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Best Argentinian Goalkeepers of All Time

Wed 13 April 2022 | 7:30

Argentina have produced such great footballers like Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, however, one might think less about the goalkeepers when it comes to South American nations like Argentina.

The truth is that not only Argentina but also other South American nations have produced some great goalkeepers we have already talked about in another post, namely the best South American goalkeepers of all time. In this post, however, we are to see specifically who Argentina's greatest goalkeepers have been.

Of course, the two goalkeepers, Sergio Goycochea and Ubaldo Fillol, are not only considered as one of

Argentina's greatest goalkeepers

of all time but also they performed so well during their careers that they have found their way to the list of best South American goalkeepers of all time, too.

We should also note here that some goalkeepers like Lucas Chavez have been named as

Argentina best goalkeeper in 2021

, but they have no place on the list of best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time since despite begin good, they should still prove themselves plus that as we mentioned above we are to Argentina's greatest goalkeepers of all time and not Argentina best goalkeeper in 2021.

A List of Best Argentinian Goalkeepers of All Time

The list of best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time starts with Carlos Roa, but let’s see which other footballers are on the list.

Carlos Roa

Argentina’s first-team goalkeeper in 1998 World Cup, Carlos Roa is a 52-year-old retired Argentinian goalkeeper who, as far as we know, is the only goalkeeper on the list of best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time who practiced a vegetarian diet during his career. He was also kind of a religious man and a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who was actually involved in religious activities for sometime, and you might not believe it, but he didn’t sign a new contract in 1999 with his then club, Mallorca, because he believed the world would end sometime soon! However, he returned in less than a year, but he never regained his previous form, and maybe that was the reason his next contract was with a second-tier Spanish club,

Albacete

, whom he served for two years between 2002 and 2004 making 53 appearances for them in the process.

It might be interesting for you to know that Roa served the Argentinian national team only for two years between 1997 and 1999 and made a total of 16 appearances for them in two international competitions, namely 1992 CONMEBOL pre-Olympic tournament and 1998 FIFA World Cup, where in the latter he didn’t concede a single goal in the group stage and saved a decisive penalty in a round-of-16 penalty shootout against England which saw Argentina advance to the next stage where they actually lost 2-1 to Netherlands. During his international career, Roa conceded 12 goals, collected 7 clean sheets and received 2 yellow cards and during his club career, 140 goals, 54 clean sheets, 8 yellow cards and 3 red cards - this last one is actually arguable and is a bit too high for a goalkeeper. And finally we should say that Roa is not a very decorated footballer; he actually won three club trophies and two individual awards during his career.

Roberto Abbondanzieri

Having served his top homeland club, Boca Juniors, for 11 years and in two time periods during his career, Roberto Abbondanzieri is a 49-year-old retired Argentinian goalkeeper who also served the Argentinian national team for four years between 2004 and 2008 making 49 appearances for them in the process. He actually made a total of 393 club appearances from which 241 (61%) were with the club he served the most during his career, Boca Juniors. At international level, Abbondanzieri guarded Argentina’s goal in international friendlies,

Copa America

2004 and 2007 where in both competitions Argentina finished as runner-up, 2006 World Cup qualification round, and the same World Cup finals. The number of his appearances in each of the competitions mentioned above were 14, 12, 18, and 5, respectively.

Abbondanzieri was Argentina’s first-team goalkeeper in 2006 World Cup conceding only two goals and helping his team advance to the competition’s quarter-finals where he was injured in the 71th minutes in a match against Germany and replaced by Argentina’s substitute goalkeeper, Leo Franco. Argentina lost that match to Germany 5-3 on penalties. During his international career, Abbondanzieri conceded 45 goals and collected 22 clean sheets which counts for almost one goal in every appearance and one clean sheet in every two appearances. He never received a yellow or red card in his international career, but in his club career, he received 29 yellow cards, one second yellow card, and 3 red cards which is quite high for a goalkeeper - he actually received a yellow card in every 9.3 of his club appearances averagely.

Abbondanzieri also conceded 278 goals in his club appearances - a little bit more than one goal in every appearance - and 95 clean sheets which counts for a clean sheet in every 2.8 appearances. Concerning the club trophies he won during his career, Abbondanzieri is in front of Carlos Roa by quite a margin since he actually won 16 club trophies during this time. He also won a handful of individual awards, the most prominent of which is, perhaps, South America Best goalkeeper in 2003. He was also named as one of the top 10 goalkeepers of the 21st century by IFFHS between 2001 and 2011.

Angel Bossio

The first passed goalkeeper on the list of best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time, Angel Bossio guarded Argentina’s goal sometime between 1927 and 1935 making 21 appearances for them in the process. Of course, that’s what some sources say, while others say he made 8 appearances for the Argentinian national team in which he conceded 7 goals and collected 3 clean sheets. Of his club stats, actually no one knows much except for that he served two Argentinian clubs, namely

Talleres

(BA) and River Plate, during his career. Nicknamed “the elastic wonder” during his career due to his agility, Bossio was Argentina’s goalkeeper in the first edition of World Cup - actually the 1930 edition - where he actually managed to finish as runner-up with them behind the cup winners, Uruguay. He also guarded Argentina’s goal in 1928 Olympic games finishing again as runner-up after losing 2-1 to the same team he would be going to lose against in 1930 World Cup, Uruguay. Bossio died in August 1978 at the age of 73.

Nery Pumpido

Part of the Argentinian national team who won 1986 World Cup, Nery Pumpido is a 64-year-old retired Argentinian goalkeeper who served his country’s national team sometime between 1983 and 1990 making 36 appearances for them in the process. Although Pumpido played for the Argentinian national team in 1983 and 1989 Copa America editions and also in 1990 World Cup, he performed his best in Argentina’s successful campaign in 1986 World Cup where he played in all the seven games of his team, collected 3 clean sheets, and conceded only 5 goals in 630 minutes of play - averagely one goal in every 126 minutes. Unfortunately, that top performance was not continued into the next World Cup (1990) as Pumpido conceded an easy goal against Cameroon in the same competition’s group stage and broke his leg in the next match against USSR being replaced by Sergio Goycochea who actually proved himself in the same competition remaining in Argentina’s first-team for the later matches to come - he’s also on the list of

best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time

and among the top ones.

If we just take the latter claim about Pumpido’s international appearances above as true - we mean 29 appearances, then here is how many appearances Pumpido made in international competitions plus the number of goals he conceded, the clean sheets he collected, and any yellow or red cards he received: Friendlies, 14 appearances, 16 goals, and 3 clean sheets, Copa America, 6 appearances, 6 goals, and 3 clean sheets, World Cup finals, 9 appearances, 6 goals, 4 clean sheets, and 2 yellow cards. That actually sums up to 29 appearances, 28 goals, 10 clean sheets, and 2 yellow cards for the Argentinian retired goalkeeper. The interesting fact here is that although Pumpido played in two editions of World Cup (1986 and 1990), he never played in the same competition’s qualification rounds - He was either not in the squad or was on the bench. At club level, Pumpido served seven clubs including his homeland club,

River Plate

and the La Liga club, Real Betis, between 1976 and 1993 making a total of 440 appearances for them in the process.

Antonio Roma

Another passed goalkeeper on the list of best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time, Antonio Roma served only two Argentinian clubs during his career, namely Ferro Carril Oeste and Boca Juniors, and for 17 years between 1955 and 1972. Roma is often known as a Boca Juniors player since he served them for a major part of his career - actually for 12 years between 1960 and 1972 - and won all his club trophies with them including three Argentinian Premier League titles. He’s actually one of the best - some say even iconic - player Boca Juniors have ever had. In 1969, he managed to remain unbeaten for a consecutive 783 minutes - almost nine consecutive matches - and although he’s not among the first 10 Boca players with most appearances for the club, he’s close to with a total of 323 appearances.

Roma also served the

Argentinian national team

sometime between 1956 and 1967 making 42 appearances for them in the process. He was part of the Argentinian national team in 1957 and 1967 editions of Copa America and 1962 and 1966 World Cups with his best run with the team happening in 1966 World Cup where they managed to advance to the competition’s quarter-finals just to be stopped there by England as they lost 1-0 to them. Of course, some sources say Roma made a total of 33 international appearances which if we take as true, then we should say that 15 of Roma’s international appearances took place in friendlies, 6 in World Cup qualification rounds, 6 in World Cup finals, and finally 6 in Copa America. He also conceded 35 goals and collected 15 clean sheets during his international career. Roma died in February 2013 at the age of 80.

Americo Tesoriere 

Yet another passed goalkeeper on the list of

best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time

and also the farthest one on the list in the chronological order, Americo Tesoriere was born in 1899 and had his short club career running from 1917 to 1927. He’s almost a one-club man and just like Antonio Roma is known as a Baco Juniors player. He actually served the club in two time periods: Once from 1917 to 1920 and another time from 1922 to 1927. If he had not just served the Argentinian club, Sportivo del Norte, for that one season (1920-21), we could have said he had been a one-club man during his career.

Just like Antonio Roma, Americo Tesoriere is also considered as one of the best players Boca Juniors have ever had and even more, one of the club’s legends. He actually won more club trophies with the club than Roma (14) including five Argentinian Premier League titles and is actually considered as one of the most winning players in the history of the club. It might be interesting for you to know that during the time Tesoriere served Boca Juniors, he won the club fans’ hearts to the extent that they wrote the song “We have a goalkeeper who is a marvel himself” in his honor.

Hugo Gatti

One of the pioneers of the achique goalkeeping technique - a technique in which the goalkeeper rushes out of the goal to close down on the attacking opposition player, Hugo Gatti is a 77-year-old retired Argentinian goalkeeper who, just like the two previous goalkeepers to him on the list, served the Argentinian club,

Boca Juniors

, more than any other club during his career; actually for 12 years between 1976 and 1988 which comprises almost half of his career. Of course, considering that he only won only 6 club trophies during his career, Gatti may not be as decorated a footballer as Tesoriere, however, he holds one record he should be proud of and that is the record for most appearances made within the Argentinian Premier League: 765 appearances of which 381 were made for Boca Juniors.

Nicknamed “the mad man”, Hugo Gatti was often considered as an unconventional goalkeeper during his play time due to the fact that he used to leave his zone of control - we mean the penalty area - to act as an additional defender and even took part in offensive play; what is, indeed, unconventional by today’s standards, too - we mean the latter, of course. When at goal, Gatti often depended on his positional sense rather than his reflexes and he not only used his hands but also his feet and head to control or strike the ball; another proof to his unconventionality especially at his own playing time.

And another worthy thing to mention about Gatti was his penalty-saving talent. He actually saved 26 penalties within the Argentinian Premier League which makes him also the only goalkeeper, indeed alongside another top Argentinian goalkeeper, Ubaldo Fillol, to have saved the most number of penalties within the top Argentinian league. At international level, Gatti made a total of 18 appearances, although some believe the real number is 52, however, if we take the former as true, then we should tell you that 14 of Gatti’s international appearances took place in friendlies and 4 in 1975 Copa America. He was never that successful at international level as he actually earned no international trophies with the Argentinian national team and never played a World Cup match despite being part of the Argentinian squad in 1966 World Cup.

Sergio Goycochea

A top goalkeeper to have proven himself from the bench, Sergio Goycochea is not only considered as one of the best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time but also one of the

best South American goalkeepers of all time

. When, in 1990 World Cup, he replaced Pumpido after his fellowman’s injury in a group stage match against USSR - and of course his poor performance against Cameroon, Goycochea turned from a substitute goalkeeper into a first-team one and played the rest of the matches in the same World Cup with the Argentinian national team, indeed, up until the final match where Argentina were stopped 1-0 by Germany sufficing to finish as runners-up. He is actually remembered for his top penalty-saving capabilities which helped Argentina rise through the ranks in 1990 World Cup and him almost saving Germany’s penalty kick by Andreas Brehme in the final match which actually did not happen - he jumped in the right direction but was short only by a few centimeters.

 

Almost a highly-decorated goalkeeper on the list of

best Argentinian goalkeepers of all time

, Goycochea is actually the one with most international trophies and most clubs served on the list. He won four international trophies including a Confederations Cup in 1992, two Copa America trophies in 1991 and 1993, and the Artemio Franchi trophy in 1993, and served 11 clubs during his career with a total of 226 appearances for them only at league level. The 58-year-old retired Argentinian goalkeeper served the Argentinian national team sometime between 1987 and 1994 making 43 appearances for them in the process. From among all these appearances, 15 took place in frinedlies, 12 in Copa America, 8 in World Cup qualification rounds, 6 in World Cup finals, and 2 in Confederations Cup. He also conceded 38 goals, collected 18 clean sheets, and received one yellow card in all his 43 international appearances. The most number of goals Goycochea received in a single international match was in a 1994 World Cup qualification match against

Colombia

where he received 5 goals.

Amadeo Carrizo

Ranked the best South American goalkeeper of 20th century by IFFHS, Amadeo Carrizo is a passed Argentinian goalkeeper who is also considered as one of the pioneers of goalkeeping techniques and one of the first goalkeepers who used gloves - At those times, we mean before World War II, it was not a common practice for goalkeepers to wear gloves. Carrizo made a total of 568 club appearances during his career 513 of which were for the top Argentinian club, River Plate. Although he served three other clubs during his career, it was not for more than a season, so, you could almost consider him as a one-club man.

Carrizo served the Argentinian national team sometime between 1954 and 1964 making 20 appearances for them in the process. Of course, some sources say the real number is 14. The truth is that there is no information at hand if Carrizo guarded Argentina’s goal in some of their matches between 1954 and 1964 or not - he might or he might not. Anyway, if we take 14 as true, then Carrizo made 7 of his international appearances in friendlies, 4 in World Cup qualification rounds, and 3 in World Cup finals. He also conceded 14 goals - averagely one goal in every appearance - and collected 8 clean sheets in all his international appearances.

The most number of goals Carrizo received in a single international match was in a 1958 World Cup group-stage match against the former Czechoslovakia where he received 6 goals. And it might be interesting for you here to know that the passed Argentinian goalkeeper set two records in 1968: First, the most number of official appearances for River Plate in the Argentinian top-tier league, First Division, and second, the most number of consecutive minutes, actually 769 minutes which equals around 8 matches and a half, without conceding a goal.

Ubaldo Fillol

Considered not only as the best Argentinian goalkeeper ever but also as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football, Ubaldo Fillol is a 71-year-old retired Argentinian goalkeeper who actually drew attentions to himself at a very early age of 18 due to his agility, top reflexes, and acrobatic saves. Maybe it was the same qualities that later had the top Argentinian club, River Plate, hire him for 10 years between 1973 and 1983 where he made a total of 360 appearances for them; actually the most number of appearances that he made for a single club during his career and at least 5 times higher than the number of appearances he made for the other clubs he served during his career.

 

Fillol actually took part in three editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1974, 1978, and 1982 editions, with the Argentinian national team winning the 1978 edition with them and also being named as the competition’s best goalkeeper. He also took part in 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification round but was finally dropped out for the competition’s finals. As some sources say, Fillol made a total of 58 appearances for the Argentinian national team between 1974 and 1985, however, some other sources say the real number is 42 which if we take as true, then here is how many appearances the top retired Argentinian goalkeeper made and in which international competitions plus the number of goals he conceded and the clean sheets he collected in each competition: Friendlies, 20 appearances, 17 goals, and 8 clean sheets, World Cup qualification rounds, 6 appearances, 6 goals, and 2 clean sheets, World Cup finals, 13 appearances, 12 goals, and 4 clean sheets, and finally Copa America, 3 appearances, 2 goals, and 2 appearances.

Maybe that would be interesting for you to know that Fillol had a rivalry with his counterpart in Boca Juniors, Hugo Gatti. Although the two were quite different in personality and approach to goalkeeping, both were great goalkeepers sharing the record for most penalties saved within the Argentinian Premier League (26) during their play time.

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