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Best Argentinian soccer players

Lionel Messi

Argentina is a soccer-mad country and has produced some of the best Argentinian soccer players. The nation beat France in Qatar last year to lift the 2022 World Cup trophy, which was their third title having also won in 1978 and 1986. 

Below we will discuss all the best Argentinian soccer players of all time. Almost everyone is familiar with some names like Lionel Messi but others are not very well-known but were the best during their time. 

1- Lionel Messi 

Lionel Messi is one of the most famous footballers in the world, and also the best Argentinian soccer player. He has the distinction of winning an incredible seven Ballon d’Or, and he is the top favorite for this year’s award too. 

Messi had won every prestigious trophy or award in the world, but the World Cup always eluded him. He came very close in 2014 when Argentina made it to the final. But a Mario Gotze extra-time goal eventually condemned them to a bitter defeat. 

However, another opportunity came his way this year and he took it with both hands. Messi was superb throughout the tournament and led them to success in Qatar. He scored seven goals at the World Cup, playing a crucial role in their success. Especially in the final against France, he smashed two goals and converted his penalty. 

The Argentine is an academy graduate of Barcelona, something which most fans know, unlike the Messi autism fact. He earned his senior debut in 2004. Over the years, he went on to achieve incredible success with the club. His time at the Camp Nou saw him winning 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies. The forward made 778 appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 672 goals. In total, he won a club-record 34 trophies at the Spanish giants. 

It was huge news when Messi went on to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. The best Argentinian soccer player wasn’t greatly successful in Paris, but still posted decent numbers during his stint at the club. The 36-year-old’s future became a huge source of speculation when he failed to reach an agreement with PSG to extend his contract. He had an enormously lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia, while Barcelona was also desperate to reunite him with Xavi Hernandez at the Camp Nou.  However, David Beckham and Inter Miami ultimately won the race to sign the best footballer on the planet. 

2- Diego Maradona 

Players like Diego Maradona are born once in a century. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of sport, and also one of the best Argentinian soccer players. No one could come even close to his levels. He boasted excellent vision, passing, ball control, and dribbling skills. 

The Argentine was also hailed for his leadership skills on the pitch. Operating as an attacking midfielder as well as a second striker, he wreaked havoc on the opposition. His leadership on the field had a great impact on the performance of his team. 

Maradona started at Argentinos Juniors where he played between 1976 and 1981. His subsequent stint was at Boca Juniors but didn’t stay long at the club. Barcelona splashed a world record sum of £5 million in 1982 to secure his services. 

But the legendary midfielder left for Napoli two years later, with Napoli surpassing even the Catalans’ transfer fee. He played for the Italian outfit between 1984 and 1991, scoring 81 league goals in 188 appearances. He also played for Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys, and Boca Juniors before calling time on his club career. 

Maradona was also enormously successful for his national team. He earned 91 caps for Argentina, scoring 34 goals in the process. The attacking midfielder played in four World Cups, including the 1986 edition when he led them to success against West Germany in the final. 

His performance in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England became enormously famous. Both his goals in that match entered football history. The first goal was an unpenalized handling foul and later became known as ‘Hand of God’. In comparison, the second one was hailed as the ‘Goal of the Century’ as the Argentinian soccer player dribbled past five England players before finding the net. 

Following retirement, he also entered into management. The legendary footballer became Argentina’s head coach in 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup but left at the end of the tournament. 

3- Sergio Aguero 

Sergio Aguero is hailed as one of the best strikers in the history of the Premier League as well as one of the best Argentinian soccer players. The 35-year-old is one of the finest talents to have emerged from Argentina. 

Aguero began his career at Independiente. After quickly progressing through the youth ranks, he earned his competitive debut in 2003. At that time, his age was 15 years, making him the youngest player to feature in the Argentine Primera Division. 

The Argentine continued his impressive performances over the years at the Estadio Libertadores de América. Soon his displays caught the attention of Atletico Madrid. The Spanish outfit signed the 35-year-old in 2006 for a 20 million fee.   

Aguero’s magic continued his La Liga as he took the league by storm. He smashed over 100 goals in 234 appearances across all competitions in Spain. The striker made the move to an even bigger club Manchester City in 2011. The Citizens were ready to shell out £35m to secure his services. He became enormously popular in the English league in his first season. 

They needed to match or better Manchester United’s result on the final day of the season to win the Premier League title. Hopes for City looked over when they were lagging 1-0 until the injury-time. But Edin Dzeko equalized before Aguero struck a brilliant goal to win his side the league title in dramatic fashion. 

The 35-year-old, hailed as one of the best Argentinian soccer players, remained one of the key figures for Manchester City over the years. In 275 Premier League appearances, he scored 184 goals. Overall, he reached a goal tally of 260 in 390 matches across all competitions. 

Aguero mainly played as a striker but he could also be deployed as a second striker. He is highly rated for his passing, link-up ability, intelligence, and vision. While his finishing is world-class no other player can match. He was inspired by players like Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, and Ronaldinho. 

Aguero has the distinction of winning a Premier League Golden Boot. The great player was also twice included in the PFA Team of the Year. He held the record for the most PL goals scored by a player for any single club until Harry Kane broke it in 2022. 

In 2021, the Argentinian soccer player joined Barcelona on a free transfer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t play long for the Catalans. He was forced to retire from football at the age of 33 due to ill health in the same year. 

4- Alfredo Di Stefano 

Alfredo Di Stefano is also considered one of the best Argentinian soccer players of all time. He played for many top clubs but it was at Real Madrid where he truly made a great name for himself. 

The great Argentine footballer started at River Plate in 1943. He also spent a brief loan stint at Club Atletico Huracan but returned to River in 1947. The talented forward subsequently went on to join Millonarios of Bogota in the Colombian league. He was very successful at the club and lifted several league trophies with his side. 

Real Madrid picked him up in 1953 and he went on to have a great career there. The Argentinian was a key figure for the Santiago Bernabeu outfit during a very successful time for them. In 282 games, he found himself on the scoresheet on 216 occasions, which was a club record at that time. Together with Ferenc Puskas, the duo was a nightmare for the opposition teams. 

Di Stefano’s 49 goals in 58 matches remained a record in the European Cup for a long time. He also has the distinction of scoring in five consecutive European Cup finals for Los Blancos between 1956 and 1960. 

One of the great moments during his time in Spain came in the 1960 final at Hampden Park. In that match, Di Stefano scored a brilliant hat-trick, helping his side to a superb 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Di Stefano bagged many prestigious awards during his highly successful football career, including the Ballon d’Or. The forward also has the distinction of being Real’s leading scorer in El Clasico history. 

The great Argentinian soccer player earned six caps for his country, with six goals to his name. He later went on to represent Spain, scoring 23 goals in 31 matches. 

5- Mario Kempes 

Another one of the best Argentinian soccer players is Mario Kempes. He played as a striker or an attacking midfielder and made a great name for himself in the game. 

Kempes began his football career at Instituto before heading to Rosario Central. He played at the Argentine club between 1973 and 1976. His stint there saw him racking up 107 league appearances and scoring 85 goals. 

The famous center-forward moved to Spain in 1976 to join Valencia. He also posted impressive numbers for the club. At Mestalla, he won the Copa del Rey, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup. The great Argentinian soccer player was highly rated for his great work rate, and excellent finishing skills. His attacking style was a nightmare for the opposition’s defenders. 

Kempes landed a move to River Plate in 1981 before returning to the Mestalla again. He also had spells at Hercules, First Vienna, St. Polten, Kremser SC, Pelita Jaya, Fernandez Vial, and Lushnja. 

Kempes was even more successful for his nation Argentina. He proved to be a key player for the international team during their 1978 World Cup success. The striker scored twice in the final and received the Golden Boot as top goalscorer. Not only that, he also claimed the Golden Ball for the player of the tournament. Thus, Kempes earned the distinction of being one of only three players to have won all three awards at a single World Cup. 

6- Omar Sivori 

If we are talking about the best Argentinian soccer players, we wouldn’t do without mentioning Omar Sivori. The great forward achieved success with some of the biggest European clubs. He also did well for the national team. 

Sivori was an academy graduate of the famous Argentine club River Plate. He played for them between 1954 and 1957 and scored 29 goals in 63 league appearances. Italian giants Juventus were impressed with his performances and brought him to Turin in 1957. He enjoyed a very successful time at Juve, bagging three Serie A titles among other trophies. 

7- Gabriel Batistuta 

Gabriel Batistuta is another huge name in the world of football. He was incredibly successful both at club and international levels. The famous player is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of his generation. He became greatly popular for his powerful strikes from volleys and from a distance while on the run. 

Batistuta is also hailed as one of the best Argentinian soccer players of all time, starting with Newell’s Old Boys, the famous club where Lionel Messi played for a while. But he didn’t stay long there as he joined River Plate in 1989 before heading to Boca Juniors. 

But it was Fiorentina where Batistuta achieved huge success. He has the distinction of being their all-time top scorer in the Serie A with 151 goals. The center-forward stayed at the Italian club when they were relegated to Serie B in 1993. He helped them return to Serie A the following year. 

Batistuta became an icon in Florence, with fans making a bronze statue of him in 1996. He failed to lift the Serie A title with the Violets but won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana. 

However, the striker achieved this feat when he moved to Roma in 2000. La Lupa had paid a record 36 million to secure his services. He also had a brief stint at Qatari outfit Al-Arabi before saying goodbye to football. 

The great Argentinian soccer player was also a key figure at the international level for Argentina. He remained the all-time leading goalscorer for the national side until Lionel Messi surpassed him in 2016. The center-forward also played in three World Cups. Batistuta scored 56 goals in 78 total appearances for Argentina.  

8- Daniel Passarella 

If we are discussing the best Argentinian soccer players, it wouldn’t do to omit Daniel Passarella. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time. He was named as one of the 125 greatest living footballers by Pele in 2004. 

Passarella began his career at Sarmiento but made the move to River Plate in 1973. He was a key figure at the club, regularly starting in the team. Between 1973 and 1982, he made 266 league appearances with 90 goals to his name. Scoring that many goals as a defender is fantastic. 

Fiorentina landed his services in 1982 and played there until 1986. He found himself on the scoresheet on 11 occasions during the 1985-86 season, which was a record for a defender at the time. Overall, he scored 26 league goals in 109 matches. 

Passarella went on to showcase his skills for Internazionale, where he ended his Italian playing career in 1988. He subsequently returned to River Plate, a club where he played until his retirement. The defender was greatly praised for his leadership skills, his passion, and organizational prowess on the field. Despite being a defender, he also carried an attacking threat, something which is obvious from his impressive goals tally. 

The Argentinian soccer player also earned 70 caps for Argentina, scoring 22 goals in the process. He was part of two World Cup-winning teams for his country. The defender was the captain when his nation won the 1978 edition of the prestigious tournament. At the same time, he was also part of the winning squad in the 1986 World Cup. 

9- Fernando Redondo 

Fernando Redondo has long retired from football but he was a joy to watch at the peak of his career. He played as a defensive midfielder but he could also contribute offensively and creatively. 

Redondo, who is always included in the best Argentinian soccer players list, started his career by joining the academy of Argentinos Juniors. After progressing through the youth ranks, he earned his senior debut in 1985. He stayed at the club until 1990, racking up 65 league appearances and scoring a goal. 

The 54-year-old made the move to Spain in 1990 to join CD Tenerife. He was an important figure for the team and consistently delivered good performances. 

Real Madrid noticed his great talent and decided to bring him to the Santiago Bernabeu in 1994. His time at Los Blancos was very successful as he won two league championships and two Champions Leagues. He also has the distinction of winning the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. One of his best displays came at Old Trafford against Manchester United. His performance led legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson to praise his abilities. The midfielder’s stint at the Santiago Bernabeu saw him earning 165 La Liga appearances, with four goals to his name. 

The amazing Argentinian soccer player ended his career in 2004 at AC Milan, where he made 16 Serie A appearances. As for his international career, the defensive midfielder earned 29 caps with a goal to his name. He represented the national team in the 1994 World Cup and was also part of the team that won the 1992 King Fahd Cup and the 1993 Copa America. 

10- Hernan Crespo

Another name that is a must in the list of best Argentinian soccer players of all time is Hernan Crespo. 

Crespo emerged from River Plate’s academy and earned his competitive debut in 1993. He made 62 league appearances for his side over the following years, with 24 goals to his name. The striker moved to Italy in 1996, joining the famous club Parma. He posted impressive numbers for the Italian outfit, finding the net 62 times from 116 league games. 

In 2000, Crespo signed for Lazio, who spent a record £35 million for the deal. The Argentine footballer scored a respectable haul of goals but the club’s financial problems forced them to sell him to Inter Milan in 2002. 

Crespo was transferred to Chelsea in 2003 for a fee reported to be around £16m. His stint at the West London side saw him racking up 73 appearances across all competitions. He found the back of the net on 25 occasions during that time. 

The Argentinian also went on to play for AC Milan and Genoa but ended his career at Parma in 2012. He was hailed as a prolific striker who scored over 300 goals in a career spanning 19 years. 

Crespo was also a consistent performer at international level for Argentina. He netted 35 goals in 64 appearances for the national side. That made him the fourth-highest goalscorer for his country, only behind Aguero, Batistuta, and Messi. 

The player-turned-manager also represented Argentina in three World Cups. He played in the 1998, 2002, and 2006 editions of the prestigious tournament. The centre-forward was also top scorer in the 2000-01 Serie A with an incredible 26 goals. 

11- Ubaldo Fillol 

Nicknamed El Pato, Ubaldo Fillol is also a big name in Argentine football. He played as a goalkeeper but also turned to management after his retirement. 

Fillol, regarded as one of the best Argentinian soccer players of all time, spent most of his club career playing for clubs in his home country. Quilmes was his first club where he played between 1965 and 1971. He landed a move to Racing Club in 1971, featuring in 59 league matches. The player subsequently joined River Plate, a club where he went on to spend most of his career.  

The goalkeeper also had brief stints at Argentinos Juniors and Flamengo. He also played for a season at La Liga giants Atletico Madrid. 

Fillol also represented Argentina in three World Cups, namely the 1974, 1978, and 1982 editions. He also took part in the South American qualifiers for the 1986 World Cup but eventually wasn’t named in the team that won in Mexico. 

12- Javier Zanetti 

Javier Zanetti is considered one of the best Argentinian soccer players of all time as well as the best players of his generation. He was highly rated for his versatility and adeptness on both the flanks. 

Zanetti began his career in his home country with Talleres before switching to Banfield. He played for Inter Milan between 1995 and 2014. His importance grew over the years and he served as the team’s captain from 2001 to 2014. 

Zanetti has the distinction of being among the players with the most official appearances as he played in over 1,110 matches. He also holds the record of being the foreign footballer with the most Serie A appearances. The Argentine is only behind Gianluigi Buffon,  Paolo Maldini, and Francesco Totti in terms of most appearances in the Italian league. 

The great Argentinian soccer player also holds the record for the most trophies won with Inter. During his time at the San Siro, he bagged five Scudetti, four Coppa Italia, and four Supercoppa Italian. The great winger also landed the Champions League during his time at the club. He also has the most appearances as captain in the Champions League. 

Zanetti also earned an incredible 145 caps for the Argentina national team. That made him the third player with the most appearances in the history of the team. He was part of the La Albiceleste team that made it to the final of the Copa America in 2004 and 2007. 

13- Carlos Tevez 

Carlos Tevez has now transitioned into coaching, currently coaching the Primera Division club Independiente. He was praised for his versatility and impressive goal-scoring ability. Hailed as one of the best Argentinian soccer players of all time, Tevez was quick and powerful and could play as a striker, winger as well as an attacking midfielder. 

Boca Juniors was the club where he first started his senior career. He was very successful with the club, winning the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup. 

The Argentine then moved to Brazil, joining the club Corinthians. He also enjoyed a great stint at the club, winning the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. His performances for the Brazilian outfit attracted the attention of Premier League side West Ham United. 

The Hammers secured his signature in 2006, and he went on to score seven goals in 26 league matches. He was subsequently loaned out to Manchester United, a club where he made 99 senior appearances and netted 34 goals. 

Tevez joined the Red Devils’ arch-rivals Manchester City in 2009, something which rarely happens in football. He made a great impact at the Etihad Stadium. He helped his side win the Premier League title in the 2010-11 season. In 113 appearances in the English top-flight, the Argentine found the back of the net on 58 occasions. 

The great Argentinian soccer player landed a move to Juventus in 2013 and enjoyed a successful stint at the club. He won two Scudetti as well as other trophies during his time in Turin. The amazing forward returned to Boca Juniors in 2015, but after a season headed to China to join Shanghai Shenhua. He again returned to Boca for a third spell in 2018. After winning two Primera Division titles, he announced his retirement from football in 2022

14- Javier Mascherano

Modern football fans are likely to have heard the name Javier Mascherano, widely regarded as one of the best Argentinian soccer players. He has also now switched to coaching like Tevez, but he was one of the best players during his time.

Javier Mascherano started at River Plate before moving to Corinthians in 2005. He then headed to West Ham United, where he made only five league appearances before joining Merseyside giants Liverpool. He played at Anfield between 2007 and 2010, during which featured in 94 Premier League matches and scored a goal.

Barcelona snapped him up in 2010 and he stayed at the Camp Nou until 2018. His time at the club was highly successful. He won five La Liga titles as well as two Champions League trophies during his time at the Blaugrana. The great Argentine soccer player also had stints at Hebei China Fortune and Estudiantes before calling time on his career.

Mascherano made an incredible 147 appearances for Argentina, with three goals to his name. He has the distinction of being the second most-capped player in the country’s history, only behind Lionel Messi.

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