Bolivia might not be as big a name as Brazil or Argentina in the South American football, however, the nation has had its own great footballers which although they might not be as great as football world legends, they still can be considered as the best Bolivian soccer players ever.
Before anything else we should say that if you’re looking for Bolivian footballers in Premier League, there’s none! Even among the best Bolivian soccer players ever which we are going to introduce to you in this post. Indeed, there have been no Bolivian footballers in Premier League either among the active or the former ones.
When we say there have been no
Bolivian footballers in Premier League
, it might come to your mind that there have been no Bolivian soccer players in Europe, too. If so, we should say you’re wrong because not only there are footballers on the list of best Bolivian footballers of all time who played in Europe, though for a very short period of time, but also active footballers like Ramiro Vaca whom actually can be considered as current Bolivian soccer players in Europe - he’s been playing for the Belgian club, Beerschot, since the start of 2021.
The list is sorted in ascending order starting with the Bolivian goalkeeper, Jesus Bermudez, but let’s see which other footballers are on the list.
The only goalkeeper on the list of
best Bolivian footballers of all time
, Jesus Bermudez is a passed Bolivian goalkeeper whose career lasted only for ten years between 1925 and 1935 during which he only served two clubs, namely Oruro Royal and San Jose. He’s actually the earliest on the list, too, in the chronological order - he was born in 1902 and died in 1945 at the age of 43. Since Bermudez is actually the farthest on the list we don’t know how many appearances he actually made for the above-mentioned clubs, however, we at least know he made 8 appearances for the Bolivian national team between 1926 and 1930 taking part in the 1926 and 1930 editions of South American Championship and the 1930 edition of FIFA World Cup - actually its first edition - saving Bolivia’s goal in 45 occasions.
Bermudez is actually considered as the first Bolivian national goalkeeper, and probably rightly so, since he made his international debut in 1926. It should also be mentioned here that Bermudez conceded around 37 goals in his international appearances, too, and in defeats like a 9-0 to Uruguay and a 7-1 to Argentina. There are two scenarios concerning Bermudez’s death. As many believe, he died of the damages he received in Choca War in which he took part in 1932, however, his wife, who lived almost three times more than Bermudez himself, said once in an interview that Bermudez died after a soccer match; maybe she meant due to it? You tell us!
One of the five footballers on the list of best Bolivian footballers of all time to be among the former
Bolivian soccer players in Europe
, Marcelo Martins Moreno is a 34-year-old still-active Bolivian forward who currently plays for the Paraguayan club, Cerro Porteno. As mentioned above, he’s one of the former Bolivian soccer players in Europe, and that we say because he served the Bundesliga club, Werder Bremen, and the EFL club, Wigan Athletic, both on loan and in 2009, and 2010, respectively, though for a short period of time during which he made 5 appearances for the former and 12 appearances for the latter with no goals.
Moreno is somehow kind of special on the list of best Bolivian footballers of all time. With that age of his (34), he’s the current captain of theBolivian national team
; he’s Bolivia’s top scorer of all time with 30 goals and a different of 10 goals with Bolivia’s second all-time top scorer, Joaquin Botero, and finally he’s the second most capped Bolivian footballer of all time with 95 caps behind his fellowman, Ronald Raldes, with 102 international appearances. All that means, in the remaining years of his career, not only can Moreno increase his margin with the second Bolivian top scorer of all time, Joaquin Botero, with more international goals that he’s going to score but also become the most capped Bolivian footballer of all time with only 8 more caps he will probably earn.
It might be interesting for you to know that since Moreno’s father is Brazilian, he’s also a citizen of Brazil and eligible to serve also the national team of the country. He actually preferred the Bolivian senior national team to Brazil but served Brazil U18 and U20 teams sometime between 2005 and 2006 becoming the first non-Brazilian footballer to have served the Brazil under-aged teams and the fifth foreign footballer to have worn the Brazilian national team shirt in an official match.
The first defender and the only footballer on the list of best Bolivian footballers of all time to have served Bolivia women’s team as a manager, Marco Sandy is a 50-year-old retired Bolivian footballer and the current assistant manager of the Bolivian club,Jorge Wilstermann
, who also served the Spanish club, Valladolid, sometime during his career, therefore becoming one of the former Bolivian soccer players in Europe, though he only made 4 appearances for them. The interesting fact about Sandy is that he actually served the top Bolivian club, Bolivar, for a major part of his career and in 4 time periods. He’s also the third most capped Bolivian footballer of all time, indeed alongside his fellowman, Luis Cristaldo, with the 93 appearances that he made for the Bolivian national team between 1993 and 2003.
Another defender on the list of best Bolivian footballers of all time, Luis Cristaldo is an Argentina-born Bolivian footballer who also played as a midfielder during his career, too. Just like Marcelo Moreno, Cristaldo is also considered as one of the former Bolivian soccer players in Europe due to the fact that he served the Spanish club,Sporting Gijon
, for a season (1998-99), though he only made 8 appearances for them. The most notable thing about Cristaldo is that he’s the second most capped Bolivian footballer of all time, of course, alongside his fellowman, Marco Sandy - as mentioned above, with 93 international appearances. Since Cristaldo mostly played as a defender you shouldn’t expect him to have scored many goals, as it’s really so: He scored around 20 goals in his more-than-220 club appearances and only scored 5 goals in his 93 appearances for the Bolivian national team whom he served for 16 years between 1989 and 2005. Cristaldo is not a very decorated player with only 7 club trophies to his name which actually all were the Bolivian top-tier league, Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano, titles.
The first actual midfielder and playmaker among the
best Bolivian soccer players
ever, Erwin Romero is a 64-year-old retired Bolivian footballer who actually served nine South American clubs, most of which Bolivian, during his career including the top Bolivian club, Bolivar. Romero scored a total of 134 goals in 348 appearances within the Bolivian football therefore becoming one of the top 10 scorers in Bolivian professional football. It might be interesting for you to know that more than half of these goals - actually 75 - he scored for Bolivar and in 124 appearances which is superb for a midfielder - 3 goals in every 5 appearances averagely. In fact, Bolivar was the club the 64-year-old retired Bolivian midfielder served the most during his career - 3 years between 1981 and 1984 - and also the club he made the most number of appearances and scored the most number of goals for.
Some believe Romero is the best Bolivian footballer of all time; if not, he has at least been given the title of “Maestro” - meaning master - by the Bolivian Football Federation and is considered as one of the 20 top South American footballers of all time alongside some big names in South American football like Diego Maradona and Pele. He also served the Bolivian national team sometime between 1977 and 1989 making 48 appearances and scoring 4 goals for them and taking part in four World Cup qualification rounds, namely the ones in 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990, and two editions of Copa America, namely the 1979 and 1983 editions, though he didn’t earn a real achievement in any of these competitions.
Another passed footballer on the list of
best Bolivian footballers of all time
, Maximo Alcocer played for only three Bolivian clubs during his career, namely Club Union Maestranza, Club Wilstermann and Club Aurora, and in ten years between 1954 and 1964. Unfortunately, there is no record at hand how many club appearances Alcocer made or how many club goals he scored, but at international level, he actually made 22 appearances and scored 13 goals - almost 3 goals in every 5 appearances averagely - and managed to win the South American Championship in 1963 with his country’s national team where he managed to score the winning goal against Brazil in the same competition’s final match. Although that may not look much, it’s still better than the previous footballer to him on the list, Erwin Romero, who didn’t actually achieve anything at international level. Alcocer died in May 2014 in USA at the age of 81.
The last passed footballer on the list of best Bolivian footballers of all time, Victor Ugarte served the top Bolivian club,Bolivar
, for a major part of his career; actually for 14 years out of his 19-year career during which he managed to make 344 appearances and score 61 goals for them at league level - 1.02 goals in every 6 appearances averagely. Although Ugarte didn’t do anything special at club level, he proved the opposite at international level. He’s actually Bolivia’s third top scorer of all time with the 16 goals he scored in his 45 appearances for them. He was part of the Bolivian national team who managed to win the 1963 edition of Copa America by beating Brazil in the competition’s final. Ugarte scored two goals in that match to seal the victory of his side.
It might be interesting for you to know that the passed Bolivian footballer became actually the first Bolivian ever to have played in the Argentinian top-tier league, Primera Division, as he made 3 appearances and scored one goal for the Argentinian club, San Lorenzo, who competed in the same league in his short stay with them. Ugarte died in March 1995 at the age of 68 from poverty and illness. The Victor Agustin Ugarte stadium in the capital city of Bolivia, Potosi, was named after him to pay tribute to his honor.
You can call Botero a prolific scorer both at club and international level. He actually scored a total of 198 goals in 353 appearances at club level - 1.12 goals in every 2 appearances - and 20 goals in 48 appearances at international level - 2.05 goals in every 5 appearances. Botero served ten clubs during his career, but the club he actually bloomed with was Bolivar for whom he scored 111 goals in 132 appearances only at league level. That is 5.04 goals in every 6 appearances averagely, and if he had scored just 21 more goals, we could have said he had scored exactly one goal in every appearance for the club. In 2002 season, he actually scored 49 goals for the same club becoming not only the top-tier Bolivian league, Liga de Futbol Profesional Boliviano, top scorer but the world top scorer in that season.
Botero is also Bolivia’s second top scorer of all time with the 20 goals he scored for the Bolivian national team between 1999 and 2009. Although he didn’t earn any real achievement at international level, he was part of the Bolivian national team who managed to beat Argentina 6-1 in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification match imposing what was Argentina’s worst defeat in 60 years. Botero scored three of Bolivia’s goals in that match in 34th, 55th, and 66th minutes with his first goal being scored from the penalty spot.
The last footballer on the list of
best Bolivian footballers of all time
to be considered as one of the former Bolivian soccer players in Europe, Erwin Sanchez is a 52-year-old retired Bolivian midfielder who played for seven clubs during his career including the top Bolivian club, Bolivar. The interesting fact about Sanchez is that while other footballers on the list, who are considered as former Bolivian soccer players in Europe, only played for a short period of time for one of the European clubs, Sanchez spent most of his career within the top-tier Portuguese league, Primeira Liga - actually 14 years out of his 18-year career which lasted from 1987 to 2005, playing for the two clubs, Benfica and Boavista. And that’s not all; he was actually considered as one of Boavista’s best players during his spell with them, though he never settled with Benfica.
If you would like to know, Sanchez scored forBoavista
more than any other club during his career. He scored 44 goals in his 197 appearances for the Portuguese club only at league level. This is as the most number of goals he scored for a single club other than Boavista is 23 which he scored for the Bolivian club, Destroyers, in 67 appearances at the start of his career - indeed at league level only. Sanchez also served the Bolivian national team sometime between 1989 and 2005 making 57 appearances and scoring 15 goals for them in the process - around one goal in every four appearances averagely. They say Sanchez was a key member of the Bolivian national team during his service to them and played a crucial part in their qualification for 2010 FIFA World Cup. He also scored a goal in the same World Cup which is actually the first goal Bolivia has scored in the history of the global competition. It is also the nation’s only goal in the World Cup history, of course, to this date.
Considered as the greatest footballer Bolivia has ever produced, Marco Etcheverry is a 51-year-old retired Bolivian forward who served clubs in Spain, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and USA other than the Bolivian clubs he served during his career. To your surprise, Etcheverry won almost all his club trophies not with Bolivian or other South American clubs but with the American club,D.C. United
. He has also earned all his individual honors including MLS most valuable player in 1998 and MLS goal of the year in 1997 and 1999 within the American major league.
Etcheverry also served the Bolivian national team sometime between 1989 and 2003 making 71 appearances and scoring 13 goals for them. He was part of the Bolivian national team who managed to impose a 2-0 loss on Brazil in a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification match which was actually Brazil’s first ever loss in a qualification match in the history of World Cup. Etcheverry scored one of Bolivia’s goals in that game. He also scored three other goals in the same World Cup qualification round helping Bolivia qualify for the first time after 1950.
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