The Argentinian national team is one of the very few footballing nations to have a global fanbase. Argentina are the current Copa América champions, and they have won the World Cup twice in their history. In this article, we will take a look at Argentina’s greatest XI, considering only the players’ record for the national team.
GOALKEEPER: Ubaldo Fillol
Fillol made his Argentina debut in 1974 and represented them 58 times in his career. He participated in three World Cups and was named the best goalkeeper of the 1978 World Cup held in Argentina.
DEFENDERS : Javier Zanetti, Daniel Passarella, Oscar Ruggeri, Silvio Marzolini
Argentina does not have a history of great left-backs, hence Marzolini is the most obvious choice. He represented Argentina in two World Cups and was named the best left-back of the 1966 World Cup.
Javier Zanetti occupies the right-back spot, although he is capable of playing in midfield too. Zanetti made over a hundred appearances for Argentina and also captained them before retirement.
Daniel Passarella was the captain of the Argentina team that lifted the 1978 World Cup on home soil. Passarella was a world-class center back, but he also scored a lot of goals. In total, he has 23 goals in 70 games for Argentina, an astounding record for a center-back.
Partnering Passarella at the heart of the defense is Ruggeri, widely considered as the greatest South American defender of all time. Passarella won the 1986 World Cup, 1991 and 1993 Copa America and the 1992 Confederations Cup.
MIDFIELDERS: Javier Mascherano, Diego Simeone, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Hernan Crespo
Mascherano held the record for most appearances for Argentina until Lionel Messi broke the record recently. Mascherano played as either a central defender or a defensive midfielder throughout his career. He was outstanding in the 2014 World Cup, as Argentina did not concede a goal for 330 minutes in the knockout stages.
Diego Simeone will form a double pivot with Mascherano. Both of them can sit in front of the two center-backs and sniff out counter-attacks efficiently. This will allow Argentina’s attacking stars to play their game freely, without tracking back frequently.
Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi are both G.O.A.T candidates and are automatic picks in Argentina’s greatest XI. Maradona was sent off in the 1982 World Cup as Brazil eliminated Argentina. Four years later, Maradona’s magical performances in the knockout stages led Argentina to their second World Cup triumph. In 1990, Maradona once again led Argentina to the World Cup final, where they lost to West Germany.
Lionel Messi was infamously sent off during his international debut, but he slowly began to fulfill the void left by Maradona. Messi lost four major tournament finals, but he finally lifted the Copa America in 2021. Messi is also the most capped player and the top goal scorer for Argentina. In this team, Messi and Maradona can work as central attacking midfielders or they can be deployed as wide midfielders.
Crespo started his Argentina career in 1995 with a gold medal in the Pan American games. Crespo scored 35 goals in 64 appearances for Argentina, but failed to win a major trophy. In this team, Crespo can be an attacking midfielder who works hard and feeds the sole striker.
FORWARDS : Gabriel Batistuta
Batistuta is inarguably the greatest striker Argentina has ever produced. He has 10 goals for Argentina in World Cup games, a national record. Batistuta also spearheaded the team that won three consecutive major trophies from 1991 to 1993. In total, Batistuta scored 54 goals in 77 appearances for Argentina. Aguero and Kempes narrowly miss out on Argentina’s greatest XI due to inferior goal ratio.