register a point, and after withdrawing from the 1974 series, repeated that in the 1978 qualifiers. The 1982 qualifiers saw them register their first win, over Bolivia. They wouldn't register another World Cup qualifying win until the 1994 series when they defeated Ecuador. A highlight of the 1998 qualifiers was goalkeeper Rafael Dudamel scoring against Argentina in a 5–2 defeat.

This is my all-time team for Venezuela. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  
Copa America 1967

During his career, Dudamel played for many clubs. In Venezuela, he played for Estudiantes de Mérida, Universidad de Los Andes, El Vigía, Atlético Zulia, UA Maracaibo and Deportivo Táchira. In Colombia, he played for Atlético Huila, Independiente Santa Fe, Deportivo Cali, América de Cali, Millonarios and Cortulua  He has also played for Quilmes, of Argentina and Mamelodi Sundowns, of South Africa.  Dudamel has 56 caps and one goal for the Venezuela national football team between 1993 and 2007.

GK: Renny Vega
Vega played for the youth team of Udinese in Italy.  He then returned to Venezuela and played for various First Division clubs, including Caracas.  He played for Bursaspor and Denizlispor inTurkey, and Colo Colo in Chile.  He has played with the Venezuela national team for more than ten years, with his most successful moment being when he was a member of the historic 2011 Copa América squad that reached 4th place. 

GK: Gilberto Angelucci
Giberto Angelucci spent most of his career playing in Venezuela for a number of different teams. He started his football career in 1985. Between 1994 and 1998 he played in Argentina with San Lorenzo de Almagro.  A Venezuelan international between1995 and 2005, Angelucci has been capped 47 times and included 1995 and 2004 Copa América squads.

RB: David Mota
David Mota spent more than 15 seasons with Deportivo Galicia in the first division and with this club he was champion of Liga and Copa Venezuela on three occasions. He also played Copa Libertadores with the club as well as the Simón Bolívar Cup of 1971 and 1972. For the national team, he played in the World Cup Qualifiers in 1966 and 1970.

RB: Roberto Rosales 
Roberto Rosales started with Caracas at home before joining Gent in Belgium on 30 May 2007.  Rosales joined Eredivisie side Twente in 2010.  He stayed there until 2014, establishing himself as a starter. Between 2014 and 2019, he played for Malaga in Spain with a loan move with Espanyol. He also played in Cyprus and Brazil.  He has been representing the national team since 2007. He has over 95 caps at the time of writing.

CB: Fernando Amorebieta
He played most of his professional career with Athletic Bilbao, appearing in 253 official games over the course of eight La Liga seasons and scoring four goals. He also played for Fulham and Middlesbrough in England, Sporting Dijon in Spain and Independiente in Argentina. Internationally, Amorebieta played for Spain as a youth, but only allowed to switch to Venezuela at senior level in 2011 after a rule change by the FIFA. He had 15 caps and played in Copa America in 2015.
Fernando Amorebieta
CB: Oswaldo Vizcarrondo
At the time of writing, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo has over 80 caps between 2004 and 2016.  He was a member of the 2010 Copa America Team that came 4th.  He was voted onto the Team of the Tournament.  For domestic club football, he started with Caracas FC in 2002.  He played for Olimpia in Paraguay, America in Mexico and Lanus in Argentina before heading to play in France with Nantes.  From 2017 and 2019, he played with Troyes.  He is considered of his country's greatest defenders.

CB: José Manuel Rey 
During his career, Rey played mainly with Caracas Fútbol Club, also representing C.S. Marítimo de Venezuela, Club Sport Emelec (two spells), Pontevedra CF, Atlético Nacional, AEK Larnaca FC and Atlético Club Mineros de Guayana. In 1995, he had a short spell with Deportivo de La Coruña in Spain, but only appeared for the reserve team. In 2009, Rey was sent on loan to Colo-Colo in Chile by Caracas. Rey earned 115 caps and became the first player to appear 100 times for Venezuela. He also represented the nation in six Copa América tournaments.

Freddy Elie was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  He started professionally with Deportivo Galicia before moving to Deportivo Italia in 1970. In 1972, He became the first Venezuelan player to play abroad when he left for Peru. He first played for José Gálvez FBC in 1972. and then, joined Alianza Lima in 1973. He later played for Tiquire-Canaria, Portuguesa Fútbol Club and Universidad de Los Andes. He earned 20 caps for the national team between 1964 and 1977.
Freddy Elie
Cichero began his career with Montevideo Wanderers in 2003.  His club career carried him around the world.  He had played in Italy, France, Argentina, the United States and India.  In the 2012–13 season, he was named Ligue 2 team of the season while playing for Nantes.  Gabriel Cichero has 61 caps for the Venezuela national team, and has scored four goals including the winner against Chile in the 2011 Copa América quarterfinal.

LB: Jorge Rojas
Rojas began to establish himself as one of the nations top players while at Caracas FC. He joined Eucador's Emelec in 2003. That season, he was selected as the top foreign player in the league.  H then played for Colombian club Atlético Nacional and América de Cali, Unión Atlético Maracaibo, NY Red Bulls of the United States, Deportivo Táchira, Mineros de Guayana, Aragua and Metropolitanos.  Rojas has earned 90 caps for the Venezuela national team, making him the second most capped player in the history of Venezuelan international football as of April 2009.

Miguel Vitali started his career with Caracas FC in 1998. He has played professional football in several countries in Europe and South America, including; UE Lleida in Spain, Poggibonsi in Italy, Chacarita Juniors in Argentina and Levadiakos in Greece.  He was briefly on te books of Lazio.  Mea Vitali has played over 80 games for the Venezuela national team between 1999 and 2002, scoring one goal.  The goal came in a World Cup Qualifier against Bolivia in 2001.

DM/RM/RB: Tomás Rincón 
Tomas Rincon played for UA Maracaib,  Zamora and Deportivo Táchira at home before making a name with Hamburger SVC in Germany. Between 2014 and 2017, he played for Genoa in Italy.  He moved to Juventus in 2017. At the time of writing, he plays for Torino.  He is a regular member of the national team with over 125 caps since 2008.  In 2011, he helped Venezuala to finish 4th at the Copa America.  He himself was voted Adidas' Best Player of tournament.
Tomás Rincón 
CM: Gabriel Urdaneta 
Gabriel Urdaneta made 77 appearances for the Venezuela national team between 1996 and 2005, making him the third most-capped player in Venezuelan international football as of March 2008.  For club football, he played for many clubs in Venezuela and Switzerland, including a stint with Young Boys of Bern and SC Kriens. He started with Universidad de Los Andes at home in 1994.

Soteldo started with Zamora at hime.  Between 2017 and 2018, he played for Huachioato in Chile.  He was named Chilean Primera División Best Foreign Player. In 2019, he moved to play in Santos in Brazil, and followed by a transfer to MLS in 2021.  He played in Mexico before returning to Santos.  Since 2016, he was a regular member of the national team.  

AM: Juan Arango 
Juan Arango is considered one of the greatest players ever from his country.  The best part of his career is probably with Mallorca in Spain, where he spent between 2004 and 2009.  He also played with  C.F. Monterrey, C.F. Pachuca, Puebla FC and Tijuana in Mexico and with Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany.  He earned 129 caps, a record in his home country. He represented the nation in six Copa América tournaments. During the 2011 Copa America, he led Venezuela to its best finish.
Juan Arango
Luis Mendoza Benedetto was born in Venezuala, but spent part of his childhood in Italy. He was largely considered to be the greatest footballer from Venezuela before the 1990's. In 1961, he made his league debut as a 15 years old with Banco Agrícola y Pecuario. He played with Central Maiderense, Santo Tomas de Aquino, Deportivo Italia, Deportivo Galicia, Portuguesa, Estudiantes de Mérida and Caracas.

ST: Ruberth Moran
His career was mainly linked with Estudiantes de Mérida at home.  Morán has played professional club football in a number of countries, including; Venezuela, Spain, Colombia, Argentina and Norway. Between 1996 and 2007, he has played 65 times for the Venezuela national team scoring 15 goals, making him the 4th all-time top scorer in the history of Venezuelan international football

ST/SS/AM: Stalin Rivas
At the club level, Stalin Rivas played with several Venezuelan teams, including Mineros de Guayana , Caracas Fútbol Club , Deportivo Italmaracaibo , Deportivo Italia , Trujillanos Fútbol Club, Unión Deportivo Lara and Minervén de El Callao, where he managed to be the top scorer in the Copa Libertatores in 1994 He also played with Millonarios ( Colombia ), Cruz Azul ( Mexico ), Standard Lieja , Boom FC ( Belgium ).  He earned 66 caps for Venezuala between 1988 and 2006.
Stalin Rivas
ST: Giancarlo Maldonado
Maldonado began his footballing career in the youth teams of Montevideo club River Plate. he made his professional debut with Nacional Táchira back home.  He played for many clubs in his career.  His biggest club was probably Atlante in Mexico, where he played between 2007 and 2011. Between 2003 and 2011, he played for Venezuelan national team.  He is their all-time leading scorer.  His father also represented Venezuela.

Savarese made his professional debut at 15, with Venezuelan club Deportivo Italia during the 1986–87 season.  He played college soccer in the United States.  He spent some time in Europe, but the best of his career was spent in the MLS especially earlier in his career with NY Metrostars.  He was elected US Soccer Hall of Flame in 2007.  Between 1989 and 2001, he represented Venezuela 31 times.  

Josef Martínez began his career with Caracas. In 2012, he was acquired by the Swiss Super League club Young Boys before spending a year on loan at Thun. In 2014, he was sold to Italian club Torino, and in 2017, MLS expansion side, Atlanta United FC.  Over there, he broke many records.  He was MLS MVP in 2018.  Since 2011, he played over 60 times for Venezuela.  

ST: Salomón Rondón 
After starting out at Aragua in 2006, Salomón Rondón went on to spend most of his career in Spain, appearing in La Liga with Las Plames and Málaga, and in Russia with Rubin Kazan and Zenit St Petersburg.  Then, he played with West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United. Later, he played for Dalian Yifang, Everton and River Plate. In 2008, he received his first cap at the age of 18.  Since then, he has earned over 100 caps scoring over 40 goals. 
Salomón Rondón 

Honorable Mention
Dani Hernandez, Daniel Nikolac, César Baena, Daniel Francovig, Vicente Vega, Pedro Castro, Wilfredo Alvarado, Jonay Hernandez, René Torres, Jose Manuel Velasquez, Pedro Accosta, Luis Vallenilla, Gerson Chacon, David Mcintosh, Mauro Cichero, Alejandro Cíchero, Carlos Betancourt, Leopoldo Jiménez, Leonel Vielma, Luis Vera, Edson Tortolero, Franklin Lucena
Félix José Hernández, Gabriel Miranda, Alejandro Guerra, Luis Manuel Seijas, Nelson Carrero, Yangel Herrera, Ronald Vargas, Ricardo Páez , Miguel Echenausi, Dani Hernández, Jeffrén Suárez,  José Luis Dolgetta, Miku, Alejandro Moreno, Antonio Ravelo, Rafael Santana.

Squad Explanation
-- This original team was created in January, 2018.  I redid this team in November, 2023.  This was one of the biggest upheavals of all my blogs even through it was only 5 years since I created it.
-- Juan Arango is the best player ever from Venezuela.  Salomón Rondón, Giancarlo Maldonado and Stalin Rivas are some of the other greatest players from here.
-- Most players on this team played from 2000's onward as Venezuela was in the backwater before that.  In fact, their first ever national team did not come until the mid-1960's.
-- The IFFHS created their All-Time Best XI for Venezuela.  Their team included Rafael Dudamel, Roberto Rosales, José Manuel Rey, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo. Jorge Alberto Rojas, Luis Carlos Mendoza, Tomás Rincón. Stalin Rivas, Juan Arango. Salomón Rondón and Giancarlo Maldonado.
-- This was Marca's list of greatest ever footballers from Venezuala.  They were Juan Arango, Stalin Rivas, Giancarlo Maldonado, Alejandro Moreno, Salomón Rondón, Giovanni Savarese, Tomás Rincón, José Manuel Rey, Renny Vega and Oswaldo Vizcarrondo. 
-- I found a youtube video created by Armando Naranjo.  He is a sports announcer specializing in soccer for radio and TV for more than 20 years in Venezuela.  His greatest ever Best XI included: Rafael Dudamel, Roberto Rosales, José Manuel Rey, Frederic Elie, Jorge Alberto Rojas, Luis Carlos Mendoza, Tomás Rincón, Stalin Rivas, Juan Arango, Salomón Rondón and Pedro Febles.  He had two changes from IFHHS.  Giancarlo Maldonado and Oswaldo Vizcarrondo were missing from his team.
-- Venezuela reached the semifinal of Copa America in 2011.  In Argentina, they held Brazil to goalless draw.  In the semifinal, they narrowly lost to Paraguay through a penalty shootout. This team was loaded with players from that team.  Renny Vega, Juan Arango, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Tomas Rincon, Gabriel Cichero, Giancarlo Maldonado, Roberto Rosales and Salomón Rondón came from that team.  Their rise actually began 4 years earlier when they reached the quarterfinal of the 2007 Copa America held at home. They also had their best ever World Cup Qualifying result up until that point during the World Cup Qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup Finals.  They managed to steal a point against Brazil.  Four years later, they beat Argentina 1-0 in another World Cup Qualifier.  That generation was their best ever.
-- Until 2011, their best finish at the Copa América was fifth in their first entry, in 1967.  I took three players from that 1967 team.  They were Luis Mendoza, Freddy Ellie and David Mota. Rafael Santana and Antonio Ravelo deserved to be on this team, but their position was covered by other players.
-- Jorge Valdivia was born in Venezuela, but both of his parents were Chilean.  He also represented Chile in football, where he earned 74 caps between 2004 and 2017.  He starred in Brazil's Serie A in which he was named in the 2007 Bola de Prata.  Danny (Portrugal) was also born in Venezuela.  He played over 30 times for Portugal.  He was a star player with Zenit St Petersburg. He was named Russian Footballer of the Year in 2010.  Both would have been selected to this team if they chose to play for Venezuela.  Leonardo Jardim is a famous Portuguese coach who was known for leading AS Monaco to win the French league title in 2017 ahead of PSG.  His team featured young players such as Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, etc.  He was born in Venezuela, but I did not know much about his playing career.
-- According to different sources, Rafael Dudamel, Gilberto Angelucci and Renny Vega were the three greatest ever goalkeepers from Venezuela.  The three were also the most capped goalkeepers from here.
-- Rafael Dudamel scored 24 goals in his career, but only one of them was for La Vinotinto.  He scored a direct free kick in a 1998 World Cup qualifier against Argentina.  He also won league titles in Venezuela, Colombia and South Africa.  Marca listed Renny Vega as one of the top 10 greatest footballers from here.  Angelucci is currently a fugitive from justice after disappearing during investigation for a homicide in his native Turén, but this did not affect his status with this team.
Renny Vega
-- At the time of writing, Wuilker Faríñez's club career has not worked out in France, but he has the potential to earn a spot on this team.  I left him off the team for now.
-- Dani Hernandez was the first Venezuelan goalkeeper to play in Spain, but he mainly played in the lower division.  Some people rated him as one of the greatest ever from Venezuela, but I put him as my 4th goalkeeper.
-- I also looked into Daniel Nikolac, César Baena, and Daniel Francovig.  Nikolac was ranked very high.  He helped Venezuela to win the Gold medal  at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1982, but it was not a senior tournament, I believed.  At the senior level, he only played 5 times, largely because he often refused callups. 
-- For his club team Unión Atlético Táchira,  Daniel Francovig scored a goal from a dropkick from his penalty box against Independiente of Argentina in the 1987 Copa Libertadores.  His club went on to upset the Argentine club.  It was a monumental moment in their football history.
-- I also discovered Vicente Vega who is the father of Renny Vega.  He played with Jairzinho (Brazil's 1970 World Cup team) for Portuguesa Football Club in the late 1970's.  For Venezuela, he achieved a moral victory in 1981 when he held Brazil to a 1-0 loss during a World Cup Qualifier. Brazil only broke the deadlock by a penalty taken from Zico.  Please don't forget we were talking about the team that would become Brazil's legendary 1982 World Cup team. 
-- Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Roberto Rosales and Jose Manuel Rey were the greatest defenders from Venezuela. 
Jose Manuel Rey
-- Roberto Rosales was chosen by IFHHS as their best ever rightback.  He was an important player during his time in Spain's Malaga. I came across a rightback named René Torres from the 1980's, but I took David Mota as my backup.  He played for Deportivo Galicia for more than 15 years.  He played in the 1967 Copa America team.
-- On the left, I first took Jorge Rojas who was also IFFHS's choice.  He was voted as the best foreign player while playing in Ecuador.  He was a leftback/wingback. Jonay Hernandez played mainly in Spain's Segunda División B where he appeared in 212 matches over one full decade.  He was a strong prospect for this team, but I took Gabriel Cichero instead.  He was from the 2011 Copa America team. His brother Alejandro Cichero was as famous as Gabriel.  He was a well-known central defender who spent some time in Benfica and Caligari, but the majority of his club career was spent with smaller clubs. He also played as a fullback, but I believed on the right.  This team needed a leftback so I took his brother instead. Their father Mauro Cichero captained Venezuela Olympic team at the 1980 Olympics.  He was also a defender.
-- Oswaldo Vizcarrondo was named on the Team of the Tournament at the 2010 Copa America.  As mentioned, he was one of Venezuela's greatest defenders.  Then, I took Freddy Elie whom I considered to be an historical player.  Jose Manuel Rey was one of the most capped players ever from Venezuela.   He is also their third all-time leading scorer even through he was a defender.
-- The last centreback was more controversial. Fernando Amorebieta switched to play for for Vinotinto late in his career.  He only represented Venezuela 15 times in which some Venezulans might disagree with his selection, especially after I dropped Pedro Accosta and Luis Vallenilla. His club career, however, was very good for players from this country. He played in 253 competitive matches over eight La Liga seasons.  
-- In 2018, I selected 6 central defenders, but in 2023, I decided to reduce the number.   First, I dropped Pedro Acosta.  He made 34 appearances for the senior Venezuela national football team from 1979 to 1989, including participation at the 1979 Copa América, 1983 Copa América, 1987 Copa América and 1989 Copa América. He also competed at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.  He scored the goal against Bolivia in 1981 that gave Venezuela its first ever victory in a World Cup Qualifier.  Acosta played for Deportivo Galicia, C.S. Marítimo de Venezuela and Caracas F.C.  I also decided not to take Luis Vallenilla.  He made 77 caps for Venezuela, scoring a goal.  For club football, he played for Trujillanos, Caracas and Mineros de Guayana.
-- I came across several defenders who had built strong cases for this team.  Leonel Vielma's name was mentioned frequently during my research.  Pedro Castro was on trial with several Spanish clubs in the 1970's, which would have been a milestone for players from here.  David Mcintosh and Hector Rivas were also mentioned. 
-- Jose Manuel Velasquez was a centreback who spent some time playing in Europe.  Please do not confuse him with José Velásquez who was the standout Peruvan defensive midfielder from the 1978 and 1982 World Cup Finals. 
-- Tomas Rincon was able to have a career in Serie A and Bundesliga, which was a big accomplishment for players from Venezuela.  He was also at one point on the book of Juventus.  Then, I selected Miguel Vitali who had over 80 caps.  He was followed by central midfielder Gabriel Urdaneta who was the third most-capped player in Venezuela's history when he retired.  
-- In 2018, I also selected CM/DM: Leopoldo Jiménez, but I dropped him in 2023.  He played club football for a number of professional clubs in both Venezuela and abroad, including Once Caldas in Colombia, Córdoba CF in Spain, FC Alania Vladikavkaz in Russia, Aris Limassol in Cyprus, for Deportivo Chacao in Venezuela where he spent his best years.  He also played 64 times for the Venezuela between 1999 and 2005.  I also discovered Carlos Betancourt through Facebook discussions.  He played in the 1980's, but he seemed to be a forgotten player.  He was a defensive midfielder, I believed. I also put Franklin Lucena on honorable mention.
-- As of November, 2023, Yangel Herrera is only 25 years old.   He was the captain of the Venezuela U20 team that finished second in the 2017 U-20 World Cup.  He was signed by Manchester City, but he spent his entire stint there out on loan.  It would have a few more seasons before I decided on his selection.  He is now with Girona.  At the time of writing, they surprised everyone by sitting on top of La Liga table ahead of both Real Madrid and Barcelona after 13 games played
-- Juan Arango was considered one of the greatest players ever from his country.  He was a star player in La Liga with Mallocra and in the Bundesliga with Borussia Mönchengladbach.  With 129 caps, he is Venezuala's All-Time cap leader.  Luis Mendoza was considered the greatest Venezuelan footballer before the 1990's.  He was the youngest ever player to play in the top division of Venezuela.
Luis Mendoza
-- Uruguay-born Gabriel Miranda was well-respected, but he naturalised late in his career.  He only played 12 times for La Vinotinto.  Alejandro Guerra became the first Venezuelan footballer to win the Copa Libertadores in 2016.  He was also selected as the Best Player of the tournament.  However, people seemed to rank him below the players I have selected. Luis Manuel Seijas played around the same time.  His name was mentioned a few times.  But I did not have enough space for them.
-- Yeferson Soteldo did wonderful things with Santos, but not as well in the MLS with Toronto FC. At the time of writing, he is only 26 years old, but many sources already named him among the top 10 ever from this country. Since this team needed a wide player, I took him over other more senior players.  Stalin Rivas and Juan Arango could also play on the left wing.  
-- This team lacked a respectful right-side attacker.  So I seriously looked into Jeffrén Suárez.  He was famous because he played three seasons for Pep Guardiola's Barcelona and scored a goal against Real Madrid during an El Classico game.  How many Venezuelan footballers could claim a similar portfolio? However, injuries prevented him from reaching his potential.  He never had a big role with neither Barcelona nor Sporting CP.  The majority of his club career was spent in Belgium, Switzerland, Cyprus, Croatia, UAE, etc. In a way, Stalin Rivas' career was similar, but Jeffren only played 4 times for Venezuela.  Rafael Santana, José Luis Dolgetta, Pedro Febles, Alejandro Moreno and Ruberth Morán should be ahead of him.  RW/LW César González would also be ideal for this team, but I did not have enough space for him.   
-- Stalin Rivas was one of the first Venezuelans to play in Europe.  He was known for his left foot.  With Minervén S.C., he finished as the top scorer in the 1994 Copa Libertadores with 7 goals.  Giancarlo Maldonado was part of team that finished fourth in the 2011 Copa América.  He was America's Golden Booth winner in 2007 sharing the award with Argentina's Martin Palermo. Salomón Rondón had a solid career in England.  He is the all-time leading scorer for this country.  All three of them were undisputed selections for this team.
-- Giancarlo Maldonaldo was named after 1982 World Cup winning Italian Midfielder Giancarlo Antognoni.  His father Carlos was also a footballer.  He was an idol with Deportivo Táchira.  He also played for Deportivo Armenio in Argentina, Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia and Fluminense in Brazil. He was the first Venezuelan national team player to score a goal against Brazil in the 1989 Copa América.
Giancarlo Maldonado 
-- The big question mark was Gianni Savarese.  He was elected to the US Soccer Hall of Flame for his career in MLS, but his peak years over there only lasted from 1996 to 1998 while he was playing for NY Metrostars.  His club career outside of MLS was very limited. Moreover, he only played 31 times for Venezuela.  Nevertheless, I decided to take him over José Luis Dolgetta, Pedro Febles, Alejandro Moreno, Antonio Ravelo, Rafael Santana, Miku and Ruberth Moran.
-- In 2018, José Luis Dolgetta was selected into this team for his performance at a single tournament.  He was the top scorer at the Copa America in 1993.  For a Venezuelan player, the achievement was very big, especially for the generations before the 2000's when football was not a popular sport at home.  However, he only played 21 times for the national team. There were more forwards who had done more. So in 2023, I dropped him.   Journalist Armando Naranjo selected Pedro Febles for his All-Time Best XI.  He was the hero of Deprtivo Tachira's upset of Independiente de Avellaneda during Copa Libertadores in 1987.  But I did not know enough about him.  Alejandro Moreno was also a star player in MLS, but he was lesser-known than Savarese.  So all of them were put onto honourable mention.
-- I admitted not knowing Antonio Ravelo. In 2018, I selected him because he was  one of the stars of the first ever national team from his country.  I took him as a pioneer of the game, but I have limited information on him.  He scored two goals in a 3-0 win over Bolivia in 1967.  The match was Venezuela's first ever victory in Copa America.  Rafael Santana scored the other goal. One article named Santana as one of Venezuela's greatest athletes alongside baseball Hall of Flamer Luis Aparicio.  He might be a better choice than Ravelo for a spot.  During my 2023 review of the team, I put both Ravelo and Santana on honourable mention.  
-- Ravelo made his professional debut with Deportivo Español in 1958. He also played for Banco Agrícola y Pecuario, Dos Caminos Sport Club, Portuguese Sports Club and Canary Sports Union.  For the national team, he made his debut in 1962 at the IX Central American and Caribbean Games of 1962, winning the silver medal.   In 1965, he played along with his brothers against Peru at the first ever World Cup Qualifier for his country. In 1967, he also played in Venezuela's first ever entry to the South American Championship, in which he scored two goals in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia.
-- Josef Martínez broke the MLS single season scoring record in 2018.  He is also the fastest player in MLS history to score 100 regular-season goals. Outside of MLS, he also spent three seasons playing in Italy's Serie A.  I ranked him ahead of Savarese.
 Josef Martínez
-- Miku was listed as one of the top 10 players ever by a single source, and he had a fruitful career in Getafe. 
-- I discovered Herman Ettedgui.  He was a well-known striker in the 1940's and 1950's.  He later also became a baseball player, a track athlete, a volleyball player and Basque pelota player.  However, he was famous because of his career as a journalist, and I did not know if he was an all-timer in football.
-- I had one spot left at the end of my research.  Yangel Herrera should wait a few years before I decided on his selection.  So I looked into centrebacks, Pedro Accosta and Luis Vallenilla.  In the end, I decided to take striker Ruberth Moran.

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-3-3


  1. Great job, waiting for Honduras and El Salvador.

  2. Well, for Alejandro Cichero also played as SB for "La Vinotinto", infact he played during the early 00'sas SB since Luis Vallenilla, Wilfredo Alvarado and José Manuel Rey were the prefered CB's back in the day.

    David Mota is considered "at least" the greatest RB from Venezuela, he played in the same generation as Antonio Ravelo.

    Here's a description of Antonio Ravelo btw:
    En Antonio Ravelo se reunieron las mejores cualidades del futbolista moderno. Polifacético jugador de condiciones extraordinarias, capaz de jugar como centro delantero, medio campista y defensa central con gran dominio de la pelota, profundidad de pases, facilidad goleadora, inteligente con visión de campo, de grandes recursos individuales y que podía tener cualquier misión en la cancha, pues se adapta a todas las exigencias y esquemas de juego.

  3. BTW, Luis Mendoza is considered to be the greatest Venezuelan player pre-Juan Arango era.

    Amorebieta IMO is not worthy to be mentioned here, i spwould replace him with Gabriel Cichero, a rather similar player who played as CB and LB.

  4. The team is prettymmuch unbalanced, there are no genuine back up in the LB, i'd insist with Gabriel Cichero as replacement for Amorebieta, Cichero played for longer time, and as you know, was the starting LB in the Venezuela squad that reached the semifinals in the 2011 CA

  5. *I'd add that if you replace Amorebieta, naturally Vizcarrondo would take his place in defense.

  6. I'd really favour Giancarlo Maldonado over Ravelo here.

  7. Daniel-Nikolac
    Rosales Rey Vizcarrondo Chichero/Rojas
    Mendoza Yangel-Herrera Rincon Arango
    Rondon Sergio-Córdova

    Dudamel is the biggest name but rebellious Nikolac had the best results. Herrera and Córdova are Dudamel's prodigees. They will honor him. Pick your preferred left back.