Football is the king of sports, and in every continent, there are influential players who shape the way in which our beloved sport is played. The tricks, the technique, the goals, the players, everybody talks about them, men celebrate their victories, women dream about them and kids want to be like those stars. Here’s what we think the pantheon of Latin American players should look like.
Alfredo Di Stéfano
Where can we begin?
“Saeta rubia” (“Blond Arrow”) as he was nicknamed, had lots of achievements during his career, he had a major responsibility in 5 (out of 10) cups held by Real Madrid, in a straight line, yes, 5 cups in a row. This Argentine god of football was born in Barracas, Buenos Aires, the capital city of the South American country. He scored a massive amount of goals (216 in 282 matches played).
The one and only. He doesn’t even need a full name anymore to be recognized. This talented Brazilian player was able to defeat any defense in the world when it came to speed, whether he had the ball or not. His kicks were almost unstoppable and he defeated impressive foes in the field. Three golden balls, two FIFA World Cups, having scored a crazy amount of 62 goals, becoming the second-highest goalscorer for Brazil (only Pelé is above him). He’s also an idol in many important European teams (Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter).
Nobody dribbled like him. He often left defenses and goalkeepers astonished like him or scored with his class and swag. His passes were precise as if he were a doctor performing a surgery. Even after his recovery from many many injuries, when he returned a little chubbier than before, he became the best at the 20 mts. He was the best at what he did.
The one who is rewriting football history. With a touching life story, Lionel Messi “La pulga” (The Thick, for his short size) has the abilities of a Greek demigod, making short, deadly sprints that we’ve seen countless times on the covers of newspapers and magazines, making Barcelona FC the master of the world for several years. For those with a short memory span, Messi started playing with Barcelona in 2006. In just six years this 31 years old Argentine striker has amassed a glory, that other players can’t even achieve in an entire lifetime, there’s still a lot for Messi.
For many, Lionel Messi is the best player in the world. For FIFA officials, he was, at least, for four years on a row; from 2009 to 2012. He has surpassed every goalscoring legend and awards thanks to his skills, his assists and his versatility on the field. He’s won the Olympic gold, numerous championships, but the only thing remaining is the FIFA World Cup championship, in the next FIFA World cup, Qatar 2022, all eyes will be on the 35 years old striker, will that be his last World Cup?
Of course, players like Pelé and Maradona are implied in lists like these, but we wanted to show one player per period of time, to remember a great player nobody names anymore, one that is a wonderful person inside and out of the field and another one who is struggling to become the legend everyone wants him to be.