Opinion

Five best Argentinians in French history

Publish on 23/03/2020 at 11h31 - D. CROSSAN

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How many current Argentinian stars will make the top five? ligue1.com's David Crossan makes his personal selection…

DELIO ONNIS

Reims 1971-1973, Monaco 1973-1980, Tours 1980-1983, Toulon 1983-1986
Ligue 1 champion 1978, Coupe de France winner 1980. Ligue 1 top scorer in 1975, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984

The fact Onnis was born in Italy led to him being nicknamed El Tano (The Italian) as he grew up in Argentina. Lethal in front of goal, Onnis is Ligue 1's record goalscorer with 299 goals. Not the most eyecatching of players, Onnis' success was down to his remarkable positioning and anticipation, as well as an assured touch in front of goal. In a sense Mauro Icardi is Onnis' spiritual heir. Five times the top scorer in Ligue 1 Onnis was a star in France but he never gained international recognition with Argentina, a victim of the ferocious competition for places at the time.

ANGEL DI MARIA

PSG 2015-present
Ligue 1 champion 2016, 2018, 2019. Coupe de France winner 2016, 2017, 2018. Coupe de la Ligue 2016, 2017, 2018.

Signed for 63 million euros in the summer of 2015 after a disappointing season at Manchester United, Di Maria soon rediscovered his Real Madrid form in the French capital. In just 29 Ligue 1 games in his debut campaign the 2014 World Cup finalist scored 10 goals and provided a league-leading 18 assists. After a dip in his second season his stats have been consistently impressive and the creative attacking midfielder was undoubtedly PSG's player of the calendar year 2019, making him one of the first names on Thomas Tuchel's teamsheet.

GABRIEL HEINZE

PSG 2001-2004, OM 2009-2011.
Ligue 1 champion 2010. Coupe de France 2004. Coupe de la Ligue 2010, 2011.

Heinze is one of the rare players remembered with affection by supporters of both Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille. Fans loved his demonstrative ways, combative spirit and his ferocious will to win, the famous grinta. I confess that during Heinze's PSG days I was more taken by the smoother Mauricio Pochettino, feeling that Heinze's trademark last-ditch interventions came about as a result of positional deficiencies. In my eyes he was a superior footballer when he joined OM from Real Madrid in 2009. Though starting to decline physically, he was an integral part of the 2009-2010 Ligue 1 title winning team coached by Didier Deschamps.

CARLOS BIANCHI

Reims 1973-1977, PSG 1977-1979, Strasbourg 1979-1980, Reims 1984-1985
Ligue 1 top scorer in 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979

I would have loved to have been able to include Lisandro Lopez (OL 2009-2013) in this list but there simply isn't room. And no, dual national David Trézéguet (Monaco 1995-2000) isn't going to make it either. Carlos Bianchi's claims are simply impossible to ignore. Like Onnis he was the top scorer in the top division on five occasions. A more complete player than Onnis, Bianchi had already won the last of his 14 Argentina caps before joining Reims in 1973 as Onnis headed for Monaco. Despite all the personal accolades and a 37-goal season for PSG in 1978-1979 he never won a French domestic trophy. Bianchi went on to have a successful coaching career, starting out at Reims before a brief spell in charge of Nice.

Lucho

LUCHO GONZALEZ

OM 2009-2012.
Ligue 1 champion 2010. Coupe de la Ligue winner 2010, 2011

There was only ever going to be space for one elegant playmaker in this list and it was never going to be El Flaco Javier Pastore (PSG 2011-2018). Despite flashes of brilliance, the frequently injured Pastore never lived up to the promise of his debut season. Not only does El Commandante Lucho Gonzalez have a vastly superior nickname, he was the key player in OM's 2010 title campaign. Bought for a club record 18 million euros at Deschamps' insistence despite already being 28, the former Porto star finished 2009-2010 with a league-leading 11 assists. It remains OM's only Ligue 1 crown since 1992, justifying Lucho's inclusion in spite of the two more difficult seasons that followed.