Arsenio Erico

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Erico and the second or maternal family name is Martínez.
Arsenio Erico
Arsenio Erico 1934.jpeg
Erico covered on El Gráfico in 1934.
Personal information
Full name Arsenio Pastor Erico Martínez
Date of birth (1915-03-30)30 March 1915
Place of birth Asunción, Paraguay
Date of death 23 July 1977(1977-07-23) (aged 62)
Place of death Buenos Aires, Argentina
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1930–1933 Nacional ? (?)
1933–1946 Independiente 325 (293)
1946–1947 Huracán 7 (0)
1947–1949 Nacional ? (?)
National team
Paraguay (unofficial) 26 (56)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Erico heading the ball in a match against River Plate, 1935.
Erico while playing for Independiente.

Arsenio Pastor Erico Martínez (30 March 1915 – 23 July 1977) was a Paraguayan football striker. He is the all-time highest goalscorer in the Argentine first division, with 293 goals,[1][2] all of them scored in Independiente. Erico is also considered the best Paraguayan footballer of all time.[3] A striker noted for his technique, finishing and aerial ability, Erico was one of the finest players of the 1930s and one of greatest players to have played in the Argentinean league.[4]

Career[edit]

As a player[edit]

Erico, born in Asunción, Paraguay, started his career in Club Nacional of Paraguay and made his debut in the club's first team squad at the age of 15. During the early 1930s, Erico was part of the Paraguayan Red Cross football team that was on tour in Argentina in order to gather funds for the Chaco War. Because of his good performances during the friendly matches in the mentioned tour, Club Atlético Independiente of Argentina signed him. He made his debut for Independiente on 5 May 1936 and began to demonstrate why he had acquired the nickname 'red jumper'. Before the 1938 FIFA World Cup Erico was offered an extravagant amount of money to play for the Argentine national football team but he rejected it, gaining the praise in the general Argentine public for remaining loyal to his country of origin.[2] Soon after this, however, Erico caught an infection which led to a long period out on the sidelines. Then, in 1935, he broke his leg. After he recovered, however, he reminded everyone of his talent by taking Independiente to the league title in 1938 and 1939. Later, he joined Huracán where he only played 7 games in 1947 before retiring.

As a coach[edit]

Erico had a brief career as a football coach after retiring from professional football. He managed the club where he started his career as a footballer, Nacional and also had a brief stint in Club Sol de América where he led the team to a second place finish in the 1957 Paraguayan league.

Legacy[edit]

Erico was an inspiration to Argentine player Alfredo Di Stéfano, who considered him one of the greatest players ever. Other figures like Brazilian striker Leônidas da Silva and Paraguayan Delfín Benítez Cáceres also consider Erico as one of the best players in history.[5] Argentine striker Francisco Varallo remembers Erico as a "phenomenon" that would excel in scoring headers due to his high jumps.[6]

Club Nacional stadium is named after him, and sections of the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Paraguay and the Libertadores de América stadium in Avellaneda also carry Arsenio Erico's name.[7] He died on 23 July 1977.

Career summary[edit]

[8]

Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Argentina League Cup Total
1934 Independiente Primera División 21 12
1935 18 22
1936 26 21
1937 34 47
1938 30 43
1939 32 40
1940 30 29
1941 27 26
1942 3 0
1943 29 17
1944 26 12
1945 30 20
1946 19 4
1947 Huracán Primera División 7 0
Career total 334 293

References[edit]