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Legendary Football Players: Arsenio Erico

Arsenio Erico

110. Arsenio Erico

Probably the greatest player ever to come from Paraguay, Arsenio Erico never played an official international game but his goalscoring achievements at club level give him a place as one of the most prolific strikers to play the game. Breaking into first team football as a teenager with Club Nacional, he made an impression on Argentinian club Independiente during a fundraising tour, and moved to the club with which he would spend most of his career.

Building a reputation with Independiente during the 1930s, he finished as the leading goalscorer in Argentina in 1937 with 47 goals in just a 32 game league season, but the team could only finish as runners-up. Domestic success was not long in coming though, as Independiente took the league title in both 1938 and 1939. Erico scored 83 goals in the two title winning seasons, leading the league each time.

At the time of Erico's career, Paraguay were not playing official international matches and so, despite a prolific scoring record in unofficial games, he never got the chance to represent his country on the world stage. Ahead of the 1938 World Cup, his adopted home of Argentina made him a lucrative offer to accept citizenship and play for them in the tournament in France, but he politely declined out of a desire to remain loyal to Paraguay, a decision that earned him much respect among the Argentinian public.

Erico remained with Independiente until 1946, amassing a total of 293 goals which remains both a club record and a record for the top division in Argentina, although having been tied for that honour by Angel Labruna. At the end of his career, he played a handful of games for Huracán before returning to Paraguay and to Club Nacional, coaching the team for a short time. He also briefly coached Club Sol de América. Arsenio Erico died in 1977, aged 62.

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