49. Oscar Ruggeri
Born on January 26th 1962 in Corral de Bustos, Oscar Alfredo Ruggeri, also known as “El Cabezón” (big head), is one of the most successful defenders in Argentina’s football history. He began his career in Boca Juniors, that wonderful team with Maradona, Brindisi, Gatti, Trobiani and Ruggeri led Boca to win a league championship in 1981. Four years later, in 1985, Ruggeri was transferred to River Plate where he helped them lift the Libertadores Cup, the Intercontinental Trophy and a league championship in 1986.
A full-back who always gave his best, dominant in the air, committed and skillful, Ruggeri represented Argentina in three World Cups. When one speaks about the 1986 World Cup, most people think about Diego Maradona, but Oscar Ruggeri was also a key piece to Argentina’s team. He scored the third goal that gave Argentina a 3-1 victory against South Korea in the first match, and led Argentina to achieve the best defensive record in the tournament with only 5 goals conceded in 7 games.
In 1990, after a disappointing first round where Argentina were beaten by Cameroon in the opening match, the defending champions managed to reach the final after beating the favorites Brazil in the round of sixteen and the hosts Italy after penalties in the semifinal. Conceding just 4 goals in 7 matches, Maradona and Ruggeri were not able to repeat the success of Mexico 1986 as they lost the final against Germany. Ruggeri ended his 11 year international career after Argentina were knocked out by Romania in the 1994 World Cup, and his 97 caps for the national side was a record until it was beaten recently by Diego Simeone.
In 1988, Ruggeri moved to Spain and after a season at the club Logroñés, he was transferred to Real Madrid where he helped them win the 1988-89 Spanish championship. He came back to Argentina in 1990 to the club Vélez Sársfield. In 1991 he was voted South American Player of the Year by the Uruguayan newspaper ‘El País’. He played one season for the club Ancona of Italy in 1992 and the same year he joined the America of Mexico. In 1994 he was transferred to San Lorenzo of Argentina and helped them lift a league championship in 1995. He ended his career playing for Lanús in 1997 and as many other players did, he became a coach after his retirement.