WORLD CUP: LEGEND - Daniel Passarella (Argentina)

Daniel Alberto Passarella, born on May 25, 1953, was one of the most commanding defenders in World Cup history. He became captain for both club and country at an early age. Despite being only 174cm, he was exceptional in the air and scored an impressive amount of goals by headers from corners or free-kicks.

Passarella was an unusual player. His scoring record is quite unique for a defender. In 298 matches in the Argentine league, he scored 99 goals. And when he moved to Italy to play for Fiorentina and later Inter Milan, his goalscoring continued, and he still holds the record in Serie A for goals scored by a defender. In international level, he won 70 caps for Argentina and scored 22 goals.

He won several league champion-ships with River Plate. But the highlight was to win the World Cup in 1978 on homesoil. He was 25 years old and captained Argentina to victory.

A proud moment for “El Gran Capitan” (The great captain). The final itself was played on Passarella’s homeground, Estadio Monumental. Four years later in 1982, Argentina failed to reach the semifinals. A Passarella free-kick against Italy wasn’t enough to avoid defeat.

In Mexico 1986, at 33, he was included in the squad, but got injured and didn’t play a minute in the tournament. He took over as national coach for Argentina in 1994 and led them to the quarter-finals in France 1998 before retiring from the job.