The 10 Best Argentine Players in History of Football

Best Argentine Players in History. Argentina is one of the biggest countries in world football. With many legendary players throughout history, the country has been able to shine on the international scene. Players such as Maradona or Messi are often part of the discussions around the title of the best player of all time. 

The country has 17 participants in the final stages of the World Cup, 5 finals, and 2 titles to its credit. Argentina has also enjoyed plenty of continental success, with 28 Copa América finals, 14 of which won by the Albiceleste. It is therefore one of the most influential nations in world football.

Top 10 Best Argentine Players in History

Here is the ranking of the best Argentine players of all time

10. Javier Zanetti

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Full Name Javier Adelmar Zanetti
Position(s) Full back, Defensive Midfielder

Javier Zanetti is a legendary full-back for Inter Milan and the Argentina team. A tireless player, he is intractable defensively in addition to participating in the game of his team. He is a very complete defender, who can play in many positions. His preferred position remains right-back, and he is also part of our ranking of the best full-backs in history.

After beginnings at the club of Talleres and Banfield in Argentina, Zanetti joined Inter Milan in 1995 and remained there for the rest of his career. With his favorite club, the Argentinian defender has won numerous trophies.

We can notably mention 5 Serie A titles, 4 times the Italian Cup, a UEFA Cup in 1998, and especially the Champions League in 2010. With 858 games for Inter, he is the most capped player in the history of the club.

With the Argentina team, Zanetti does not know exactly the same success. Nevertheless, he remains one of the best Argentine players of all time, with 145 caps to his credit. Twice a Copa America finalist in 2004 and 2007, he failed to win a major title with the national team.

9. Claudio Caniggia

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Full Name Claudio Paul Caniggia
Position(s) Forward, Winger

Claudio Caniggia is one of the greatest strikers in the history of Argentina. He is a player with phenomenal speed, able to outrun any defender. Playing at the forefront of the attack or on the wings, he is also a technical and decisive player in front of a goal. Caniggia is quite simply one of the best Argentine players in history.

The player made his debut at River Plate at the age of 18 and quickly won his first titles, the championship, and the Copa Libertadores in 1986. Claudio Caniggia will then go through many European clubs, such as Hellas Verona, Atlanta Bergamo, AS Roma, or even Benfica.

He returned to Argentina with Boca Juniors in 1995, crowned by 2 new Argentine champion titles. Caniggia is also a legend in the Argentina national team. He played 50 games for his team between 1987 and 2002 and scored 16 times.

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The striker is best known for his duet with Maradona in the 1990 World Cup. Argentina reached the final, but Caniggia was suspended and the Albiceleste lost to Germany. He still won Copa America in 1991.

8. Ubaldo Fillol

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Full Name Ubaldo Matildo Fillol
Position(s) Goalkeeper

Ubaldo Fillol is certainly the best goalkeeper that Argentina has ever known. Despite his small size for a goalkeeper (1.77m), he is very lively on his line and has a good trigger. He is an authoritative goalkeeper who does not hesitate to come into contact with opposing attackers.

The young goalkeeper is making his debut with the Quilmes club in Argentina. After a short stint at Racing Club, he joined River Plate, where he will remain for 10 seasons. Fillol won the national championship 7 times there, before trying his luck abroad.

His attempts at Flamengo in Brazil and Atlético Madrid will not be conclusive and he will return to finish his career in Argentina. Ubaldo Fillol is the greatest goalkeeper of the national team of Argentina.

He took part in three World Cups, especially that of 1978, which he won alongside Kempes and Passarella. Fillol will even be elected the best goalkeeper of the competition. We can therefore say that Ubaldo Fillol is one of the best Argentine players of all time.

7. Omar Sivori

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Full Name Enrique Omar Sívori
Position(s) Forward

Omar Sívori is an Argentinian striker and a Juventus and Napoli legend. An exceptional dribbler and formidable striker, he was not the fastest player but his control of the ball was incredible.

Sívori is a genius at dribbling, dribbling and above all with the small bridge, a gesture with which he has ridiculed many defenders during his career. He undoubtedly has his place among the best Argentine players of all time.

The young Argentinian player began his career with River Plate, where he won the championship 3 times in 4 seasons at the club. He then joined Juventus in Turin and revealed his talent in Europe.

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Omar Sívori won numerous titles with Juventus, including 3 times the Serie A and 3 times the Italian Cup. He will end his career with 4 seasons in Naples. Sívori will know very few selections with Argentina.

He will only play 19 games between 1956 and 1957 for 9 goals. This will be enough for him to allow Argentina to win the Copa América in 1957. In 1961, he is naturalized Italian and will only play for the Italian team thereafter. His naturalization will also allow him to win the Ballon d’Or in 1961, which was only awarded to European players at that time.

6. Gabriel Batistuta

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Full Name Gabriel Omar Batistuta
Position(s) Forward

Gabriel Batistuta is an Argentinian international player and surely one of the best strikers of the 90s. A veritable fox on the surfaces, he had a well above average sense of goal and impressive ball-to-foot skills.

His sense of placement, his heading game, his overpowered strike, and his quality of finishing justify the fact that he is in this ranking of the best Argentine players in history.

The young Argentine prodigy made his debut with Newell’s Old Boys, before spending a season at River Plate, then a season with Boca Juniors, where he won the Argentine championship. Batistuta will then leave for Fiorentina in Italy.

After a difficult start, he exploded and allowed his club to win the Italian Cup and the Italian Supercup while scoring 207 goals in 333 games. He will then go through AS Roma, where he won Serie A and a new Italian Supercup.

Gabriel Batistuta also has several successes with his selection. He notably won the Copa America twice in 1991 and 1993, and also the Confederations Cup in 1992. With 56 goals in 78 games, he is the second top scorer in the history of the selection after Lionel Messi.

5. Daniel Passarella

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Full Name Daniel Alberto Passarella
Position(s) Center-back, Sweeper

Daniel Passarella is certainly the best Argentine defender of all time. A physical player and rough defender, he was often the leader of his defense. In addition to his defensive qualities, Passarella was a player who loved to score, as evidenced by his 165 goals throughout his career.

His ability to defend and be an attacking threat made him one of the best center-backs of all time. After debuting with the Sarmiento club in Argentina, he joined the great River Plate and very quickly became a pillar of the club’s defense.

Passarella notably won the national championship 6 times, before joining Fiorentina, then Inter Milan. He will return to Argentina for his final season, with River Plate. But Daniel Passarella is even better known for his role in the national team. He won the first World Cup for Argentina in 1978, as captain.

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The defender will even be the only Argentinian to win a second World Cup in 1986, even if he does not play any match in the final phase. We can therefore easily say that Passarella is one of the best Argentine players in history.

4. Mario Kempes

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Full Name Mario Alberto Kempes Chiodi
Position(s) Striker

Mario Kempes is an Argentinian footballer who played for several clubs in South America and Europe. Long before Maradona, he enchanted the Argentine public with his talent and his many goals. Kempes was a striker with unparalleled efficiency in his day.

Passed by many clubs throughout his career, his most notable stints remaining those at Rosario Central, River Plate, and Valencia. After being the top scorer in the Argentine championship twice with the Rosario club, Kempes joined Valencia in Spain.

He has twice crowned top scorer in the championship again and won the Spanish Cup, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and the European Super Cup. Mario Kempes is also and above all a legend of the Argentine national team. He is undoubtedly one of the best Argentine players in history.

Eight years before Maradona’s coronation in 1978, he allowed Argentina to win their first World Cup. Kempes finished top scorer and was even voted the competition’s best player.

3. Alfredo Di Stefano

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Full Name Mario Alberto Kempes Chiodi
Position(s) Striker

Alfredo Di Stéfano is certainly one of the best players of the 50s and 60s. Real Madrid’s emblematic player during its domination of European football, was an exceptional goalscorer. But Di Stéfano was much more than just a scorer, he organized his team’s attacking play, despite the fact that he was not an attacking midfielder.

The young Argentinian made his debut with River Plate, where he won the Argentinian championship twice. He spent 3 seasons at Los Millionaros in Colombia and won the championship 3 more times.

It was in 1953 that he joined Real Madrid and he remained there for 11 seasons. Di Stéfano won 8 times La Liga with Real, and especially the first 5 editions of the Champions League between 1956 and 1960.

Alfredo Di Stéfano won only one title with the Argentina national team, the Copa América in 1947. He only knows 6 selections for 6 goals with his native country. In 1957, he was naturalized Spanish and played for the Spanish team.

Di Stéfano scored 23 goals in 31 games for Spain but failed to win any trophies. He also won the Ballon d’Or twice, in 1957 and 1959.

2. Lionel Messi

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Full Name Lionel Andrés Messi
Position(s) Forward

Lionel Messi is a great FC Barcelona legend and an Argentinian international player. A great magician of the round ball, he marked a whole generation with his technical gestures and his many goals. Very fast and endowed with an excellent vision of the game, he is one of the best wingers of all time

Messi is both an exceptional passer and an extraordinary scorer. Trained at FC Barcelona, ​​the Argentine player is a pure product of the Catalan training center. Since 2004, he has appeared in 778 games for Barca and scored 672 goals, making him one of the top scorers in football history. 

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 Lionel Messi has won an impressive number of titles with his club, including 10 times La Liga, 6 times the King’s Cup, and 4 times the Champions League. With the national team of Argentina, the balance sheet of “La Pulga” is a little more mixed. 

He cannot reach the level he has in the club when he evolves with his selection, but he still wins Copa America in 2021 as his first major international title. Messi also reached the World Cup final in 2014, but Argentina lost to Germany. He remains one of the best Argentine players of all time.

1. Diego Maradona

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Full Name Diego Armando Maradona
Position(s) The Attacking Midfielder, Second Striker

Diego Armando Maradona is certainly the best Argentinian player of all time. A true legend in Argentina, he also became famous in Europe after his time in Naples in particular. Maradona was an incredible technician, among the best dribblers of all time.

In addition to his speed and agility, he was also an exceptional goalscorer, capable of scoring in any situation. After his successful debut in Argentina, where he notably won the championship with Boca Juniors, he joined FC Barcelona.

Despite good performances, the results are not there and Maradona decides to leave for Napoli. The famous number 10 will allow Naples to win its first Serie A title in its history. He even won the UEFA Cup, the club’s first and only major European trophy.

But Maradona is surely best known for bringing Argentina to the top of world football. The Argentinian player, who is also one of the best-attacking midfielders in history, won the World Cup in 1986, before reaching the final again 4 years later. He also won the Copa América in 1989 and has a total of 34 goals in 91 caps.

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