Ángel Labruna

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Ángel Labruna
Angel Labruna 1940.jpg
Labruna in 1940.
Personal information
Full name Ángel Amadeo Labruna
Date of birth (1918-09-28)September 28, 1918
Place of birth Buenos Aires, Argentina
Date of death September 20, 1983(1983-09-20) (aged 64)
Playing position Striker
Number 10
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1939–1959 River Plate 515 (293)
1960–1961 Rampla Juniors 16 (3)
1961 Platense 2 (0)
1961 Rangers de Talca 5 (0)
National team
1942–1958[1] Argentina 37 (17)
Teams managed
1968–1970 River Plate
1971–1972 Rosario Central
1973 Racing Club
1974 Talleres de Córdoba
1975–1981 River Plate
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 27 June 2012.
† Appearances (Goals).

Angel Amadeo Labruna, (b. Buenos Aires September 28, 1918 – d. September 20, 1983), was a football player and coach in Argentina. He is the joint top scorer of the Argentine First Division with 293 goals, Arsenio Erico shares this honour. Labruna was also part of the celebrated River Plate offense, nicknamed La Máquina (The Machine), and he was considered one of the best South-American footballers of his generation.


Playing career[edit]

His debut in Primera División was in replacement of José Manuel Moreno who had been suspended by the club, wearing the number 10. The match disputed on June 18, 1939 in La Plata against Estudiantes, which defeated River by 1-0.

His goals scored and outstanding performances caused that Moreno had to play on the right side of the field when he was allowed to play again. Labruna played in River for 20 years, winning 9 domestic championships with the team (1941, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957) and being the top scorer twice (1943 with 23 goals and 1945 with 25).[2]

He was part of his club's legendary team along with Juan Carlos Muñoz, José Manuel Moreno, Adolfo Pedernera, and Félix Loustau, where he played as inner-left forward. Although this attacking line only disputed 18 games with those players, they were regarded as one of the best forward line in the history of Argentine football. They were nicknamed La Máquina (The Machine) due to their skills with the ball and synchronized play. Coach and former player Carlos Peucelle said that his team was formed by "A goalkeeper and 10 forwards", using an imaginary "1-10".

Labruna holds a number of records for River Plate, including his record of 16 goals in the superclásico derby with fierce rival Boca Juniors.

In 1959, Labruna left River Plate having defended club's colors in 515 matches and scoring 293 goals what made him the all-time highest goalscorer in the Argentine first division along with Arsenio Erico, a record that remains nowadays. He later played two seasons in the Chilean C.S.D. Rangers, and Uruguayan team Rampla Juniors of Montevideo, before returning to Argentina to finish his career at Platense, when he was 43 years old.

Labruna played 37 matches for the Argentina national team, scoring 17 goals. He also won two South American Championships (1946 and 1955) and as a nearly 40-year old he played in the final phase of 1958 FIFA World Cup held in Sweden.[3]

As other great players of his generation, Labruna could not participate in other World Cups due to the event's suspension during World War II and later for the decision taken by the Argentine Football Association, which did not compete in the World Cups of Brazil and Switzerland.

Team Years Matches Goals Average
Argentina River Plate [4] 1939-1959 515 293 0,57
Uruguay Rampla Juniors 1960 16 3 0,19
Chile C.S.D. Rangers 1960 3 0 0,00
Argentina Platense 1961 2 0 0,00
Argentina Argentina national team [5]  ?-1958 37 17 0,46
Total Career 1939-1961 573 316 0,54

Coaching career[edit]

After ending his career as a player he became Assistant Coach and Coach in River Plate, Defensores de Belgrano, Platense, Rosario Central (where he won his first Nacional championship, in 1971), Talleres de Córdoba, Racing Club, Lanús, Chacarita and Argentinos Juniors.

In 1975 River called Labruna to offer him work as coach. Labruna won two championships that same year, breaking a "curse" of 18 years without titles. Labruna's period in charge of River Plate brought the club much domestic success, a side endowed with players such as Daniel Passarella, Norberto Alonso and Leopoldo Luque.


La Máquina: Muñoz, Moreno, Pedernera, Labruna and Loustau in 1941.


  • River Plate
Primera División (9): 1941, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957
  • Argentina national team
Campeonato Sudamericano (2): 1946, 1955


  • Rosario Central
Primera División (1): Nacional 1971
  • River Plate
Primera División (6): Metropolitano 1975, Nacional 1975, Metropolitano 1977, Nacional 1979, Metropolitano 1979, Metropolitano 1980

Personal life[edit]

Labruna had two sons, Daniel (dead in 1971) and Omar, who worked with Ramón Díaz in River Plate and then coached Olimpo de Bahía Blanca and other teams.

Labruna died in September 19, 1983 from a heart attack, at 64 years old. He is buried at La Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires. Every September 28, River Plate's fans celebrate the "International River Plate Fan's Day" as a tribute to one of the club's greatest idols.


External links[edit]