Mario Kempes

Mario Alberto Kempes
Kempes in 2006
Personal information
Full name Mario Alberto Kempes Chiodi
Date of birth (1954-07-15) 15 July 1954
Place of birth Bell Ville, Argentina
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 12 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1970–1973 Instituto 13 (11)
1973–1976 Rosario Central 107 (85)
1976–1981 Valencia 142 (95)
1981–1982 River Plate 29 (15)
1982–1984 Valencia 42 (21)
1984–1986 Hércules 38 (10)
1986–1987 First Vienna 20 (7)
1987–1990 St. Pölten 96 (34)
1990–1992 Kremser SC 39 (7)
1992–1993 Fernández Vial 11 (5)
1993–1994 Pelita Jaya 18 (12)
Total 555 (300)
National team
1973–1982 Argentina 43 (20)
Teams managed
1995–1996 Pelita Jaya
1996 Lushnja
1997–1998 Mineros de Guayana
1999 The Strongest
2000 Blooming
2000–2001 Independiente Petrolero
2001–2002 S.S.D. Casarano Calcio
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mario Alberto Kempes Chiodi (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾjo alˈβeɾto ˈkempes ˈtʃjoði]; born 15 July 1954 in Bell Ville, Córdoba) is a retired Argentine footballer who played as a striker. His father, Mario, also a footballer, inspired him to play from a young age. At the age of seven he began playing with a junior team and at fourteen, he joined the Talleres reserves. A prolific goalscorer, at club level he is best known for playing for Valencia, finishing as La Liga's top goalscorer twice, and amassing 116 goals in 184 league games for the club.

At international level, Kempes was the focal point of Argentina's 1978 World Cup win where he scored twice in the final, and received the Golden Boot as top goalscorer. He also won the Golden Ball for the player of the tournament, making him one of only three players to have won all three awards at a single World Cup, along with Garrincha in 1962, and Paolo Rossi in 1982.

Kempes won South American Footballer of the Year, Onze d'Or European footballer of the Year, and World Cup Golden Ball in 1978. In 2004, he was named as one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebration.[1]

Club career

Kempes was nicknamed El Toro and El Matador. His career started at local club Instituto, where he played alongside Osvaldo Ardiles before quickly moving on to Rosario Central, where he scored 85 goals in 105 matches and established himself as a remarkable goalscorer, which prompted a move to Valencia CF. At Mestalla he would go on to win the Copa del Rey, the European Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Super Cup as well as two consecutive Pichichis, scoring 24 and 28 goals in 1976–77 and 1977–78 seasons. Famous as a hard-working forward, he used to strike from outside the penalty area with his surging runs towards goal and was not the traditional center-forward operating solely inside the box. Many defenders found difficulty handling his attacking style.

Before the 1978 World Cup, Kempes was the only foreign based player on the list of coach César Luis Menotti's national team in Argentina, he was at the time playing for Spanish giants Valencia while the other squad members all played in Argentina. The coach described him when announcing the squad he had selected for the 1978 tournament, "He's strong, he's got skill, he creates spaces and he shoots hard. He's a player who can make a difference, and he can play in a centre-forward position."

Kempes had been the top scorer in La Liga the previous two seasons and was determined to show on home soil that he could deliver against the best on the sport's greatest stage. However, in 1974, at the age of 20, he failed to get on the score-sheet in West Germany and after the first round group stage in 1978, his name was still missing among goal scorers in the tournament.

International career

During his club career he won 43 caps for Argentina and scored 20 times. He represented his country in three World Cups in 1974, 1978 and 1982, winning the competition in 1978. He was the leading goalscorer in the 1978 tournament, scoring six goals in three braces: The first two in Argentina's first semifinal group stage match against Poland, another two against Peru, and the last two of these goals in the final against the Netherlands, which Argentina won 3–1. His second goal, in the 105th minute, was the game winner in extra time. However, in the same tournament, he notoriously stopped a goal with his hand in a second round match against Poland.[2] This resulted in a penalty kick that was promptly saved by Ubaldo Fillol.[3]

In 1978, he was named South American Football Player of the Year ("El Mundo," Caracas, Venezuela). He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

Managerial career

Kempes made his full-time managing debut in Albania. His brief spell with Lushnja was groundbreaking, as he became the first foreign manager who signed a foreign player for the first time in Albanian football history. His career in Albania came to a quick end in 1997. The following year, he landed a job with Venezuelan side Mineros de Guayana. In 1999, Kempes moved to Bolivia and managed The Strongest, before taking charge of Blooming in 2000. Previously, he worked as assistant coach for Uruguayan manager Héctor Núñez in Valencia, and as a player-manager of Indonesian League champions Pelita Jaya.

Commentary career

He currently works as a football analyst and commentator in Spanish for ESPN Deportes (ESPN's Spanish language version). Moreover, he as well as Fernando Palomo and Ciro Procuna provide the commentary in the Latin American version of the videogames FIFA 13, FIFA 14, FIFA 15, FIFA 16, FIFA 17 and FIFA 18.

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1973InstitutoPrimera División13111311
1974CentralPrimera División36293629
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1976–77ValenciaLa Liga342400----3424
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1981River PlatePrimera División29152915
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
1982–83ValenciaLa Liga27131020803813
1984–85HérculesLa Liga17120191
Austria League Austrian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1986–87First ViennaBundesliga207207
1987–88Sankt PöltenFirst League32103210
1990–91Kremser SCBundesliga215215
Chile League Copa Chile League Cup South America Total
1992–93Fernández VialPrimera B115115
Indonesia League Piala Indonesia League Cup Asia Total
1993–94Pelita JayaLiga Indonesia15101510
Total Argentina 149111149111
Spain 222126222126
Austria 1554815548
Chile 115115
Indonesia 15101510
Career total 552300552300



Argentina national team

International goals

Scores and results list Argentina's goal tally first.
1.22 April 1974Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires Romania2–12–1Friendly
2.18 May 1974Parc des Princes, Paris France1–01–0Friendly
3. 22 May 1974Wembley Stadium, London England1–22–2Friendly
5.3 August 1975Estadio Olímpico, Caracas Venezuela2–15–11975 Copa América
6. 10 August 1975Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario Venezuela5–011–01975 Copa América
8.27 February 1976Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires Brazil2–12–1Roca Cup 1976
9.20 March 1976Central Lenin Stadium, Kiev Soviet Union1–01–0Friendly
10. 14 June 1978Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario Poland1–02–01978 World Cup
12. 21 June 1978Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario Peru1–06–01978 World Cup
14. 25 June 1978Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires Netherlands1–03–11978 World Cup Final



River Plate
Pelita Jaya





  1. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  2. Argentina vs Poland – World Cup 1978 – full match – part 4/8 @YouTube
  3. 1978 World Cup Match Report – Argentina – Poland
  4. "Mario Kempes". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  5. "Indonesia – List of (Semi-)Professional Champions". Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  6. "FIFA World Cup Golden Ball Awards". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  7. Ballon d'Or#Additional awards
  8. Crépin, Timothé (2 December 2015). "Pelé devait être le recordman" (in French). France Football.
  9. South American – Player of the Century Retrieved on 3 January 2009
  10. "Golden Foot Award". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  11. "La Selección de Todos los Tiempos" [The Team of All Time] (in Spanish). Argentine Football Association. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.

"Research: Soccer Net USA". Soccer Net USA. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2006. 

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