Ultimate Argentina dream team - Maradona & Messi in, Caniggia out

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Argentina Dream Team
Some all time greats have played for Argentina, but only the best of the best can make their dream XI!

Argentina have not just produced some of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen, but they are also one of the most successful national teams around in the game.

There were obviously the 1978 and 1986 World Cup wins, but they have also lifted the Copa America on 15 occasions!

The players behind those successes?

Well, how about Mario Kempes? Or Diego Maradona? Or Lionel Messi?

Yes, that is the level of players we are talking about here. Absolute global superstars.

Who make their best-ever XI, though?

Let's take a look at the ultimate Argentina dream team!

  1. GK: Ubaldo Fillol

    GK: Ubaldo Fillol

    The greatest goalkeeper in Argentina history, Fillol was part of the squad at the 1974 World Cup and was also included in the team that won the World Cup four years later.

    He was voted the best goalkeeper in both those tournaments and played a crucial role in his country's run to glory in the 1978 edition as he was included in FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1978.

    Fillol just pips another legendary Argentine goalkeeper in Sergio Romero, who played 96 games for the national team between 2009 and 2018, featuring at the 2010 World Cup and 2014 World Cup.

  2. RB: Javier Zanetti
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    RB: Javier Zanetti

    Regarded as one of the best right-backs of his generation, Zanetti was quite possibly also the most versatile Argentine player ever as he was capable of essentially featuring anywhere in defence or midfield.

    He played 145 games for Argentina, making him the third-highest in the list of players with most appearances for his country.

    Zanetti played a crucial role in helping Argentina reach the final of the Copa America in 2004 and 2007 as well as the Confederations Cup in 1995 and 2005.

    The Inter icon played at the World Cup in 1998 and 2002.

  3. CB: Roberto Perfumo

    CB: Roberto Perfumo

    Considered one of the most creative Argentine defenders ever, Perfumo actually started out as a midfielder, before moving into defence.

    As a defender, he achieved a lot of plaudits for his performances between 1964 and 1974.

    Perfumo played two World Cups in 1966 and 1974, and was one of their top performers at both tournaments, making eight appearances in total.

    He did miss a fair few matches for the national team in his 13-year career, though, playing just 37 games in total.

    Nevertheless, Perfumo still gets the nod ahead of Oscar Ruggeri, who was part of the teams that won the World Cup in 1986 and two editions of the Copa America.

  4. CB: Daniel Passarella

    CB: Daniel Passarella

    Considered as one of the most influential South American defenders of all time, Passarella captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1978.

    At one point in his career, Passarella was the world's top goal scoring defender, with 143 goals in 447 games at club level.

    For Argentina, he scored 22 goals in 70 games from centre-back.

  5. LB: Alberto Tarantini
    Michel Piquemal

    LB: Alberto Tarantini

    The most iconic left-back in Argentina history, Tarantini was part of the squad that won the 1978 World Cup.

    Just a few months before the 1978 World Cup, Tarantini actually had a contractual dispute with his club Boca Juniors that left him without a team as Boca's management pressured other Argentine clubs to deny him a new contract.

    However, he went on to conjure up incredible performances at the 1978 tournament, helping Argentina win the World Cup, before Birmingham City signed him.

    Tarantini went on to feature for his country at the 1982 World Cup too, retiring after making a total 61 appearances for Argentina.

    Other options at left-back included Silvio Marzolini and Juan Pablo Sorin, but Tarantini gets the nod for us.

  6. DM: Javier Mascherano
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    DM: Javier Mascherano

    A versatile deep-lying midfielder who could also slot in at centre-back, Mascherano in his prime was one of the best in the world.

    The Argentine made 147 appearances for his country and is the second-most capped player in the country's history after Lionel Messi.

    Mascherano played five Copa America tournaments and four World Cups, reaching the final in 2014.

    The defender captained Argentina between 2008 and 2011 and retired after his country's elimination by France at the 2018 World Cup.

  7. DM: Diego Simeone
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    DM: Diego Simeone

    Nicknamed 'El Cholo', Simeone played 108 games for Argentina between 1988 and 2002, featuring at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups and four editions of the Copa America, winning the trophy in 1991 and 1993.

    Simeone will forever be remembered for his antics that saw David Beckham getting sent off at the 1998 World Cup.

    He has become one of the best managers in the world after hanging up his boots, turning Atletico Madrid into a force to be reckoned with again both in LaLiga and at continental level.

  8. AM: Diego Maradona

    AM: Diego Maradona

    No amount of words can fully describe what Maradona achieved with the ball at his feet.

    One of the greatest players of all time, the Napoli legend was the complete attacking footballer when it came to vision, ball control, passing, dribbling and goal scoring, from open play as well as set-pieces.

    In an incredible international career spanning 91 appearances, Maradona scored 34 goals, playing in four World Cups, captaining and winning the 1986 World Cup with Argentina.

    In the quarter-final of the 1986 tournament, against England, Maradona scored two goals that ended up becoming evergreen moments in the history of the game, for two totally different reasons.

    First, he scored the infamous "Hand of God" goal, and second, he made a 66-yard run past five England players, scoring the "Goal of the Century", as voted by FIFA.com's audience in 2002.

  9. FW: Lionel Messi
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    FW: Lionel Messi

    If there was ever a player who could come close to Maradona's name in Argentina, it has got to be Messi.

    The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is the record goalscorer for the Argentina national team.

    Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score at a World Cup when he featured at the 2006 tournament.

    Possibly the greatest footballer of all time then led Argentina to three consecutive tournament finals, the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa America and 2016 Copa America, losing all three.

    The only thing that eluded Messi for much of his career was an international trophy at senior level, which he won when Argentina claimed the 2021 Copa America.

  10. FW: Gabriel Batistuta
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    FW: Gabriel Batistuta

    Regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all time, Batistuta made 78 appearances for Argentina between 1991 and 2002, scoring an impressive 56 goals.

    He was Argentina's all-time record goalscorer until Messi broke his record in June 2016.

    Batistuta participated in three World Cups, scoring 10 goals, making him Argentina's all-time top goal scorer in the competition.

    One record that he still holds is that of the only footballer in history to score hat-tricks in different World Cups.

    He won two Copa America titles (1991 and 1993), the 1993 CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions and the 1992 Confederations Cup with Argentina.

  11. FW: Mario Kempes

    FW: Mario Kempes

    Surely we couldn't give that final spot to any one else than Kempes!

    The forward became an instant Argentina legend at the 1978 World Cup when he scored two goals in the final to lead them to glory and also received the Golden Boot and Golden Ball.

    He is one of only three players in football history to have won all three of those trophies at a single World Cup, with the other two players being Garrincha in 1962 and Paolo Rossi in 1982.

    Kempes made 43 appearances for Argentina between 1973 and 1982 and appeared in three World Cups, 1974, 1978 and 1982.

    His goals in the 1978 World Cup final were actually his last for Argentina.

    That means the legendary Claudio Caniggia misses out on a spot in the XI, despite his sublime performances at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.