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Ricardo Bochini

Ricardo Bochini
Bochini 1973.jpg
Bochini in 1973
Personal information
Full name Ricardo Enrique Bochini
Date of birth (1954-01-25) 25 January 1954 (age 68)
Place of birth Zárate, Argentina
Height 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
Belgrano de Zárate
1971–1972 Independiente
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1991 Independiente 634 (97)
2007 Barracas Bolívar 1 (0)
Total 635 (97)
International career
1973–1986 Argentina 28 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Ricardo Enrique Bochini (born 25 January 1954 in Zárate, Buenos Aires) is an Argentine former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He is nicknamed El Bocha. He spent his nearly twenty-year professional career at club Independiente, becoming one of the most emblematic players and the greatest idol in the history of the club.

In addition to winning the 1986 FIFA World Cup with the Argentina national team, Bochini won a total of 13 titles with Independiente – four Primera División championships and nine international competitions. Bochini was a childhood idol of Argentine footballer Diego Maradona.

Club career

As a boy, Bochini was wanted by Campana's club Villa Dálmine, but started playing football for Belgrano, a local club from his home city. At the age of 15, he went to Buenos Aires with his father to try to join San Lorenzo de Almagro and later Boca Juniors. He was eventually accepted into the youth system of Independiente in 1971.

He made his professional debut in the Argentine Primera División on 25 June 1972, when Independiente's coach, Pedro Dellacha sent him onto the field in the 74th minute of a match that they lost 1–0 to River Plate.

On Saturday morning (the day prior to the match) I walked over the senior squad's dress room and saw my name written on the chalkboard. I was cited for the match v. River Plate. I could not believe that, sincerely. I had always dreamed about my debut in Primera, but I was still very young.

— Bochini remembering his debut in Primera División
Bochini (right) and Daniel Bertoni with the Intercontinental Cup won in 1973

By that time Independiente had already won the 1972 Copa Libertadores, which allowed them to play the Intercontinental Cup that same year but Bochini was not part of the team that lost the tie to Ajax. He gained more participation the following year and was an important member of the team, alongside Daniel Bertoni. The team won the 1973 Copa Libertadores and the 1973 Intercontinental Cup; Bochini scored the only goal in the latter against Juventus.

The club managed to defend the Copa Libertadores title in 1974. São Paulo had won the first match of the final at Pacaembu stadium and Independiente the second one at their stadium (Bochini scored the first goal). The final had to go to a third match at the national stadium of Chile, where Ricardo Pavoni scored the only goal.

Independiente was to play the Intercontinental Cup in 1974 and 1975 against Bayern Munich but the German club declined both times. Atlético de Madrid, the 1973–74 European Cup's runners-up, played instead in 1974 and won the title. The Intercontinental Cup was not held in 1975.

Bochini dribbling in an Avellaneda derby in 1976

In 1975 Bochini was conscripted into Military service and managed to also play football, but was not able to perform as well as desired. Nevertheless, he also won the 1975 Copa Libertadores with Independiente. It was Bochini's third title in a row and the club's fourth, being the only club to achieve this so far.

Bochini was also part of the team that won the Copa Interamericana in 1974 and 1975 against Municipal and Atlético Español respectively.

After finishing in the second position of the Metropolitano Championship in 1977, Bochini won his first national championship with Independiente that same year. He scored the last goal in the final against Talleres de Córdoba that gave them the title.

Bochini repeated the title with Independiente in 1978 winning the final against River Plate. After four years without any trophies, Independiente signed Jorge Burruchaga and José Percudani, who formed a celebrated attack with Bochini that helped the team win the 1983 Metropolitano Championship, the 1984 Copa Libertadores and the 1984 Intercontinental Cup against Liverpool.

At the end of his career Bochini won the 1988–89 Argentine Primera División, this being his last title.

On 5 May 1991 Bochini played his last professional match against Estudiantes de La Plata. He played a total of 634 league matches, scoring 97 goals. He is the player with the most appearances in the Argentine Primera División after goalkeeper Hugo Gatti, who played in 775 league matches.[citation needed]

International career

Argentine coach César Menotti had selected Bochini several times in the 1970s, but eventually he lost his place for the 1978 FIFA World Cup to Norberto Alonso.

Bochini played again in the national team when Carlos Bilardo succeeded Menotti as coach, but lost his place to younger players such as Diego Maradona. Nevertheless, he was part of the squad that won the 1986 FIFA World Cup albeit he played only a few minutes in the semi-finals against Belgium, replacing Jorge Burruchaga.

Playing style

Watching him play drove me crazy with delight.

Diego Maradona

Although he was not a prolific goalscorer, he was considered one of the best playmakers of the 1980s, often making assists for teammates to score, due to his vision and accurate passing. Even after he retired, the expression pase bochinesco ("bochinesque pass") is used to refer to a precise pass made to a forward to leave him one on one against the goalkeeper, bypassing the opponent's defenders. Bochini became a master of 'la pausa', the moment when a number 10, poised to deliver a pass, delays a fraction, waiting for the player he is looking to feed to reach the ideal position.

Post retirement

Bochini (left) with Diego Maradona (who confessed to be an admirer) in 2007. In the background, President of Argentina Néstor Kirchner

In 1991, three months after his retirement, Bochini was assigned as Independiente's manager together with Carlos Fren. The couple coached only the 1991 Apertura tournament which the team ended in eleventh position.

Fifth division club Barracas Bolívar decided to include him to play a few minutes in an official match played on 27 February 2007, 16 years after his retirement, as a recognition to his career.

In November 2007 a street was named after him in the city of Avellaneda where the Estadio Libertadores de América is located.

Bochini played for Independiente's veteran team in an official tournament organized by the Argentine Football Association in 2009.

He currently works as football advisor and image representative for Independiente.

Career statistics


Season Club League League Libertadores Interamericana Supercopa Intercontinental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1972 Independiente Primera División 10 1 0 0 0 0 10 1
1973 21 4 ? 0 0 0 1 1 ? 5
1974 36 15 ? 2 2 1 2 0 ? 18
1975 35 10 ? 1 ? 11
1976 19 1 ? 1 2 1 ? 3
1977 57 8 57 8
1978 39 11 ? 2 ? 13
1979 28 5 ? 0 ? 5
1980 35 0 35 0
1981 48 5 48 5
1982 26 3 26 3
1983 54 4 54 4
1984 31 5 ? 2 1 0 ? 7
1985 9 1 ? 0 ? 1
1985–86 33 9 33 9
1986–87 44 9 ? 0 ? 9
1987–88 32 3 ? 0 ? 3
1988–89 33 2 33 2
1989–90 27 1 ? 0 ? 0 ? 1
1990–91 17 0 ? 0 ? 0
Total 634 97 ? 8 4 2 ? 0 4 1 ? 108


(Left): Bochini in 1989 posing with all the international cups won with Independiente in his career: Libertadores, Intercontinental and Interamericana; (right): Bochini with the Argentina national team in 1986.
Argentina national team
Year Apps Goals
1973 1 0
1974 2 0
1975 1 0
1976 10 0
1977 4 0
1978 0 0
1979 1 0
1980 0 0
1981 0 0
1982 0 0
1983 0 0
1984 6 0
1985 2 0
1986 1 0
Total 28 0







See also

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