Juan Gilberto Funes
Funes during his tenure on River Plate in 1986
|Full name||Juan Gilberto Funes Baldovino|
|Date of birth||8 March 1963|
|Place of birth||San Luis, Argentina|
|Date of death||11 January 1992(aged 28)|
|Place of death||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|1981||Huracán de San Luis|
|1982||Sarmiento de Junín|
|1983–1984||Gimnasia y Esgrima (M)||9||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Juan Gilberto Funes Baldovino (8 March 1963 – 11 January 1992), nicknamed "El Búfalo" (The Buffalo), was an Argentine footballer, who played as a striker, known for his physical style of play. He was born in the San Luis, Argentina.
He first played football for local club Huracán de San Luis, then Estudiantes de La Plata, Sarmiento de Junin, Jorge Newbery and Gimnasia y Esgrima de Mendoza, and then for Colombian Millonarios FC in 1984. In that year, his team became runner-up of Colombian Primera A, and the following year he achieved a record 33 goals in a single season. Nowadays, he is one of the most iconic idols of the club.
Funes was a key player in the River Plate team that won the 1986 Copa Libertadores for the first time, in which he scored a goal in the first match in Cali, which River won by the score of 2–1 and at home in Buenos Aires, for the 1–0 victory against América de Cali. Ironically, this was not the first time Colombian teams and fans saw his moves; in the glory days of the Colombian league in the 1980s, Funes played for Millonarios, the team with the most championships in Colombia, where he simply "schooled" other forwards with his opportunistic technique and his attitude.
After his tenure on River Plate, Funes moved to Greece where he played for Olympiacos. With the Piraeus club Funes scored some very important goals (2 goals in the 1988 Greek Cup semifinal against OFI FC, scoring 10 goals in 29 appearances).
He returned to his homeland for a second time, being about to play for Boca Juniors but he finally could not debut with the team due to a heart failure detected by the doctors. Despite that, Funes did not end his professional career, joining Vélez Sársfield. However, his health forced him to retire shortly afterwards. He died of a heart attack on January 11, 1992 and a few years later until today the Estadio de San Luis carries his name.
He is considered today one of the great legends of the Millonarios of Bogotá, and the River Plate fans remember his goals in the Copa Libertadores Final. Millonarios FC has one group of fans called La Barra del Bufalo in honor of the idol of the club.
Funes was capped four times by the Argentina National Team.
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