51. Hector Scarone
Hector Pedro Scarone was one of the finest inside-forwards to play the game before World War II. Uruguay was the leading soccer country in the world during Scarone’s prime years. He made his debut on the national team against Argentina in 1917 and continued to be a valuable member for the next thirteen years. Scarone was the star of two Olympic gold medal winning teams, in 1924 and 1928, in which he contributed with five and three goals respectively.
He played his last matches for Uruguay during the inaugural World Cup on home soil in 1930 when his team emerged victoriously. Argentina, the country Scarone won his first cap against, were beaten 4-2 in the final, making it a perfect ending to a brilliant international career. Hector completed a hat-trick of medals in that tournament, one of four players to appear in all three winning teams. Scarone retired from the national team after the World Cup, but went on to play top level football for many years still.
A hard worker and tough competitor, Scarone was in the classic Uruguayan mould of the era and was adept at playing an individual role as well as being an important team member. He began his career at the age of 14 with Third Division Montevideo club, Sportsman. The following year he was signed by Nacional. Known as “El Magico” (The Magician), Scarone was tempted to play in Spain in 1926 and signed for Barcelona, but his stay lasted only six months. However, he returned to Europe after the war and coached Real Madrid. In 1953, he returned to Nacional as a player, despite being 55, and later coached their team. He won a total of 51 international caps and still holds the Uruguayan record with his 31 international goals.