The 10 Best Paraguayan Players in History

Best Paraguayan Players in History: The Paraguayan national team has always had exceptional players that have made their mark not only at the regional level but also in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and across the entire continent. These players have left a lasting impact and earned their place among the best in the history of Paraguayan football.

Many of these players have also garnered international recognition, as they have showcased their skills in top leagues across Europe and the Americas. With this in mind, we have taken on the task of analyzing and identifying the top 10 players in the history of the Paraguayan national team, based on our own opinion.

Best Paraguayan Players in History

However, we acknowledge that our opinion is not set in stone, as we are not experts in Paraguayan soccer. We welcome a respectful debate in the comments section, where you can share your thoughts on who you believe are the greatest players in the history of the Albirroja.

10. Nelson Valdez

  • Full Name: Nelson Antonio Haedo Valdez
  • Date of Birth: 28 November 1983
  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

The player who kicks off our ranking of the best Paraguayan soccer players in history is Nelson Haedo Valdez. This talented striker recently retired this year and was a prominent figure in the previous generation of Paraguayan footballers. He played a crucial role in the Paraguayan team that gave a tough challenge to Spain in the 2010 World Cup and reached the final of the Copa América in 2011.

Haedo Valdez had a successful career in Europe, particularly in Germany, where he made a name for himself at clubs like Werder Bremen and Dortmund before moving to Spain and playing for Hércules and Valencia. He ultimately retired in 2021, ending his career with Cerro Porteño. For the Paraguayan national team, Haedo Valdez scored an impressive 13 goals, placing him as the fourth highest goal scorer in the country’s history, alongside Julio César Romero and Saturnino Arrua.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
2004–20177713

9. José Cardozo

  • Full Name: José Saturnino Cardozo Otazú
  • Date of Birth: 19 March 1971
  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

Securing the ninth spot in our ranking is José Faustino Cardozo, who held the title of all-time leading goal scorer for his team until his retirement in 2006. This striker, known as the “Greater Devil,” primarily had a successful career in his native Paraguay, but also had brief stints with clubs in Argentina and Chile.

However, Cardozo’s most notable period was in Mexico, specifically with Toluca, where he achieved an impressive five titles. With the Paraguayan national team, he scored a total of 25 goals, making him the second highest goal scorer in the team’s history. Additionally, Cardozo earned 84 appearances for the Albirroja, ranking him as the ninth player with the most matches played for the Paraguayan national team.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
1991–20068225

8. Cayetano Re

  • Full Name: Cayetano Ré Ramírez
  • Date of Birth: 7 February 1938
  • Height: 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

In eighth place, we have Cayetano Ré, a player who started his career in 1956 with Cerro Porteño. He went on to have a successful career in Spain, where he is remembered as one of the prominent stars of Paraguayan soccer.

During his time in Spain, Cayetano Ré played for notable clubs such as FC Barcelona, Elche, Espanyol, Terrassa, and Badalona. He made a name for himself and left a lasting impression as a talented player in the country. Ré eventually retired from professional football in 1973, concluding his journey with Badalona.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
2004–2017114

7. Justo Villar

  • Full Name: Justo Wilmar Villar Viveros
  • Date of Birth: 30 June 1977
  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Position(s): Goalkeeper

In seventh place, we have Justo Villar, a notable goalkeeper who represented the Paraguayan national team for many years. He was a key figure in the previous generation of Paraguayan football and highly regarded as a reference for the team. With an impressive 120 appearances for the national team, Villar holds the second position for the most appearances in Paraguayan football history.

Villar’s skills and contributions have left a lasting impression not only in Paraguay but also in other countries where he played. He is well-remembered for his performances in the Argentine Professional League while playing for Libertad and Newell’s, as well as in the Chilean league during his time with Colo-Colo. His notable interventions have earned him a strong reputation in these footballing nations.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
1999–20181200

6. Paulo Da Silva

  • Full Name: Paulo César da Silva Barrios
  • Date of Birth: 1 February 1980
  • Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Centre-back

In sixth place, we have Paulo César Da Silva, a highly respected central defender. He is often referred to as “El Gondolier” and played a crucial role in the previous generation of Paraguayan soccer players. Da Silva holds the record for the most appearances in the history of the Paraguayan national team, with a remarkable 150 matches played between 2000 and 2017.

Throughout his career, Da Silva showcased his talents at various clubs around the world. He particularly stood out during his time at Lanus, Real Zaragoza, and Toluca in Mexico. His consistent performances and defensive prowess made him an integral part of Paraguayan football history.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
2000–20171503

5. Romerito

  • Full Name: Julio César Romero Insfrán
  • Date of Birth: 28 August 1960
  • Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder

The first player on our list of the top five Paraguayan players in history is Julio César Romero. He was born in 1957 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players from Paraguay. What makes him special is not just his goal-scoring ability, but also his incredible talent and vision for the game as a midfielder.

During his career, Romero represented the Paraguayan national team and scored an impressive 13 goals in 32 games. This places him fourth in the all-time goal-scoring list, alongside Haedo Valdez and Saturnino Arrúa. Romero also had the opportunity to play for renowned clubs such as Fluminense in Brazil and even joined FC Barcelona in 1989.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
1979–19906426

4. Óscar Cardozo

  • Full Name: Óscar René Cardozo Marín
  • Date of Birth: 20 May 1983
  • Height: 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

When discussing the notable strikers of the Paraguayan national team, it’s impossible to overlook Óscar “Tacuara” Cardozo. He played a crucial role in the team’s journey to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup and the final of the 2011 Copa América. Currently, Cardozo stands as the seventh highest goalscorer for the Paraguayan team, having netted 12 goals in 54 games.

As he is still an active player at the age of 38, these numbers may continue to increase in the future, as he remains a key figure in the Paraguayan team. On the international stage, Cardozo is also revered as a legend at Benfica, where he played from 2007 to 2014 and won an impressive total of 8 trophies with the Eagles.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
2006–20215612

3. Rock Santa Cruz

  • Full Name: Roque Luis Santa Cruz Cantero
  • Date of Birth: 16 August 1981
  • Height: 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

Moving on to the final position, we have Roque Santa Cruz, a remarkable striker who is currently 40 years old and still actively playing. Unfortunately, he retired from the Paraguayan national team in 2016, ending his journey with the team.

In terms of achievements, Roque Santa Cruz has undoubtedly left a lasting mark on the history of Paraguayan football, particularly with the national team. He holds the record for the most goals scored for Paraguay, with a total of 32 goals in 112 games, solidifying his position as the all-time leading scorer for the team.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
1999–201611232

2. Jose Luis Chilavert

  • Full Name: José Luis Félix Chilavert González
  • Date of Birth: 27 July 1965 (age 57)
  • Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
  • Position(s): Goalkeeper

In second place, we have José Luis Chilavert, a highly skilled goalkeeper and one of the best in history. He gained recognition as the best goalkeeper of the 20th century and received numerous individual awards, solidifying his status as a legend in South American football. Chilavert represented the Paraguayan national team as their goalkeeper an impressive 74 times. What’s even more remarkable is that he scored a total of 8 goals while playing as a goalkeeper.

His ability to score goals set Chilavert apart. Throughout his career, he scored an incredible 102 goals, making him the highest-scoring goalkeeper of his time. Chilavert is well-remembered for his time in Spain, where he played for three seasons with Real Zaragoza. However, his most successful career was in Argentina, particularly with Vélez. He won four domestic titles and five international trophies, including the prestigious 1994 Copa Libertadores.

International Career:

YearMatchesGoals
1989–2003748

1. Arsenio Erico, the best Paraguayan player

  • Full Name: Arsenio Pastor Erico Martínez
  • Date of Birth: 30 March 1915
  • Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
  • Position(s): Striker

Closing our rankings is Arsenio Pastor Erico Martínez, who many consider to be the best player in the history of the Paraguayan national team. FIFA, CONMEBOL, and various competitions also recognize him as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history.

Erico is a legendary figure at Club Atlético Independiente, where he played for almost a decade, with only two short breaks, from 1937 to 1946. He scored an impressive 295 goals while wearing the Avellaneda club’s jersey, making him a true soccer icon in Argentina.

There is some debate surrounding Erico’s goal-scoring record in the Argentine first division. Some records show him with two fewer goals than he actually scored. Nonetheless, Arsenio Erico has secured his place in the history books as a legendary figure in world soccer.

Career Stats:

YearMatchesGoals
International1933–1934?1
Club334295

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