Eight of the Best Argentinian Athletes

21st February 2020
Argentinian athletes are known all over the world. In fact, you could say there's an international-level Argentinian representative in every sport.

There’s no doubt that this South American country is the birthplace of many of the world’s greatest athletes. And we’re not just talking about soccer players either. In this article, we’ll be listing eight of the best Argentinian athletes in history.

Who are the best Argentinian athletes?

Although Argentina is mainly known for its great soccer players, it’s a sports powerhouse in every sense of the word. That’s why you could say almost every sport has a world-class Argentine representative. In this list, we’ll be talking about eight athletes that, in our opinion, are the best.

1- Diego Maradona

They say he’s the best soccer player of all time. That’s not without controversy, though, as others may assert this title to Pele or even Messi. He started out his career in 1975 with the Argentine Juniors – the team whose stadium still bears his name. He ended his career with the Boca Juniors in 1997.

Diego maradona who is one of the best argentinian athletes.
Image: Vice.com

Maradona is well-known for his participation in the national team. He was with them as they ascended to world champions in Mexico in 1986 and also runner up in Italy in 1990.

2. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi’s position on this list is unquestionable. Although “The Flea” has spent more time in Spain than in his birth country, Argentinians still consider him a hero because of his performance on the national team.

Messi is Barcelona’s greatest scorer in the Spanish League. Not only that, but he also boasts many records. He’s also the player who’s won the Ballon D’Or and the European Gold the most times.

3. Emanuel Ginobili

“Manu” is Argentina’s greatest basketball player. In fact, experts say he’s the best in all of Latin America and one of the most valuable players in the NBA. He played with the San Antonio Spurs for 16 seasons – between 2002 and 2018. That’s when he retired.

He was also part of the so-called “golden age” for the Argentine national basketball team. It was during this time that they also managed to get a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. His contribution to basketball was so great that after he retired, the national team declared that no one on the team would wear the jersey with his number (5) ever again.

4. Juan Manuel Fangio

Many consider him to be one of the best drivers in the history of motorsports. He won five Formula One titles (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957). Additionally, he was runner up twice (1950 and 1953).

“El Chueco” attained 24 victories, was honored at the podium 35 times, had 23 fastest laps, and 29 pole positions in his career spanning 51 Grand Prix. He held on to his title record for almost 50 years until Michael Schumacher “dethroned” him.

A picture of motorships champion juan manuel fangio.
Image: deportv.gob.ar

5. Guillermo Vilas

Another one of the best Argentinian athletes is the tennis player, Guillermo Vilas. He’s won 62 ATP tournaments (four Grand Slams between 1977 and 1979). Vilas also has various records under his belt. For example, he’s the player who’s won the most times in a single season (130). Another example is that he’s also the player with the highest number of titles won in a single year (16).

It was he who created and popularized “the big Willy.” This maneuver involves hitting the ball with your back turned to the net and the racket between your legs.

Guillermo vilas with a racket in his hand.
Image: Marca Argentina

6. Luciana Aymar, one of the best Argentinian athletes

Of course, men aren’t the only great athletes in Argentina. Luciana Aymar is an ex-field hockey player. Experts named her the world’s best in this sport eight times. In 2008, they declared her to be a “hockey legend.”

Luciana aymar celebrating a win.
Image: cordobatimes.com

She was captain of the Argentine national team between 2009 and 2014. She also participated in four Olympic Games, in which she won two silver and two bronze medals. Aymar also took the Champions Trophy six times.

7. Gabriela Sabatini

The best Argentina tennis player of all time is also the only one from that country to have won the US Open. She also won a silver medal in the Seoul Olympics in 1988. As for her doubles performance, she won the Wimbledon Championship in 1988 with Steffi Graf from Germany.

Gabriela sabatina one of the best argentinian athletes hitting a tennis ball with the racket.
Image: ESPN

8. Carlos Monzon, one of the greatest Argentinian athletes

Monzon is the greatest boxer in Argentina. He was a middleweight champion between 1970 and 1977, with 100 matches throughout his career. Monzon also won 87 of those with 59 wins by knockout. He had his last fight in 1977, in which he fell on the mat for the first and last time throughout his whole career.

From the time he was crowned world middleweight champion in 1970, he defended his title 14 times. And this was also against the greatest boxers of his age. He won every challenge people threw at him until he retired in 1977. Despite all of this, his reputation was severely tarnished by the crime of killing his wife, Alicia Muñiz, in 1988.

Carlos monzon one of the best argentinian athletes hitting an opponent.
Image: Vía País.

We’re going to end our article with some honorable mentions. Roberto de Vicenzo is one of the great Argentinian athletes in the sport of golf. In the fighting sports, some of the champions from this country are Paula Pareto for judo and the boxers, Pascual Perez and Luis Angel Firpo. Messi and Maradona aren’t the only Argentine soccer greats. There’s also Alfredo Di Stefano. The country has strong athletes involved in rugby, too. There’s Hugo Post and also Agustin Pichot, to name a couple. Adolfo Cambiasso and Juan Carlos Harriot are renowned polo players. Some other names that will come to mind for many are Martin del Potro (Tennis), Aaron Sheter (Basque pelota), and also Hugo Conte (volleyball).

  • Sebreli, J. J. (2011). La era del fútbol. In La era del fútbol.
  • Archetti, E. 2005. El deporte en Argentina (1914-1983). Universidad de Oslo. https://www.unse.edu.ar/trabajoysociedad/Archetti.pdf
  • Luciana Aymar. Wikipedia. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciana_Aymar