Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mario Kempes

Kempes was nicknamed El Matador (The Bullfighter) from his time with Valencia, he won two consecutive Pichichis, scoring 24 and 28 goals in 1976-77 and 1977-78. His career where started at a local club called Instituto Atlético Central Córdoba before quickly moving on to Rosario Central where he gained 85 goals in just 105 matches and established himself as a notorious goalscorer. Famous as a hard-working forward, he used to strike from outside the penalty area with his surging runs goalwards and was not the traditional center-forward operating solely inside the box. Many defenders found difficulties handling his attacking style. They never knew where they had him.Before the 1978 World Cup, Kempes was the only foreign based player on the list of coach César Luis Menotti's national team in Argentina, he was at the time playing for Spanish giants Valencia while the other squad members all played in Argentina. The coach described him when announcing the squad he had selected for the 1978 tournament, "He's strong, he's got skill, he creates spaces and he shoots hard. He's a player who can make a difference, and he can play in a centre-forward position".The skinny forward had been topscorer in La Liga in each of the past two seasons and was determined to show on home soil that he could deliver against the best on the sport's greatest stage as well. However, in 1974, at 20 years of age, he failed to get on the score-sheet in West Germany and after the first round group stage in 1978, his name was still missing among goalscorers in the tournament. During his playing career he won 43 caps for Argentina and scored 20 times