One of the most storied clubs in South America, Boca Juniors has a history of enjoying exceptional individual talent on the pitch. In our first episode of “In Exile” Billy Keenly profiles Walter Coni, the owner of Boca Juniors Restaurant in New York, who names the players that were the idols of his youth. Where do his childhood heroes rank all-time amongst the many legends to wear the Azul y Oro?
Here are KICKTV’s Top 5 Boca Juniors players of all time.
5. Antonio Roma: Boca has a rich history at the goalkeeper position. Hugo Gatti and Carlos Navarro Montoya both have 400 appearances or more for the club but we’ve singled Roma out as the top Boca number one. While Gatti and Montoya jumped from club to club in their careers, Roma arrived at La Bombonera in 1960 and never left. “Tarzan” would keep goal for some of the best Boca sides of all-time that decade, and enjoy a successful international career by representing Argentina at the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.
4. Antonio Rattin: A one club man, Rattin made 382 appearances for Boca between 1956 and 1970, ranking sixth all-time. A towering center-midfielder, he was a mark of consistency for the club on their way to five titles over his time with the squad. Rattin also won 34 caps with Argentina, his most famous appearance perhaps coming during the 1966 World Cup quarter-final against England, a match that would see him sent off.
3. Silvio Marzolini: Arguably the greatest Argentine left-back of all time, Marzolini spent 12 years roaming the Boca Juniors left flank. In that time he amassed 408 appearances, good for third on the all-time list. Boca would win six titles during his time at the club, with Marzolini also competing in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups for La Albiceleste.
2. Martin Palermo: Boca’s all-time leading scorer just misses out on earning the top spot on our list. Palermo spent four years at La Bombonera before leaving in 2000 to try his luck in Spain. But upon his return in 2004, he’d spend the rest of his career putting the ball in the back of the net for Boca, ultimately tallying 236 times across 404 appearances during his two spells with the club. Nicknamed “Titan”, Palermo scored nine times in only 15 appearances for his national team, most memorably against Greece during the 2010 World Cup at the ripe old age of 36.
1. Juan Roman Riquelme: A true number 10 with flair and an eye for goal, Riquelme epitomizes Boca Juniors. Breaking through to the first team at age 18 he spent six season in Buenos Aires before leaving for Spain and Barcelona. After another set of six seasons across the world with Barca and Villarreal, Riquelme returned to his boyhood club. Seven years later the midfielder ended his Boca career ninth in both goals, with 87, and appearances, with 370. Riquelme is widely considered the greatest Boca player of all-time.
Honorable mentions go out to one of Walter’s idols Ruben Suñé who just missed the cut, and yes, Diego Maradona! While clearly one of the greatest players ever, his one trophy with the club across only 71 appearances doesn’t earn him entry into this particular conversation.
So there you have it! What’d you think of the list? Who would be in your top 5? Let us know your ranking in the comments! And be sure to watch the first episode of “In Exile” where Billy Keenly profiles a Boca Juniors enclave in the heart of New York City.