Daniel Passarella

Daniel Passarella

Daniel Passarella holding the FIFA World Cup trophy
after the 1978 final.
Personal information
Full name Daniel Alberto Passarella
Date of birth (1953-05-25) 25 May 1953
Place of birth Chacabuco, Argentina
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)[1]
Playing position Centre-back, Sweeper.
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1973 Sarmiento 36 (9)
1974–1982 River Plate 226 (90)
1982–1986 Fiorentina 109 (26)
1986–1988 Internazionale 44 (9)
1988–1989 River Plate 32 (9)
Total 447 (140)
National team
1974–1986 Argentina 70 (22)
Teams managed
1989–1994 River Plate
1994–1998 Argentina
1999–2001 Uruguay
2001 Parma
2002–2004 Monterrey
2005 Corinthians
2006–2007 River Plate

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Daniel Alberto Passarella (born 25 May 1953) is an Argentine retired footballer who played as a centre-back, and former manager of the Argentina and Uruguay national football teams. He was captain of the Argentina team that won the 1978 World Cup. He was president of the River Plate sports club for 4 years after winning the elections by a very close margin in December 2009. [2]

One of the greatest defenders of all time, Passarella was also one of the most prolific defenders, at one point Passarella was football's top scoring defender, with 134 goals in 451 matches (that record was since broken by Dutch defender Ronald Koeman).[3] In 2004, Passarella was named one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony.[4] In 2007, The Times placed him at number 36 in their list of the 50 hardest footballers in history.[5]

Club career

Passarella throwing a free kick for River Plate in 1979.

Passarella was born in Chacabuco, Buenos Aires province. He started his career at Sarmiento of Junin, Buenos Aires province. From there he joined River Plate, then Fiorentina of Italy and briefly, Internazionale. After his successful spell in the Serie A, he returned to River Plate, where he played until his retirement.

He was called "El Gran Capitán" (the Great Captain, nickname of Argentine Independence heroe José de San Martín) or "El Kaiser" (an allusion to Franz Beckenbauer) because of his leadership ability, his passion, and his organisational prowess on the field. He was a defender who often joined the attack, and helped generate and finish offensive plays. He was the top scoring defender, with 134 goals in 451 matches, a record since broken by Dutch defender Ronald Koeman.[3]

His aerial game was effective both defensively and in attack. He scored frequent headers in spite of his average height (1.73 m). He was an excellent free kick and penalty shooter. He was also noted for using his elbows against rivals whilst managing to avoid the referee's gaze. Passarella and the Peruvian Héctor Chumpitaz are considered the best defenders in the history of South America.[6]

International career

One of the pillars of the Argentine national team, he eventually captained the side during the 1978 World Cup held in Argentina. He was the first Argentine player to hold the World Cup, as it was handed to him first when Argentina won the final. During the qualifying rounds of the 1986 World Cup, Passarella contributed to the goal which ensured Argentina's qualification in the final minutes of their match against Peru by allowing team-mate Ricardo Gareca to score.

A bout of enterocolitis meant that he missed the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He was replaced in the first team by defender José Luis Brown. Passarella had a fractious relationship with star player Diego Maradona and coach Carlos Bilardo during the tournament; he later claimed Bilardo and Maradona made sure that he was sidelined. Even so, by being a part of the squad, he became the only player to feature in both Argentina's World Cup-winning teams.

Coaching career

After his playing days were over, he became the coach of River Plate, where he won several national titles.

Appointed as coach of the Argentine national team to replace Alfio Basile, Passarella was coach during the qualification games for the 1998 World Cup and during the competition itself, which was held in France. Passarella held to close friend Américo Gallego as assistant coach. Passarella had banned long hair, earrings and homosexuals in his squad, leading to disputes with several players.[7][8] Fernando Redondo and Claudio Caniggia eventually refused to play for Passarella and were excluded from the squad.[9] Argentina's performances never reached the expected heights, and the team was eliminated in the quarter-finals after a last minute 2–1 defeat to the Netherlands. After the elimination, Passarella left the post and was replaced by Marcelo Bielsa.

Passarella then became coach of Uruguay, but he left the post during the qualifying games for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, after having problems summoning players from Uruguayan sides.

After that episode, Passarella had a brief and unsuccessful period as coach of Parma in Italy in 2001.

In 2003, he won the Mexican football league title with the team CF Monterrey. In March 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers. He was then hired as coach of Corinthians in Brazil, but was fired after a few months after a spell of bad results.

On 9 January 2006, he was appointed River Plate coach again after 12 years to occupy the vacancy left by Reinaldo Merlo's sudden departure. On 15 November 2007, he resigned as coach after River was beaten by penalties by Arsenal de Sarandí in the semi-finals of the Copa Sudamericana 2007.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1974River PlatePrimera División225
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1982–83FiorentinaSerie A27350--20343
1986–87InternazionaleSerie A23384--71388
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1988–89River PlatePrimera División329
Total Argentina 29899
Italy 15335
Career total 451134



River Plate


River Plate


  1. "daniel passarella". River Plate - rivermillonarios.com.ar.
  2. Duncan Mackay. "Passarella becomes new River Plate President after controversial election - Inside World Football". insideworldfootball.com.
  3. 1 2 "The World's most successful Top Division Goal Scorers of all time among defensive players" by the IFFHS.
  4. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  5. "Top 50 Hardest Footballers". empireonline.com. The Times. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  6. "Passarella, el segundo mejor defensor de la historia". tn.com.ar.
  7. "Daniel Passarella - Argentinian manager". BBC News. 2 May 1998.
  8. "De vuelta en casa". ESPNDeportes.
  9. "Football: RED ALERT; Two-year agony over as Milan ace roars back.". thefreelibrary.com.
  10. "FIFA World Cup Awards: All-Star Team". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  11. Christopher Davies (5 March 2004). "Pele open to ridicule over top hundred". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  12. "Legends". Golden Foot. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  13. "World Soccer Players of the Century". World Soccer. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  14. Matteo Magrini (23 August 2016). "Festa al Franchi, presenti e assenti. No eccellenti da Rui Costa, Baggio e Batistuta" (in Italian). Fiorentina.it. Retrieved 24 August 2016.

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