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20.07.2007 13:12

Barça’s 20 Argentinians

Anna Segura

Gabriel Milito is following in the footsteps of such illustrious names as Maradona, Pizzi, Riquelme and Mateo Nicolau as he became the 20th Argentinian player to represent the club.

The arrival of the defender from Real Zaragoza has increased the club's links with Argentina that has seen players from the South American country play football, basketball and roller hockey for the Blaugrana.

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qm3d9944.jpgIn FC Barcelona's 108-year history there have been 20 Argentinians. In the past few seasons the football team has had players such as Pizzi, Pellegrino, Saviola, Bonano, Riquelme, Sorin and Maxi López, as well of course, as Lional Messi.

The basketball squad has included players such as Juan Domingo De la Cruz and Marcelo Nicola, while the roller hockey outfit have had Roberto Roldán, Gaby Cario and the Páez brothers.


maradonax2x.jpgArguably, the greatest player from Argentina to don the Blaugrana shirt was Diego Armando Maradona, who joined the club after World Cup Finals in 1982. In his two seasons at Camp Nou he helped the club to win the Copa del Rey, the League Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.

The football team has also had three Argentinian coaches as Helenio Herrera, Roque Olsen and César Luis Menotti have all been at the helm.

The first Argentinian at Barça

Juan Garchitorena became the first Argentinian player when he joined Barça in 1915. Despite being from South America, Barcelona registered as a Spaniard until Espanyol complained and the Catalan Football Federation forced the club to replay all the games in which he had participated. Garchitorena went on to become an actor after he finished playing, under the name Juan Torena.

Caffaretti, Marco Aurelio and Mateo Nicolau

At the end of the 1940's, Barça had three Argentinian players in their ranks as Florencio Caffaretti, Mauro Aurelio Do Paulo and Mateo Nicolau had joined the club. Aurelio went down in history as for scoring 1,000 goals for the club, but it was Nicolau that won the most trophies during his time with the Blaugrana as he helped them to win two leagues, two cups, two Latin Cups and two Eva Duarte Cups.

Milonguita Heredia was another player from Argentina, who played for Barça in the 1970's After overcoming the logistical problems in a period when no foerigners were allowed, he was loaned to Porto and Elche before being able to return having being given a Spanish passport.
Barça’s 20 Argentinians
The Di Stéfano story
Alfredo Di Stéfano never played an official match for FC Barcelona, but 1953, the Blaugrana reached an agreement with River Plate to sign him. At the same time, Real Madrid reached a deal with Millionaires to sign him, as they owned a percentage of his rights. In the end Di Stefáno ended up playing for Madrid after Barça refused a deal where he would play for them every other season.

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