Football (fútbol) is the most popular recreational sport in Argentina. It has the most number of players relative to the population. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of Argentineans consider themselves loyal to an Argentinian football club. Soccer plays a significant role in the lives of many Argentineans. Case in point: whenever the Argentina National Football Team plays – especially during the World Cup – streets tend to become deserted. When Argentina won the FIFA World Cup in 1978 and 1986, hinchas (fans) went out to the streets to celebrate the victory. The energy was said to be so palpable and intense that even non-fans joined in the public celebration.
Soccer was first introduced to Argentina by the British in the late 19th century. The first ever soccer match recorded on Argentina was on 20 June 1867 at Palermo, Buenos Aires and was played by two teams of British merchants – the White Caps versus the Red Caps. There were only eight players per team at that time.
The first Argentine league, Association Argentine Football League, was established by Thomas Hutton in 1891 making it the third oldest in the world. Five clubs competed in that league and they played for only one season. A new league, the Argentine Association Football League was formed in 1893, which eventually became the Argentine Football Association – the eighth oldest in the world.
The first official match played by the Argentina National Football Team was against Uruguay in 16 May 1901. Argentina took the victory and this marked the beginning of the futbol rivalry between these two nations.
As a football-loving nation, Argentina has produced some of the soccer greats that have been known the world over for their skills and individual contribution to the sport. Some of these names have become synonymous with soccer itself.
Osvaldo César Ardiles
Born on August 3, 1952, Ardiles’ career spanned different local clubs and was among the first non-Brits to make an impact in UK football. He was a member of the Argentine team in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, where the country won its first ever World Cup title. Ardiles had stints with Tottenham Hotspur, Queen’s Park Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and Fort Lauderdale Strikers, where he won an American Soccer League title.
Ardiles started his coaching career back in England in 1989 at Swindon Town. He also had coaching stints in Japan (Shimizu S-Pulse, Yokohama Marinos and Tokyo Verdy), Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Israel and with his old team, Huracán in 2007. He most recently coached Cerro Porteño in Paraguay.
Born April 26, 1949, Carlos Bianchi was one of the most consistent strikers in Argentina with Vélez Sarsfield. He has also played for Stade de Reims, Paris Saint Germain, as well as Racing Club Strasbourg. He then had a short stint back in Argentina to play for his old club Vélez Sarsfield until the end of his playing career.
After retiring, Bianchi became one of South America’s most successful coaches, having led Vélez Sarsfield, Boca Juniors and Atlético Madrid through various wins in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Born on April 14, 1973 in Paraná, Argentina, Roberto Ayala is considered one of the world’s best defenders. His senior career included stints with Ferro Carril Oeste and River Plate before playing the Argentine national team in 1994. He was also part of SSC Napoli, AC Milan, Valencia and Real Zaragoza.
Ayala was part of the Argentinian futbol team that represented Argentina in the World Cup in France in 1998, the Copa América in 1999, and the Athens Olympics in 2004. He retired from international futbol in 2007 where he helped Argentina reach the final game of the Copa América, having scored a goal for the team. He played for Real Zaragoza, helping the team win their promotion back into the top division in 2009.
Amadeo Raul Carrizo
Carrizo was born on June 12, 1926 in Rufino, Argentina. He was the first goalkeeper to wear gloves and was considered one of Argentina’s most durable and successful goalkeepers. He started his career with River Plate and was also recruited for the national team. By 1948, Carrizo was a first choice for the national team and remained a regular goalkeeper for River Plate for almost 20 years.
He was instrumental in River Plate’s five league titles from 1952 up to 1957, and then joined the Argentine World Cup team in 1958, although the team was eliminated in the first round. In December 1968 Carrizo played his last game for River Plate. He moved to Colombia to play for the Millionarios in Bogota for two seasons before deciding to retire in 1970.
Gabriel Omar Batistuta
Batistuta, born on February 1, 1969 at Reconquista, Argentina, is a prolific goal scorer. He had short stints with River Plate and Newell’s Old Boys before moving to Boca Juniors in 1990, which became the Closing Championship winner in 1991. Batistuta was called into the national team for the Copa América held in Chile in 1993, as well as the World Cups in 1994 and 1998.
Batistuta also had stints with Fiorentina, AS Roma, Internazionale and Al-Arabi, before retiring in 2005 due to injuries.
Alfredo di Stéfano
Alfredo di Stéfano, born in Barracas, Argentina on July 4, 1926 was a leading goal scorer, but also played different positions. His career included stints with River Plate, Huracán, Millionarios and Real Madrid. He retired from futbol in 1966 after playing for RCD Espanyol.
Di Stéfano then started his coaching career with Elche, then with Boca Juniors. He went back to Europe in 1970 to coach several teams, including Valencia, Castellón, Sporting Lisbon, Rayo Vallecano, River Plate and Real Madrid. He was later named an honorary club president of Real Madrid.
Diego Armando Maradona
One of the greatest futbol players of all time, Diego Maradona was born on October 30, 1960 in Lanus, Argentina. He debuted with the Argentinos Juniors and Boca Juniors, and played with Barcelona after the 1982 World Cup with a transfer fee of a then-record £5 million. Maradona also had stints with Napoli and Newell’s Old Boys.
Maradona became part of the Argentine World Cup Team in 1986, where he won the golden ball and Argentina won the FIFA World Cup. Maradona appeared in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups but injuries and drug problems affected his play, and he was not able to make an impact on the game. Maradona retired from club football in 1997, and has published an autobiography, Yo Soy El Diego in 2000.
The Argentina National Football Team represents Argentina in international association football and is controlled by the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino. As of July 2011, Argentina is ranked tenth in the FIFA World Rankings. The team has won the FIFA World Cup twice. The first was in 1978 where Argentina played host, during which they defeated the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time. They won their second title in 1986 against West Germany with a score of 3-2 in the finals. Argentina has also won the Copa America for a record fourteen times, the most in Copa America. This record is only matched by their rival, Uruguay.
Argentina is also the first winner of the FIFA Confederations Cup (then known as the King Fahd Cup) in 1992.
In the Olympics, Argentina won the gold against Paraguay in Athens 2004 and successfully defended against Nigeria in Beijing 2008 with a 1-0 in the final. These wins, together with their tournament wins in the FIFA World Cup and the Confederations Cup, make Argentina one of only two national teams to have won the three most significant men’s titles accredited by FIFA.
Juan Pablo Carrizo
Born May 6, 1984, Juan Pablo Carrizo first gained prominence with River Plate in 2006. As the goalkeeper, he kept a clean slate of 5-0 to score a victory against Tiro Federal. He contributed to River Plate’s national championship in the 2008 Clausura. He was the first choice goalkeeper for Società Sportiva Lazio by June 2008, but lost this position after a 1-4 defeat against Cagliari Calcio in January 2009.
Carrizo first played for the Argentinian National Team against Chile in April 2007. Carrizo was the first choice goalkeeper for Argentina in 2009, but lost this position to Mariano Andujar after a 1-6 loss to Bolivia.
Mariano Andujar, born July 30, 1983, is a goalkeeper for the Argentinian national futbol team of Argentina. He started at Huracán and had stints with U.S. Città di Palermo, Estudiantes de la Plata and Boca Juniors. Andujar holds the tournament record of 800 minutes without conceding a goal playing for La Plata for the Copa Libertadores in 2009.
That year, he joined the Argentinian national soccer team, and made his first clean slate on his debut against Colombia, winning 1-0. He was also selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He is currently signed with Calcio Catania for a four-year deal where he is seeded as first goalkeeper.
In 2005,18-year old Sergio Roman Romero was signed with Racing Club Avallenada. After a short stint with Racing Club, he was signed with Alkmaar Zaanstreek in the Netherlands for an estimated €1.5 million contract. He has made a total of eight clean sheet appearances since being Alkmaar Zaanstreek’s main goalkeeper. He was goalkeeper at the Argentine team when they won the gold in the Beijing Olympics 2008. He was also in the final squad for Argentina in the 2010 FIFA World Cup playing in all five of the team’s matches.
Ezekiel Garay, born October 10, 1986, is a defender for the national Argentine football team. He debuted with Newell’s Old Boys and had stints with Racing de Santander, Real Madrid and Sport Lisboa e Benefica.
Pablo Javier Zabaleta, born January 16, 1985, is a defender for the national team. A gold medalist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Zabaleta was also captain of the Argentina Under-20s team when they won the FIFA World Youth Championship. He also had stints with Espanyol and Manchester City.
Born on April 12, 1981, Burdisso started his professional career with Boca Juniors, and had stints with Internazionale and A.S. Roma. He was also in the Argentine Under-20 team that won the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, and part of the Argentine squad during the FIFA World Cups in 2006 and 2010.
Born September 7, 1980, Gabriel Milito started his professional career with Club Atlético Independiente in 1997, where he often faced against his older brother Diego. He also had stints with Real Zaragoza and Futbol Club Barcelona. His consistency and great sense of positioning made Milito a valuable player. However, he was sidelined for almost two years starting in 2008 when he acquired an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee.
Milito participated in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup with the Argentina National Football Team. He was also part of the squad that qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Born August 10, 1973, Javier Aldmar Zanetti is a versatile player skilled as a fullback and a winger on both the left and right wings, and has the most caps in the history of Argentina’s national team as a midfielder. Zanetti has helped earn his team Internazionale several trophies, including the Coppa Italia, the Scudetto, and the European Cup. He has participated in the 1996 Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and 2002.
Zanetti is also known for his charity work, including running a foundation that benefits disadvantaged children in Argentina, acting as FIFA’s SOS Children’s Villages Project Ambassador for Argentina, being the Special Olympics’ Global Ambassador and having co-founded the Leoni di Potrero charity association in Milan.
Nicolas Martin Pareja, born on January 19, 1984, is a defender for the national Argentine team. He started playing professionally with Argentinos Juniors and had stints with Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht and Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona. Pareja was part of the squad that claimed victory in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and was part of the Argentine futbol team during the World Cup qualifier in 2009.
In 2010, Pareja signed up with Spartak Moscow on undisclosed terms.
National team defender Faustino Marcos Alberto Rojo was born on March 20, 1990, and started his futbol career with Estudiantes de La Plata in 2008 where he played left-side wing-back. Copa America 2011 marks his first international appearance. Rojo has since moved to Spartak Moscow.
Born August 18, 1980, Esteban Matias Cambiasso has won twenty-two official titles in his professional career as of December 2010. Along with Alfredo di Stefano, he has the most honors in the history of Argentine football players. Nicknamed “El Cuchu” and “Egg in a bun” because of his hairstyle’s resemblance to a famous personality in Argentine television, he is a midfielder for the national team.
Cambiasso began his career in 1995 with Argentinos Juniors, and had stints with Real Madrid, Independiente, River Plate and Internazionale Milano. He first appeared in the Argentine national team in 2000 and has made appearances every year from 2003 until 2011. He is also known for charity work, having co-founded Leoni di Potrero along with teammate, Javier Zanetti.
Ángel di Maria
Born February 14, 1988, national team midfielder Ángel Fabian di Maria is currently the winger for Real Madrid Club de Futbol. di Maria started his career with Rosario Central in 2001and had a stint with Sport Lisboa e Benfica before signing on to Real Madrid in 2010. Di Maria started four out of five of Argentina’s World Cup Games. He was also in the national team for the Beijing 2008 Olympics and scored against Nigeria in the finals.
He has garnered several nicknames in his career such as Di Magia, El Angelito, El Flaco, El Pibito, El Prolifico Diverio. The most famous of these nicknames is Fideo, which is Spanish for “noodle,” because of his slender built and speedy agility.
Born on June 8, 1984, Javier Alejandro Mascherano is a midfielder for the national team, and is considered as one of the last great players to come out from the youth ranks of River Plate. He is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist and is currently a defensive midfielder for Futbol Club Barcelona and the captain of the Argentina National Football Team earning him the nickname “El Jefecito” (the little chief).
Mascherano began his football career at River Plate in 2003, and had stints with Brazilian Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, West Ham and Liverpool Football Club.
Lucas Rodrigo Biglia was born on January 30, 1986 and plays as a midfielder for the Argentine national team. Biglia started his career at Argentinos Juniors and signed up with Independiente in 2005. He was first capped for the Argentine national U-17 team in 2003 and was capped again in the Argentine national U-20 team in 2005, during which the team won the FIFA World Youth Championship.
He signed up with Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht in 2006 instead of other bigger European teams because he wanted a team that guarantees him first choice playing and UEFA Champions League participation. Biglia was awarded the Young Professional Footballer of the Year Award by the Belgian Football Association in 2007 and is a constant choice in the Anderlecht starting eleven.
Javier Pastore, a midfielder in the Argentine national team is currently an attacking midfielder for Italian Serie A club Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo. Fans have nicknamed him “El Flaco” and “Huesito” in reference to his skinny frame.
Born June 20, 1989, Pastore started his career with Argentine youth squad Talleres, and was loaned to Huracán in 2008. He eventually signed up with Palermo for €6 million. Pastore’s debut appearance for the Argentine national team was in the 2010 World Cup.
Éver Maximiliano David Banega, born June 29, 1988, emerged from the youth ranks of Boca Juniors and signed on with Valencia Club de Futbol for €18 million in 2008. He was loaned to Club Atlético de Madrid for the 2008-2009 season, but was returned to Valencia.Banega was part of the Argentine national U-20 team that won the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, and the national team that won the gold medal in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He is a midfielder for the national team.
Born April 10, 1986, Fernando Gago made his professional debut with Boca Juniors in December 2004. Gago signed with Real Madrid in December 2006 together with Gonzalo Higuaín for €20.4 million.Gago was part of the Argentine National U-20 team which won in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. He also played for the national team in the 2007 Copa America.
Gonzalo Higuaín was born in Brest, France on December 11, 1987, while his father, Jorge Higuaín was a defender for Stade Bresto. Higuain emerged from River Plate as a striker with great potential, and signed on with Real Madrid for €13 million in 2006. Higuaín has established himself as one of the world’s most dangerous strikers, netting forty-nine goals over sixty-six appearances in the league, and was the Spanish league’s second top goal scorer in the 2008-2009 season.
Higuaín decided to play for Argentina and made his debut in a friendly game against Guatemala in 2008 where he scored two goals for a 5-0 win. He was selected as a forward for the national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup where he scored a hat trick against South Korea in the group’s second match becoming the third Argentine to ever score a hat trick in the World Cup.
Lionel Andres Messi is considered to be one of the best footballers of his generation. Born June 24, 1987, he was playing with Newell’s Old Boys when he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency at age eleven. River Plate displayed interest in Messi’s talent, but could not afford treatment for his condition. FC Barcelona signed Messi on, and offered to pay for his medical treatment.
Messi made his first Argentine futbol team debut at age sixteen in a friendly match against F. C. Porto, and became a first team regular during the 2006-2007 season. Messi was part of the Argentine National Team that won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, and was also the youngest Argentine to play in the FIFA World Cup in 2006. He won his first gold medal in the Beijing Olympics 2008 together with the Argentine national team, where he plays forward.
Born Carlos Alberto Martinez on February 5, 1984, Carlos Tevez is a forward in the Argentine national team. His story has all the elements of a classic rags-to-riches tale. Raised in a poor neighborhood, futbol was his means to escape this past. He made his juniors debut with All Boys and was acquired by Boca Juniors. He had stints with Corinthians, West Ham United and Manchester United before moving to Man Utd’s arch rival Manchester City Football Club.
Tevez was part of the Argentine national team in the 2004 Athens Olympics where they won the gold medal. He netted eight goals making him the competition’s top scorer.
Nicknamed “El Kun” for his resemblance to an anime character, Sergio Agüero was born on June 2, 1988 and plays forward for the national team. Agüero made his senior debut at a young age of 15 for Independiente in 2003, the youngest player to debut in an Argentine First Division. He was signed with Atletico Madrid in 2005.
Agüero was part of the Argentine National U-20 team that won in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He won the tournament’s Golden Boot for scoring six goals in seven games and the Golden Ball for being the best player. He also participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and scored two goals sealing their semi-final win against Brazil and eventual gold against Nigeria. He was also called up for the Argentine national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi is known as “El Pocho” or “the chubby one” and plays forward for the national team Born March 5, 1985, he started playing for the junior squads of Rosario Central. He had stints with Estudiantes de Buenos Aires, Genoa Cricket and Football Club, Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro and Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli. Lavezzi was part of the Argentine national team that won the gold medal in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Diego Alberto Milito, born on June 12, 1979 started his professional career in 1999 with Racing Club, moving to Genoa Cricket and Football Club in 2004. Milito left Genoa and joined his brother Gabriel in Real Zaragoza in 2005 due to match-fixing issues that hounded the team. Diego finished the 2006 season with 16 goals in the Spanish first division making him Real Zaragoza’s top scorer. Diego took over the captaincy at Real Zaragoza from his brother in 2007, and his contract was extended with a buy-out clause of €100 million. Milito was transferred to Internazionale in 2009.
Diego Milito debuted in the Argentine national team against Uruguay in 2003, where he made appearances as a forward every year for the national team from 2007 until 2010. His younger brother, Gabriel, plays for FC Barcelona and `ne national team.
Notable Former Members of the Argentine National Futbol Team
Born May 25, 1953, Daniel Passarella is a former center back and had been a manager of the Argentinian and Uruguayan national futbol teams. He was captain at Argentina when the team won the World Cup in 1978. Passarella’s career started at Sarmiento in Buenos Aires and had stints with River Plate, Fiorentina and Internazionale. Passarella started his coaching career with River Plate, and won the team several national titles. He was coach for Argentina during the 1998 World Cup qualifying games, and also had coaching stints with Mexican CF Monterrey, Brazil’s Corinthians and Italy’s Parma. Passarella is currently president of River Plate.
Born July 30, 1957, Nery Pumpido is a former goalkeeper with the Argentine national futbol team. He began his career at Unión de Santa Fe and had stints with Velez Sarsfield, River Plate and Real Betis. Pumpido participated in the Argentine soccer team in the 1982, 1986 and 1990 World Cups. After retirement, Pumpido went on to manage futbol clubs, including Union, Paraguayan Olimpia, Mexican UANL Tigres, Newell’s Old Boys, CD Veracruz and Al-Shabab.
Born July 15, 1953, Mario Kempes is a former striker, having played with the Argentine national futbol team. Kempes started his junior career with La Cuarta de Talleres, eventually moving on to Valencia, with stints at Rosario Central. Kempes was part of the national team during the 1974, 1978 and 1982 World Cups and named South American Football Player of the year in 1978.
Kempes made his coaching debut in Albania, and had stints with Lushnja, Mineros de Guyana, The Strongest, Blooming, Pelita Jaya and Valencia. Kempes also provides commentary for ESPN Deportes.
Born June 1, 1966, Abel Balbo was a former striker for the Argentine futbol team. He made his debut with Newell’s Old Boys and River Plate, before moving to Italy, playing under Udinese, Roma, Parma and Fiorentina. He also played for Boca Juniors before retiring. Balbo was part of the Argentine national football team during the 1990, 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 1989 and 1995 Copas America. After retiring, Balbo focused on music, coaching and futbol commentary for radio. He had stints coaching Treviso and Atletica Arezzo.
Born July 5, 1975, Hernan Jorge Crespo is a member of the Argentine futbol team and plays for Parma. As part of the Argentine national team, he played the 1998, 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup. He has also garnered an Olympic silver in 1996, a Copa Libertadores, English Premier League title and a total of three Scudettos.
Crespo started his career with River Plate in 1993 and had stints with Parma, Lazio, Internazionale, Chelsea, Milan and Genoa. He currently plays with Parma, and is the team’s top scorer.
Juan Román Riquelme
Born June 24, 1978, Juan Román Riquelme currently plays for Boca Juniors, and is also known for his stints with Villareal. This playmaker for the Argentine national futbol team is known for his goal scoring ability from the midfield.
Riquelme started his career with Boca Juniors in 1995, and had stints with Barcelona and Villareal prior to returning to Boca. He captained the Argentine futbol team in the FIFA under-20 cup in 1997. He was also part of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but decided to retire from the national team due to a disagreement with coach Diego Maradona. Riquelme has a standing offer with the new national team coach to return to the Argentine national futbol team.
Born November 3, 1979, Pablo Aimar plays for Sport Lisboa e Benefica. He started his career at River Plate in 1997 and had stints with Spain’s Valencia CF, Real Zaragoza and Portugese S.L. Benefica. Aimar first joined the Argentine national futbol team in the 1997 FIFA Youth World Championship. He then played in the FIFA World Cups in 2002 and 2006, as well as the 2010 World Cup qualifier in 2009.
Born November 7, 1973, Martin Palermo is a former member of the Argentine national soccer team, formerly playing for Boca Juniors. Palermo also had stints with Estudiantes de La Plata, Spain’s Villareal, Real Betis and Alaves.
He was part of the Argentine national team during the 1999 Copa America, the 2010 World Cup qualifying games, and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He retired from soccer in June 2011.
Born March 9, 1975, Juan Sebastián Verón is currently the captain of Estudiantes de La Plata, where he plays midfield. His career started with Estudiantes, with stints with Boca Juniors, Lazio, Parma, Sampdoria, Internazionale, Manchester United and Chelsea.
Veron was with the Argentine national futbol team from 1996 to 2010, and was in the 1998 FIFA World Cup where he also played in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Veron also played in the Copa America in 2007. A son of Argentine soccer great Juan Ramon Veron, Sebastian retired from professional futbol in August 2010.
Born October 17, 1963, Sergio Goyochea is a former goalkeeper for the Argentine national futbol team, most famous for his penalty kick saves. His career included stints with Defensores Unidos, River Plate, Millionarios, Racing Club, Brest, Cerro Porteno, Mandiyu, Internacional, Velez Sarsfield and Newell’s Old Boys. Goyochea’s stint with the Argentine national soccer team started in 1988. He played the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cup, and was part of the team in the 1991 and 1993 Copas America.
Born June 6, 1969, Fernando Carlos Redondo Neri is a retired defensive midfielder with the Argentine national football team. Redondo started his career with Argentinos Juniors and had stints with Tenerife and Milan. However, he is best known as part of Real Madrid. Redondo turned down his invitation to be part of the 1990 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, but was part of the team in 1994.
Ariel “Burrito” Ortega
Born March 4, 1974, Ariel Ortega is an attacking midfielder for the Argentine national team. He started his career at River Plate in 1991 and had stints withValencia, Sampdoria, Parma, Fenerbahçe, Newell’s Old Boys and has been on loan with Inependiente Rivadavia and All Boys. Ortega played for the Argentine national soccer team in the 1994, 1998 and 2000 World Cups, and had garnered a silver medal in the 1996 summer Olympic games.
Born December 11, 1981, Javier Saviola is a striker for Portugal’s S.L. Benefica. He debuted with River Plate in 1998, and had stints with Barcelona, Monaco, Sevilla and Real Madrid. Saviola’s career with the Argentine national futbol team started in 2001 at the FIFA under-20 World Cup. He was also part of the 2004 Olympic games, where the team won gold. Saviola also represented Argentina in the 2006 World Cup. He retired from the international soccer team in December 2009, stating that he wanted to focus on club futbol.
Born October 7, 1976, Santiago Hernán Solari Poggio currently plays for Uruguay’s Peñarol. His career started in 1996 with River Plate, and had stints with Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Internazionale, San Lorenzo, Atlante and Juventud Antoniana.
Solari was part of the Argentine national football team from 1999 to 2004.
Born January 9, 1967, Claudio Caniggia was formerly a forward for the Argentine national futbol team. A former track and field athlete, his senior career started with River Plate in 1985, and he had stints with Hellas Verona, Atalanta, Roma, Benfica, Boca Juniors, Dundee, Rangers and Qatar SC. Caniggia was part of the Argentine national soccer team from 1987 to 2002, and was part of the team during the 1990 and 1994 FIFA WorldCups, and briefly during the 2002 World Cup.
Claudio “Piojo” Lopez
Born July 17, 1974, Claudio Lopez is a former member of the Argentine national futbol team and currently plays soccer for Colorado Rapids. His senior career started with Racing Club in 1992 and he had stints with Valencia, Lazio, America and Kansas City Wizards. Lopez was part of the Argentine national football team during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.