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
1976–1986 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]

Considered one of the greatest defenders of all time,[3] Passarella was also a proficient goalscorer; at one point he was football's top scoring defender, with 134 goals in 451 matches, a record subsequently broken by Dutch defender Ronald Koeman.[4] In 2004, Passarella was named one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony.[5] In 2007, The Times placed him at number 36 in their list of the 50 hardest footballers in history.[6] In 2017 he has been included in the FourFourTwo list of the 100 all-time greatest players, at the 56th position.[7]

Club career

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, where he became one of the best Argentinian defenders of his period, and started to be chosen in the Argentinian national team.

After his good performances in the world cup, in 1982 he joined Fiorentina of Italy, where he scored the goal record for a defender in one season (11 in 1986) in the Italian Serie A; his record remained until 2001, when he was beaten by Marco Materazzi.[8]

In 1986 he joined, Internazionale, where he ended his Italian playing career in 1988. 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 hero José de San Martín),"El Kaiser" (an allusion to Franz Beckenbauer) or "El Caudillo" (the Chief)[9] 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.[4]

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 chilean Elías Figueroa are considered the best defenders in the history of South America.[10]

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 captain Diego Maradona and coach Carlos Bilardo during the tournament; he later claimed Bilardo and Maradona made sure that he was sidelined.[3] Even so, by being a part of the squad, he became the only player to feature in both Argentina's World Cup-winning teams.

Prior to his departure from the 1986 squad, it was revealed by Maradona that Passarella, while playing for Fiorentina, would go to Monaco, France, to carry on an affair with the wife of another player, then boast about it in the changing rooms.[11]

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.[12][13] Fernando Redondo and Claudio Caniggia eventually refused to play for Passarella and were excluded from the squad.[14] 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, where he was sacked after five consecutives losing matches.[15]

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 Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Argentina League Cup South America Total
1974River PlatePrimera División225225
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1982–83FiorentinaSerie A2735020343
1986–87InternazionaleSerie A2338471388
Argentina League Cup South America Total
1988–89River PlatePrimera División329329
Total Argentina 298994103
Italy 15335411318221250
Career total 451134136153



International goals

Scores and results list Argentina's goal tally first. Score column indicates score after each Passarella goal.[16]

1.28 October 1976Lima, Peru Peru2–13–1Friendly
2.10 November 1976José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, Argentina Peru1–01–0
3.5 June 1977La Bombonera, Buenos Aires, Argentina West Germany1–31–3
4.18 June 1977La Bombonera, Buenos Aires, Argentina Scotland1–11–1
5.3 July 1977La Bombonera, Buenos Aires, Argentina Yugoslavia1–01–0
6.23 March 1978Nacional, Lima, Peru Peru2–03–1
7.5 April 1978La Bombonera, Buenos Aires, Argentina Romania1–02–0
8.5 April 1978La Bombonera, Buenos Aires, Argentina Romania2–02–0
9.6 June 1978Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina France1–02–11978 FIFA World Cup
10.25 April 1979Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Bulgaria2–12–1Friendly
11.26 May 1979Olimpico, Rome, Italy Italy2–22–2
12.8 August 1979Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Bolivia1–03–01979 Copa América
13.23 August 1979Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Brazil1–12–2
14.16 September 1979Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Yugoslavia Yugoslavia1–32–4Friendly
15.13 May 1980Wembley, London, England England1–21–3
16.12 October 1980Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Poland1–02–1
17.16 December 1980Olímpico Chateau Carreras, Córdoba, Argentina  Switzerland5–05–0
18.28 October 1981Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Poland1–01–2
19.5 May 1982José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, Argentina Bulgaria2–12–1
20.23 June 1982José Rico Pérez, Alicante, Spain El Salvador1–02–01982 FIFA World Cup
21.29 June 1982Sarrià, Barcelona, Spain Italy1–21–2
22.26 May 1985Polideportivo de Pueblo Nuevo, San Cristóbal, Venezuela Venezuela2–13–21986 FIFA World Cup qualification



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 Chiesa, Carlo F. (August 22, 1999). "We are the champions - I 150 fuoriclasse che hanno fatto la storia del calcio," [The 150 champions that made football's history]. Calcio 2000 (in Italian). Action Group S.r.l. p. 128.
  4. 1 2 "The World's most successful Top Division Goal Scorers of all time among defensive players" by the IFFHS.
  5. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  6. "Top 50 Hardest Footballers". empireonline.com. The Times. 13 August 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  7. Yorkhin, Michael (July 25, 2017). "FourFourTwo's 100 Greatest Footballers EVER: 60 to 51". FourFourtwo. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  8. Bagnati, Giuseppe (October 27, 2009). "I difensori e il vizio del gol Facchetti il top, poi Matrix" [Goals and defenders: Facchetti the best one, Materazzi just behind him] (in Italian). Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  9. Ferrara, Benedetto (October 5, 2000). "Ecco El Caudillo l' uomo delle sfide" [Tha Caudillo the man of challenges]. Repubblica.it. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  10. "Passarella, el segundo mejor defensor de la historia". tn.com.ar.
  11. El Diego, autobiography by Diego Maradona, pgs. 120-21
  12. "Daniel Passarella - Argentinian manager". BBC News. 2 May 1998.
  13. "De vuelta en casa". ESPNDeportes.
  14. "Football: RED ALERT; Two-year agony over as Milan ace roars back". thefreelibrary.com.
  15. "Il Parma cambia ancora esonerato Passarella" [Parma changes again Passarella sacked] (in Italian). December 18, 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  16. Mamrud, Roberto (8 January 2015). "Daniel Alberto Passarella - International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  17. "FIFA World Cup Awards: All-Star Team". Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  18. Christopher Davies (5 March 2004). "Pele open to ridicule over top hundred". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  19. "Legends". Golden Foot. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  20. "La Selección de Todos los Tiempos" [The Team of All Time] (in Spanish). Argentine Football Association. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  21. "World Soccer Players of the Century". World Soccer. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  22. 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.
World Cup-winners records
Preceded by
Franz Beckenbauer
Latest Born Captain

June 25, 1978 June 29, 1986
Succeeded by
Diego Maradona
Preceded by
Bobby Moore
Youngest Captain

June 25, 1978 present
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