The 10 Best Argentine Players in History

Best Argentine Players in History: Argentina is definitely a country that is looked up to when it comes to football, both in the past and present. They have had many amazing players throughout history and have done well in international competitions. Players like Maradona and Messi are often talked about as some of the greatest players ever. Argentina has been in the World Cup 17 times, reached the finals 5 times, and won the tournament twice. They have also been very successful in the Copa América, winning it 14 times out of the 28 finals they have played. Overall, Argentina is a very influential country in football.

The ongoing debate about the greatest soccer player of all time often includes Maradona and Messi in the top 2 for most fans of the sport. Argentina has produced a long list of players who have made their mark in history, representing their national team and performing exceptionally well at the club level.

The Best Argentine Players in History

We’re choosing the top 10 Argentine players ever, considering their performance for the Argentine National Team (like stats and titles) and also their success at both domestic and international clubs.

10. Javier Mascherano

  • Full Name: Javier Alejandro Mascherano
  • Date of Birth: 8 June 1984 (age 38)
  • Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
  • Position(s): Centre-back, defensive midfielder

Javier Mascherano is the first player on our list of the best Argentine players. He made a name for himself as both a midfielder and defender and showed exceptional talent from a young age while playing in the youth teams of River Plate.

Currently, he holds the record as the second player with the most appearances for the Argentina national team, having played in 147 games. Mascherano experienced his greatest moments at FC Barcelona, where he played from 2011 to 2018. During his time there, he won an impressive total of 19 titles and played a crucial role in many of those victories.

He is considered one of the key players who contributed to Barcelona’s greatest successes and achievements.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
2003–20181473

Honours At Argentina:

FIFA World Cup runner-up 2014
Copa América runner-up 2004, 2007, 2015, 2016
Olympic Gold Medal2004, 2008
CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament2004

9. Javier Zanetti

  • Full Name: Javier Adelmar Zanetti
  • Date of Birth: 10 August 1973 (age 49)
  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Full-back, Defensive midfielder

Javier Zanetti was a talented player who excelled as both a right-back and midfielder. He gained recognition early in his career at Inter Milan, where he played from 1995 until his retirement in 2014. Zanetti holds the record for being the third player with the most appearances in the history of the Argentina national team, although he has recently been surpassed by Lionel Messi.

Javier Zanetti played as a full-back for Inter Milan and the Argentina national team. He was known for his strong defensive skills and active involvement in his team’s gameplay. Zanetti was a versatile defender who could play in various positions, but he was primarily a right-back. He is considered one of the best full-backs in history.

Zanetti began his career at clubs like Tallares and Banfield in Argentina before joining Inter Milan in 1995. He stayed with Inter Milan for the rest of his career and achieved great success with the club. He won several trophies, including 5 Serie A titles, 4 Italian Cups, a UEFA Cup in 1998, and notably the Champions League in 2010. Zanetti holds the record for the most appearances for Inter, having played 858 games.

While Zanetti didn’t achieve the same level of success with the Argentina national team, he is still considered one of the greatest Argentine players ever. He earned 145 caps for the national team but couldn’t win a major title. He reached the finals of the Copa America in 2004 and 2007 but fell short of winning the tournament.

Although Zanetti didn’t win any major titles with the Argentina national team, his impact and skill are widely acknowledged, especially in his position. He played a crucial role in Inter Milan’s significant achievements, most notably in winning the Champions League under the management of José Mourinho.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1994–20111455

Honours At Argentina:

Pan American Games1995

8. Ubaldo Fillol

  • Full Name: Ubaldo Matildo Fillol
  • Date of Birth: 21 July 1950 (age 72)
  • Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11+1⁄2 in)
  • Position(s): Goalkeeper

In our ranking, the eighth spot belongs to a player who is often overlooked in discussions about the greatest goalkeepers in football history. Ubaldo Fillol was an exceptional goalkeeper who had a unique style and was considered one of the best in the world during his time. Unfortunately, his name is not as commonly mentioned when discussing the best goalkeepers overall.

Despite being relatively small for a goalkeeper, standing at 1.77 meters, he possesses great agility and has a strong presence on the goal line. Fillol is a commanding goalkeeper who fearlessly engages with opposing attackers.

Fillol began his career at Quilmes club in Argentina, making his debut as a young goalkeeper. He later had a brief stint at Racing Club before joining River Plate, where he played for 10 seasons. During his time at River Plate, Fillol won the national championship an impressive seven times. He then ventured abroad, playing for Flamengo in Brazil and Atlético Madrid, although his experiences there were not as successful, leading him to return to Argentina to finish his career.

Fillol’s accomplishments extend to the national team as well, as he participated in three World Cups, most notably the 1978 tournament, which Argentina won with the contributions of players like Mario Kempes and Daniel Passarella. Fillol was even recognized as the best goalkeeper of the competition. Overall, Ubaldo Fillol is considered one of the greatest Argentine players of all time, particularly in the goalkeeper position.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1974–1985580

Honours At Argentina:

FIFA World Cup1978

7. Juan Roman Riquelme

  • Full Name: Juan Román Riquelme
  • Date of Birth: 24 June 1978 (age 44)
  • Height: 1.82 m (5 ft 11+1⁄2 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder

Juan Román Riquelme was a player who brought joy to the world of football with his mesmerizing skills on the field. He was a pivotal figure for Boca Juniors Athletic Club during the early 2000s when the team garnered global attention.

Riquelme is widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of Boca Juniors. He played a vital role in the club’s success at both continental and international levels, particularly under the guidance of coach Carlos Bianchi.

Although Riquelme didn’t win an official title with the Argentina national team, apart from the Olympic Gold, he is still considered one of the best Argentine players to have ever represented the country. His remarkable talent and contributions to the sport have solidified his legacy in the albiceleste jersey.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1997–20085117

Honours At Argentina:

Summer Olympics 2008
FIFA Confederations CupRunner-up 2005
Copa América2022Runner-up 2007

6. Daniel Passarella

  • Full Name: Daniel Alberto Passarella
  • Date of Birth: 25 May 1953 (age 69)
  • Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Position(s): Centre-back, sweeper

Daniel Passarella is widely regarded as the greatest Argentine defender of all time. He was known for his physicality and tough defending, often taking on the leadership role in his team’s defense. In addition to his defensive prowess, Passarella had a knack for scoring goals, tallying an impressive 165 goals throughout his career. His ability to excel in both defense and attack solidified his status as one of the best center-backs in football history.

Passarella began his career at the Sarmiento club in Argentina before joining the renowned River Plate. He quickly became a cornerstone of River Plate’s defense, winning the national championship six times. He then had stints at Fiorentina and Inter Milan before returning to Argentina for his final season, playing for River Plate once again.

Passarella is perhaps best known for his contributions to the Argentina national team. He captained the team to their first World Cup victory in 1978. Notably, he is the only Argentine player to have won a second World Cup in 1986, even though he did not participate in any matches during the final phase. It is clear that Passarella is rightfully considered one of the greatest Argentine players in history.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1976–19867022

Honours At Argentina:

FIFA World Cup1978, 1986

5. Gabriel Batistuta

  • Full Name: Gabriel Omar Batistuta
  • Date of Birth: 1 February 1969 (age 54)
  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

Gabriel Batistuta was one of the top strikers during the 1990s. He possessed exceptional goal-scoring instincts, impressive ball control, and remarkable skills on the field. His ability to find the right positions, his strong heading game, powerful shots, and excellent finishing skills justify his inclusion in the list of the best Argentine players in history.

As a young talent, Batistuta started his career with Newell’s Old Boys before playing for one season each at River Plate and Boca Juniors, where he won the Argentine championship. He then moved to Italy to join Fiorentina. Although he faced initial difficulties, he soon thrived and helped his club secure victories in the Italian Cup and the Italian Supercup, while scoring an impressive 207 goals in 333 games. Later, he joined AS Roma, where he won the Serie A title and another Italian Supercup.

Batistuta also achieved success with the Argentine national team. He notably won the Copa America twice in 1991 and 1993 and also secured victory in the Confederations Cup in 1992. With 56 goals in 78 games, he is the second-highest goal-scorer in the history of the national team, second only to Lionel Messi.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1991–20097856

Honours At Argentina:

Copa América1991, 1993
Kirin Cup1992
FIFA Confederations Cup1992
CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions1993

4. Mario Kempes

  • Full Name: Mario Alberto Kempes Chiodi
  • Date of Birth: 15 July 1954 (age 68)
  • Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Striker, attacking midfielder

Mario Kempes is a famous Argentine footballer who played for many clubs in South America and Europe. He was loved by the Argentine people for his amazing talent and ability to score many goals. Kempes was a striker and was really good at it.

During his career, Kempes played for different teams, but his most important times were at Rosario Central, River Plate, and Valencia. He was the leading scorer in the Argentine championship two times while playing for Rosario. Later, he joined Valencia in Spain and became the top scorer in the league twice. He also won the Spanish Cup, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and the European Super Cup with Valencia.

Mario Kempes is considered a legend of the Argentine national team and is one of the greatest Argentine players ever. He played a crucial role in Argentina winning their first World Cup eight years before Maradona’s famous victory in 1978. Kempes not only scored the most goals in the tournament but was also voted the best player in the competition.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1973–19824320

Honours At Argentina:

FIFA World Cup1978

3. Alfredo Di Stefano

  • Full Name: Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé
  • Date of Birth: 4 July 1926
  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Forward, attacking midfielder

Don Alfredo Di Stefano is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of football. However, there is some controversy regarding his nationality. While he was born in Argentina, he also played for the Spanish national team and is considered the best Spanish player of the 20th century.

Alfredo Di Stéfano stood out in the 1950s and 1960s. He played for Real Madrid and was a key figure in their dominance of European football. Not only was he an exceptional goal scorer, but he also played a crucial role in organizing his team’s attacks, even though he wasn’t specifically an attacking midfielder.

Di Stéfano began his career with River Plate in Argentina, where he won the Argentinian championship two times. He then played for Los millionarios in Colombia for three seasons and won the championship there three more times. In 1953, he joined Real Madrid and stayed with the club for 11 seasons. During his time at Real Madrid, Di Stéfano won the La Liga title eight times and notably helped the team win the first five editions of the Champions League between 1956 and 1960. He is also considered one of the greatest players in the history of Real Madrid.

Although Di Stéfano achieved remarkable success at the club level, his international achievements were limited. He won only one title with the Argentina national team, the Copa América in 1947. He represented Argentina six times and scored six goals. In 1957, he became a naturalized Spanish citizen and played for the Spanish national team. Di Stéfano scored 23 goals in 31 games for Spain but did not win any trophies with them. He was recognized for his individual excellence by winning the Ballon d’Or award twice, in 1957 and 1959.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
194766

Honours At Argentina:

South American Championship1947

2. Diego Maradona

  • Full Name: Diego Armando Maradona
  • Date of Birth: 30 October 1960
  • Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder, second striker

Diego Armando Maradona is undoubtedly the greatest Argentine player of all time, and his fame extended beyond Argentina to Europe, especially during his time in Naples. Maradona was an exceptional technician, widely regarded as one of the best dribblers in the history of the sport. His speed, agility, and scoring ability were truly exceptional.

Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Lanús, Buenos Aires, Argentina, He came from a family with a strong passion for the game. Among his seven brothers, only three of them achieved prominence in professional football.

Maradona’s journey in football began in a modest and typical manner for a boy from Lanús. He started playing for Argentinos Juniors at a very young age and made his debut for the club at the remarkable age of 16 on October 20, 1976. Right from the start, he displayed his exceptional talent.

At the age of 17, Maradona was considered for the 1978 World Cup squad but was ultimately not chosen due to his young age. However, he was given opportunities to represent Argentina in the youth team and made his official debut for the senior national team in 1979, contributing to a 3-1 victory against Scotland.

Maradona became a prominent figure in Argentine football, notably achieving success with Boca Juniors and delivering impressive performances in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. His time at SSC Napoli also showcased his exceptional abilities, playing a crucial role in the club’s achievements.

However, it was during the 1986 World Cup that Maradona cemented his legendary status. He was the key player in Argentina’s triumph, and he scored what is widely regarded as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. Throughout his international career, he became the fifth-highest goal scorer for the national team, netting 34 goals in 91 games.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
1977–19949134

Honours At Argentina:

FIFA World Cup1986
Artemio Franchi Cup1993

NOTE

Maradona passed away recently and has rightfully claimed the title of the God of Soccer. Countless tributes have been dedicated to him, with a notable one organized by the mayor’s office in Naples. Additionally, it has been announced that the San Paolo Stadium will be renamed in his honor.


1. Lionel Messi

  • Full Name: Lionel Andrés Messi
  • Date of Birth: 24 June 1987 (age 35)
  • Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
  • Position(s): Forward, attacking midfielder

Lionel Messi is a legendary player for FC Barcelona and a prominent figure in the Argentine national team. He has mesmerized a generation with his skillful ball control and impressive goal-scoring abilities. Known for his speed and exceptional vision on the field, Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest wingers in football history. Not only is he an exceptional playmaker, but he is also an extraordinary goal-scorer.

Lionel Andrés Messi was born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. He is known as the number 10 and has spent his entire career at FC Barcelona in Spain until he joined PSG in the summer of 2021 after not renewing his contract with Barcelona.

Messi’s journey with Barcelona began at a young age when the club agreed to cover the expenses of his growth hormone treatments, as he had a deficiency that affected his height. As the years went by, he became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer.

Since his debut in 2004, he has played in 778 games for Barca and scored a staggering 672 goals, placing him among the top scorers in the history of the sport. Throughout his career, Messi has achieved numerous titles with the club, including 10 La Liga titles, 6 King’s Cups, and 4 Champions League titles.

Despite having the option to play for Spain, Messi chose to represent his home country, Argentina. He currently holds the record for the most goals scored for the Argentine national team. He is also the player with the most appearances in the history of the national team.

Messi’s achievements with the Argentina national team are equally remarkable. While he initially faced some challenges, he finally clinched his first major international title by winning the Copa America in 2021. Additionally, he reached the World Cup final in 2014, where Argentina narrowly lost to Germany, but he eventually secured the trophy in 2022 with a crucial brace in the final. Messi’s contributions to the national team solidify his status as one of the greatest Argentine players of all time.

With seven Ballon d’Or awards, four UEFA Champions League titles, and numerous other titles, Messi is widely regarded as the best player in the history of FC Barcelona.

After winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2021 Copa América, Lionel Messi has solidified his status as not only the best player in Argentina’s history but also the best player in the world.

Career Stats With Argentina:

YearAppGoals
2005– 174102

Honours At Argentina:

FIFA World Cup2022
Copa América2021
CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions2022

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