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Enzo Francescoli

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Title: Enzo Francescoli  
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Subject: Mario Kempes, South American Footballer of the Year, Juan Sebastián Verón, Miguel Ángel Brindisi, Sergio Goycochea
Collection: 1961 Births, 1983 Copa América Players, 1986 Fifa World Cup Players, 1987 Copa América Players, 1989 Copa América Players, 1990 Fifa World Cup Players, 1993 Copa América Players, 1995 Copa América Players, Argentine Primera División Players, Association Football Forwards, Cagliari Calcio Players, Copa América-Winning Players, Expatriate Footballers in Argentina, Expatriate Footballers in France, Expatriate Footballers in Italy, Fifa 100, Ligue 1 Players, Living People, Montevideo Wanderers F.C. Players, Olympique De Marseille Players, Primera División Argentina Players, Rcf Paris Players, River Plate Footballers, Serie a Players, South American Footballer of the Year Winners, Sportspeople from Montevideo, Torino F.C. Players, Uruguay International Footballers, Uruguayan Expatriate Footballers, Uruguayan Expatriates in Argentina, Uruguayan Expatriates in France, Uruguayan Expatriates in Italy, Uruguayan Footballers, Uruguayan People of Italian Descent, Uruguayan Primera División Players
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Enzo Francescoli

Enzo Francescoli
Francescoli in 2007.
Personal information
Full name Enzo Francescoli Uriarte
Date of birth (1961-11-12) 12 November 1961
Place of birth Montevideo, Uruguay
Height 5 ft 11 14 in (1.81 m)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980–1982 Wanderers 74 (20)
1983–1986 River Plate 113 (68)
1986–1989 RC Paris 89 (32)
1989–1990 Olympique Marseille 28 (11)
1990–1993 Cagliari 98 (17)
1993–1994 Torino 24 (3)
1994–1997 River Plate 84 (47)
Total 510 (198)
National team
1982–1997 Uruguay 73 (17)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Enzo Francescoli Uriarte (Spanish pronunciation: ; Italian: ; born 12 November 1961 in Montevideo) is a former Uruguayan football player. Francescoli was nicknamed El Príncipe ("The Prince" in Spanish) or Le Prince (in French). He played 73 times for the Uruguay national team between 1982 and his retirement in 1997, making him the most capped outfield player in Uruguayan international football at the time.[1] He is regarded as one of the greatest players of Uruguay, perhaps the greatest to have never played for the two biggest clubs in the country. He was known for his classic and elegant style, like El Príncipe, in reference to Hannibal Ciocca, a former Uruguayan player from the 1930s and 40. He later was the only Uruguayan included by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list, and was chosen by the International Federation of History and Statistics Football as the sixth greatest player of his country and 24th of South America in the Twentieth Century.[2]

He is considered a playmaker in the decadent age of Celeste. He has been in two World Cups, 1986 and 1990, when Uruguay fell in the eighth finals both times (against rival and future champion Argentina and host Italy, respectively), for which he had just arrived, in both cases, as one of the best third-placed in the first phase. When already a veteran, Uruguay failed to qualify for the world cups of 1994 and 1998. Altogether, he played eight matches in the World Cup, winning only one - against the then very inexperienced South Korea, and only 1 - 0.[1][3][4][5][6]

One of his greatest triumphs, while wearing the Celeste jersey, was saving the team in the 1989 Cup América. Francescoli played in four of the five games, winning three of those, reaching the final round, losing only to Brazil, whom had home field advantage. They placed second overall, with Francescoli scoring the first and last goal for Celeste.[1]

Francescoli admired his rival Argentina, where he felt more appreciated than in his own homeland, where none of his three titles were much celebrated. In neighbouring Argentina, where he now lives, he played for the club River Plate, being one of the biggest fans of the club, whom he played for many years and was the lead scorer and driver for the second (and last) team win in the club's Libertadores Cup, having won a total of five Argentine titles in the six years in which he served for the team. He later enjoyed success with two teams while playing in France, despite the bad results of Racing Paris and its ephemeral passage by another, Olympique de Marseille.[7][8]


  • Club career 1
    • Montevideo Wanderers 1.1
    • River Plate 1.2
  • International career 2
    • In France 2.1
    • In Italy 2.2
    • Return to the River 2.3
    • Uruguay Squad 2.4
  • Beyond the field 3
    • River Plate leadership 3.1
  • Legacy 4
  • Career statistics 5
    • International statistics 5.1
    • International goals 5.2
  • Honours 6
    • Clubs 6.1
    • National team 6.2
    • Individual 6.3
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Club career

His official debut was with the Uruguayan team Montevideo Wanderers. He played several years for River Plate of Argentina where he won five league titles and the Copa Libertadores in 1996 in his two spells with the club. He also played for the French RC Paris (Matra Racing Paris at then time), Olympique de Marseille, and the Italian teams Cagliari and Torino.

Montevideo Wanderers

As a fan of Peñarol, Francescoli nearly started his career on Aurinegra, where he was well regarded after a test. However, unimpressed by the conduct of the team, where he spent more time watching than playing, he quit the club.[9] He eventually would join one of the greatest teams, River Plate, and could have therefore also started there, where he was approved, but chose to join the football team at Salesian College while studying, in which he was a part of five collegiate championships in his time there.[8]

In his last year of high school, he received an offer from the Montevideo Wanderers, after having been scouted extensively by the team, along with several others. He postponed joining the team however, as he desired to stay committed to school and graduate. In 1980, he debuted in his first team the Bohemians, earning their best season result since their fourth and final national title in 1931 (still an amateur football league) earning second place. Besides his elegant nature that would earn him the nickname El Príncipe (a nickname inherited from Hannibal Ciocca, a former player of Wanderers), another habit he developed there was to chew gum during games; chewing caused him to salivate, thus eliminating dryness in his mouth. He stated that he became so dependent on the habit that he did not feel right when he did not have any gum before games.[8]

In 1980, the club finished third at the continental competition. In the Uruguayan Primera División in 1981, Francescoli performed well for the team, finishing behind only Peñarol and Nacional, again succumbing in the finals. Still, months later, in February 1982, he made his debut for the Uruguayan national team. Membership in the Libertadores liguilla finally came later that year, ironically after the worst performance for the Wanderers Francescoli had with the national championship - at fifth place.[10]

Vying for a spot with the 1983 Libertadores team for the cup, Enzo and his team - in which other players included Luis Alberto Acosta, and Raúl Esnal (who would later go with him to the Copa America 1983), and Ariel Krasouski - had a respectable season, finishing first in their league, tied with the powerhouse El Nacional, and were only eliminated in the quarterfinals.[11]

River Plate

In 1983, River Plate, after witnessing his performance in the Copa America that year, signed him for $310,000, in what would be one of his best contracts. His start here, however, was irregular and peculiar. The team finished the Metropolitan Championship (the Argentine championship since 1969 was divided into two tournaments, National and Metropolitan) lower than it had performed due to complex political maneuvering and regulation changes, promoting instead one of the big five Argentine teams, San Lorenzo. By today’s method, River Plate would have finished two positions above where it did that season.[12]

The following year, Francescoli was largely passed up and was unable to show his potential, splitting time with other players and often never touching the field. He eventually saw more playing time towards the end of the season when the team made the National Championships, where the team reached the final, but was defeated by Ferro Carril Oeste, 3 - 0 in the first leg, in part by the monumental Núñez. In the Metropolitan Uruguayan championship the team finished as the top scorer with goals, but only fourth in overall points, with champions Argentinos Juniors winning instead.[13]

Still, Francescoli, as part of River Plate and team Uruguay (here he played with players like Nelson Gutiérrez and Antonio Alzamendi, among others), was voted the best South American footballer of 1984. He received an offer from América de Cali, later found to be funded by the Cali Cartel (who used the club to launder money), which was doing well that year, and would go on to be the Libertadores Cup champions between 1985 and 1987. However, eager to excel for River Plate, Francescoli opted to stay in Núñez.[8]

Although the team did not win the championship in 1985, Francescoli was officially named the best player in Argentina, and was the first foreign player to be given the honor. They finally won the Argentine title in the next championship of 1985/86 (which established a single tournament, along the lines of European rules), and ending with him as the top scorer ( with 25 goals, three of them in a frantic 5-4 shootout against Argentinos Juniors for the championship of the Libertadores Cup). In January 1986, in the final round of the championship, he scored his most famous goal; a bicycle kick for a 5 - 4 victory (obtained with three goals in the last seven minutes, including another of his) on the then respected Polish team, who participated in the tournament which the big five Argentine clubs organized that season.[14]

After winning the title, the team went on to the World Cup of 1986. However they would lose to Argentina, who would then win the next five games to win the Cup. After this, he was hired by a European league team Racing Paris, newly promoted into league two. Nantes was willing to pay 2.5 million dollars for his contract, but then River Plate president Hugo Santilli, bet that the star would fetch a greater price after Copa.[15]

International career

Francescoli played 73 times for the Uruguay national team scoring 17 goals, between 1982 and 1997. He made appearances at the 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups. He won the Copa América three times with Uruguay in 1983, 1987 and 1995, he also played in the 1989 and 1993 editions of the tournament.

In France

Francescoli joined this long established team from Paris, that had been in a slump since the 1950s and had recently come into a rivalry with its growing neighbor, Paris Saint-Germain (founded in 1970), which, incidentally, had won the French title the season before. Still, automotive company Matra decided to sponsor the team, which resulted in the name being changed to Matra Racing in 1987. Seeking to dominate the 1993 League One Copa UEFA Champions, automobile company magnate Jean-Luc Lagardère provided funding allowing the team to sign Luis Fernández, Maxime Bossis, Thierry Tusseau, Pierre Littbarski, David Ginola, Sonny Silooy, Eugène Ekéké and another Uruguayan Rubén Paz. In this first season, the team managed to finished 13th overall in a large part due to Francescoli’s 14 goals; he was the top scorer of league that season.[16]

Francescoli became a team idol and in 1987 was elected the best foreign player in France. For the 1987/88 season, the Portuguese coach Artur Jorge, who had previously won the UEFA championship cup, was brought to the team. Jorge would be the best technical coach for Francescoli, as he would later state. Matra had been struggling for top rankings, alternating between third and second place from the second half of the season on. However, after a series of games, the team stood eleven points behind Monaco. Francescoli scored eight times, again being the top scorer of Matra Racing. He received an offer at this time from Juventus de Turin in due to the untimely retirement of its captain Michel Platini in 1987, although he turned it down. After the championship of 1988-89 he was again the top scorer on the team and saved the team from falling into last place.[17]

The sub-par season of Matra did not prevent him from being seen as a star worldwide. He earned a spot on the international team that played against the Brazilian national team in a friendly that marked the farewell of Zico Brazil in March 1989, and scored one of the goals of the 2 - 1 victory. But he had been disappointed and frustrated in the French Cup; in the three years he was there, he never made it into the top eight of the tournament.Racing soon filed for bankruptcy and fell out of the first French league, losing the spot to the financially sound Paris Saint-Germain.[18]

In Marseille, Francescoli played for only one season when he grabbed the attention of an important fan: Zinédine Zidane. Francescoli was sorely missed on his former team Racing, which could not climb past relegation without him that season. Ironically, the two teams met in the semifinals of the French Cup, although Paris ended up winning. In the next round, the team lost, although under odd circumstances. Francescoli has scored a goal in the last eight minutes that would have tied it up, although it was not counted due to a technicality and the team lost. [19]

In Italy

After the World Cup of 1990 held in Italy, they arrived to face the hosts themselves in the tournament. Along with José Oscar Herrera and Daniel Fonseca, he was signed to Cagliari Calcio, where he initially struggled relegation in his first two seasons at the new club, in which he totalled only four (1990/91) and six goals (1991/92) in the Italian Serie A. In the tournament, Cagliari Calcio also did not fare well in the Cup, being eliminated in the first round.[20]

His third season in Italy was by far his best. In the Italian Cup tournament, he scored three goals before the team was eliminated in the quarter finals against Milan. In Serie A, the team earned a surprising sixth place, with a spot in the UEFA Cup with Francescoli scoring seven goals, his highest in a single season in Serie A. Francescoli accepted an offer from Turin and moved to Torino F.C., the recent champion of the Coppa Italia.[20]

With Francescoli, the team again was close to earning the title, but Ancona defeated them in a semi-final upset. The season in Serie A, however, was more eventful, with a heavily contested championship. Torino deviated from relegation for a spot in the UEFA Cup; the club earned four points above the required amount to enter the tournament. Already in the European Cup Winners' Cup, in which they had taken first in the 1993 Italian Cup, the team was defeated in the quarter-finals against eventual champions, Arsenal.[20]

In the 1993 Italian Super Cup 1993, he was the closest to ever winning the trophy, ultimately losing to Milan. He did not perform as well as other season, scoring his lowest number of goals in four seasons of the Italian league: only three.[21]

Return to the River

Now 33 years old, after an uninspiring career for Torino and Europe, he decided to return to River Plate. Despite his age, he was determined and performed well in the Apertura championship team that year (the Argentine season returned to being divided into two separate tournaments, Apertura and Clausura, in 1990/91), it being his third time in this tournament. This was also the first time the River went undefeated to become the national champions.[22]

The team had a less exciting season in 1995, finishing tenth in the Clausura and seventh in the Apertura in and then falling in the semifinals of the Libertadores Cup against Colombia's Atletico Nacional. The team had exceptionally high penalties that caused it to suffer in the season, and it was eventually eliminated in the semifinals by future champions Independiente in the Supercopa Libertadores, in which Francescoli played as gunner. That year he was voted best player in South American. He also received the title of Argentine player of the year, ten years after first receiving it.[23]

The next year, he retired from Celeste to devote himself entirely to the River. The first season was the most important; Francescoli led a youth team (among them: Ariel Ortega, Matias Almeyda, Juan Pablo Sorin, Hernan Crespo, and Marcelo Gallardo), to win the title of the Libertadores Cup in 1996 - the second division in the league, briefly tying the Boca Juniors 15. Until 2013, it was the last time the team finished number one in the group in the tournament. The team had impressive, albeit not as stellar, performances after the 1996 season, which ended a series of bad performances in the Argentine championship.[8]

At the end of the year, he returned to Uruguay, rejoining River and defeating Juventus in the Intercontinental Cup, having the chance to defeat the Boca Juniors for the trophy, but ultimately losing to Italy. On the opposing team was a substantial fan of Francescoli, Zinédine Zidane. Zidane commented "when I saw Francescoli play, he was the player I wanted to be. He was the player that I saw and admired at Olympique de Marseille -.. My idol; I played against him when he was at Juventus... Enzo is like a god,".

With the disappointment of losing the Intercontinental at Monumental in the eighth-finals with the Libertadores and an early ejection due to penalties Racing was fortunate to follow with a "tricampeonato"; three consecutive tournaments championships at Clausura, Apertura, and the Supercopa Libertadores the next year.

Francescoli announced he would retire in early 1998 - Uruguay not had qualified for the World Cup that year - refusing an offer of roughly a million dollars to continue, feeling he could not play another year. Poor sleep caused by stress forced him to seek therapy since 1996. His legacy was already next to other soccer legends: Angel Labruna, Alfredo Di Stéfano and others playing for the Torcedores.

His last two games for Millonarios officers were historical: within four days they won two titles. The first, on Wednesday December 17, 1997, was the second leg of the Supercopa Libertadores decision against São Paulo. It was the last tournament, and the River had never won, which presented a situation described as "now or never". The Brazilian team, who had tied outside the home, were beaten by 1 x 2 in Monumental de Núñez. On Sunday December 21, the river tied in Estádio José Amalfitani in a 1-1 match with the Argentine Juniors and became Apertura champions of 1997, concluding the Argentine tricampeonato (having beaten the Apertura 1996 and Clausura 1997 to advance), beating arch-rivals Boca Juniors, the other contender for the title, only suffering one defeat in the league. The two Olympic titles in four days is still a record mark of River in Argentine football, and their proximity to home only the national pride of this moment.

On August 1, 1999, he returned to the Monumental for a friendly farewell match. 65,000 spectators were present, among them the president of Argentina, Carlos Menem, and President of Uruguay, Julio María Sanguinetti, as well as some fans from his own archrival the Boca Juniors. The game brought together the friends of the River with those of the team he had hoped to play for during his childhood. Peñarol won 4-0. After the match, the field was taken by thousands of children, whom Enzo, along with other players, signed autographs for and kicked the ball with them.

Another River Plate legend who came from Uruguay, Walter Gomez, gave initial kick. When approaching the day of his departure, the Argentine composer Ignacio Copani dedicated his song "Inmenzo" (a pun on "Enzo") to Francescoli, considered as a of the most emotional songs to a player-tribute, ending with the crowd requesting it be played again. Copani also performed the song in another future friendly.

After his retirement from the River, the team could only succeed locally, failing to impose the same international respect as before, later entering a domestic crisis that would culminate in an unprecedented downgrade in 2011 - ironically, the same day he was with the team that defeated the Libertadores of 1996 fifteen years before. Francescoli is still the seventh leading scorer of the team, with 115 goals in 198 matches, and is third among foreign strikers in Argentina, only behind Paraguayan Arsenio Erico and Delfin Benítez Cáceres.

Uruguay Squad

In 1981, one year after the professional debut, he joined the Uruguayan team that won the South American Football Championship Sub-20. It was voted among the best of the world that year. He debuted in 1982 for the senior team in a friendly tournament in which the country competed in Índia. The following year, already part of the Charrúa squad in the Copa America 1983, he made the first goal in the 2-0 victory against Brazil.[1]

Uruguay qualified for the World Cup in 1986 after a close match against Chile in the group that included Peru (after winning the vacancy came into direct confrontation with the Chileans, who had the advantage of a draw in the last round, in Montevideo). Francescoli's ability was questioned intensley by critics. However, the Uruguayan coach Omar Borrás stated "Everyone talks about Platini, Maradona, of Elkjær ... but our Francescoli has everything to be the highlight of the World Cup".[1]

Uruguay's participation in the tournament, however, was less than stellar. They had two draws and two defeats, and Francescoli only scored once the entire tournament in the infamous 1-6 defeat to Denmark.[24] This tournament was seen by Enzo as his worst performance in his career. He stated in an interview “the only thing I ask is forgiveness from all Uruguayans." Uruguay fell ultimately to the eventual champions Argentina, led by Diego Maradona.

The disappointment was assuaged the next year with Copa America. Uruguay made it to the semifinals, as the title holder. Even without an appointment, Francescoli shone there against hosts Argentina in the Monumental de Núñez (the stadium of River Plate). A win against Chile followed, and that achievement distinguished Uruguay as the greatest tournament performer up until then.

Two years later, the Uruguayans were again in the tournament. The tournament was decided between them and the host Brazil, coincidentally similar circumstances to the 1950 World Cup: Maracanã in the same, on July 16, with the Brazilians again taking advantage of the tie in a direct confrontation by the last round of a quadrangular final. This time, again, the hosts had the advantage.During the qualifiers for the 1990 World Cup again the Uruguayans had to overcome several obstacles to get qualification: Bolivia proved to be the biggest opponent in the group also formed with Peru. Francescoli and colleagues conducted the last two games of the campaign with the goal of beating them, and succeeded in ensuring their place in the Cup in a tiebreaker against Bolivia.

In the Second Cup Enzo did not perform much better than the first; although many analysts regarded him as one of the favorites for the talents he brought to his squad, Uruguay again did not fare very well, defeating only South Korea (and only 1-0) and again advanced to the second stage as one of the best third placed, to fall back in the eighth-final, this time against the host Italy. After the world, coach Oscar Tabarez was replaced by Luis Cubilla, who had trained the under-used Francescoli for River Plate when Enzo arrived at the club years before. Cubilla brought a strong feeling of nationalism among Uruguayan fans at the time, specifically of resentment against the country's athletes who worked in Europe, and even hinted that Francescoli, and also Rubén Sosa, Carlos Alberto Aguilera and Oscar Joseph Herrera, were "dinheiristas". Appalled, they refused to play if Cubilla did not recant his comments; and these players were left out of the Copa America 1991.

Without the "European" stars, Uruguay collapsed in the first round. By 1993, they were already back. Even summoned by Cubilla, however, Enzo was benched in the tournament and Uruguay again fell in the quarter-final. Only in a friendly after the Copa America 1993 iwas the gap of more than three years without playing Celeste closed. Playing again for these two Copa Americas, Argentina reversed the situation and won both matches against Uruguay as the biggest winner of the competition.

Still contested, he was used in the qualifying round for the World Cup of 1994 in which Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil reached the final round of the group also formed with Ecuador and Venezuela as the two wildcard candidates. The three had ten points, while Brazil and Uruguay would make a direct confrontation at the Maracana. Uruguat won 2-0 and, as Bolivia was able to draw a point for that round, the Orientales came third out of Copa. In the United States Francescoli overcame his biggest struggle under Cubilla, who said of him "Get a passport to that traitor to the tell me collapsed in a corner crying Maracana".

A breath of reliefe came in the Copa America 1995, when Uruguay in their already under another coach, Héctor Núñez. Returning to the tournament, Francescoli lifted the Centenary Stadium one last time the trophy in the final against Brazil. The achievement was a difficult one and Uruguay and Argentina became the first and second place winners of the tournament, holding the record for the most points (which was maintained until 2011, when his country was able to isolate themselves again to get the fifteenth title). Francescoli was again elected the best player in South America, already at 34, eleven years after having first received the same honor. In the tournament, he also scored what would be his last goal for the national team, against Paraguay.

Francescoli had opted to retire from the team after this achievement. However, in qualifying for the World Cup for 1998, his teammates persuaded Enzo to return, with the Uruguayan president himself, Julio María Sanguinetti, speaking with him personally. In October 1996 he returned to play in the Copa America, although he was absent from the 1997. He played in eight games in June of that year after the tournament. His last two games with Celeste, in July and August of that year. Uruguayans still had three commitments before the end of the South American qualifiers but reached the last round with no mathematical chance of qualifying, finishing seventh in the group.

Altogether, Francescoli held 73 official games for his country, with 37 wins, 18 draws and 18 defeats and 17 goals. He was praised as the player with the second most appearances for Uruguay, despite the three years he was disowned and another that was voluntarily retired, with only four games behind the record holder, goalkeeper Rodolfo Rodríguez. Later, it would be surpassed by goalkeeper Fabián Carini and also by striker Diego Forlán.

Beyond the field

Francescoli is married to Mariela Yern since 1984 and has two sons with her, Bruno and Marco. His wife is a psychologist, which he stated was of great value to their marriage: as a soccer player he required emotional sympathy, he stated in an interview program in 2000. Bruno studied law, while Marco tried to follow father's footsteps, eventually playing for Cagliari, where he played for three years, and then Estudiantes La Plata, but did not get much further. One factor for his retirement from soccer was his desire to be closer to his two sons. Enzo has two brothers, Luis Ernesto, two years older, and Pablo, thirteen years younger.

Since childhood he was known as a shy and reserved person, who spoke little and, in what he regarded as a virtue, was very observant, being regarded by those who knew him as phenomenal in and out of the field. He was made the Uruguayan ambassador of UNICEF succeeding Diego Forlan in 2002, and went to live with his family in Miami, where he would create with former manager Paco Casal, the station Gol TV. Francescoli returned to Buenos Aires five years later, although Enzo still travelled monthly to the United States because of his activities there. In 2010, he coached the Channel 7 team, Argentina's state broadcaster, in the transmission for the World Cup.

Since his retirement, he has only returned to the pitch for festive games, such as those celebrating the retirement of Juan Pablo Sorin, Victor Aristizabal and Diego Maradona, considered by him to be the greatest players he witnessed, and friends. Maradona almost did not participate in the match since the River Plate fans were strongly opposed to it. "There was no problem for me. There are three things I do not discuss nor with my best friends: Religion, politics and football.. things in that person, mistaken or not, advocates a cause," Enzo said. He stated "you'll never hear me saying 'I live and die by the River', though I may be much more that way than other fans who say they are".

The second greatest player he stated he had seen, was Zinédine Zidane, an opinion he admits was heavily influenced by emotional reasons. Zidane was a big fan of Francescoli, and baptized a son named Enzo. The Uruguayan learned of the honor just before Zizou played in the Intercontinental Cup of 1996, and so the two players swapped jerseys at the end of the match. The piece became a favorite of Zidane's to wear. He also travelled to Buenos Aires to publicize the new idol to the River in 2008. Subsequently, the two arrived to present Football Cracks, a reality show that sought to discover new football talent in Spain. His great admiration for Zidane extended to other French players: Francescoli stated he felt more respect from French fans then than he had while playing there.

Another famous player to have been named after him is the Argentine Enzo Pérez. He is also related to another Argentine, Diego Milito, who is known to resemble Francescoli in appearance, who has joked saying that neither of his sons resemble him as much, both in physical appearance and in their walk. Milito was also known as El Príncipe. Since leaving television presenting, Francescoli was asked several times to coach the River, but he never accepted, stating instead that if asked to be manager of the club, he might accept, since he could employ the lessons that had learned as an entrepreneur. Away from soccer, he also enjoys smoking cigars, a habit that he has had since 16 years old, and plays golf.

One factor, however, that prevented him from having more prestige in Uruguay was his relationship with Paco Casal. Rumors about Celeste in the hiatus in which Enzo and other key Uruguayan players who played in Europe claimed that crossed were not playing, in response to arguments they was facing behind the scenes of the Uruguayan Association of Futebol.There was controversy over the Tenfield company which sought to control the club. Some colleagues were critical of the deal: "the contract with the company Tenfield SA (...) has been detrimental to Uruguayan football. Players earn ever lower wages, clubs are bankrupt, but entrepreneurs are getting richer. Only journalists who support the contractual relationship between the AUF and the Tenfield are those who work for the company, which has a monopoly in the country." After this outspoken criticism and leadership changes, the club did begin to improve after this.

Francescoli said of new owner Paco "He is the most important businessman in my country, and built (his power) from nothing. He is involved in things that generate passion for football and carnival, and this creates divisions (of opinions) (..... ) he is a good person. The man helps more than believes, "he said. "Paco did not get up one day and said 'I want to be owner of Uruguayan football. Paco was given ownership because the leaders were not able to sell the players that developed," he added.

River Plate leadership

After iconic wins, titles and trophies with River Plate as a player, he was back with the team in a leadership role under Rodolfo Raúl D'Onofrio. Francescoli became the Head of Player Personnel for Club Atlético River Plate. It was his decision to bring on board a young coach: Marcelo Gallardo, after the departure of the Iconic Coach: Ramón Diaz. After the hiring of Gallardo, River Plate had immense international success. The team conquered all continental/CONMEBOL trophies: Copa Sudamericana 2014, Recopa Sudamericana 2015 & Copa Libertadores 2015, one after the other, the first time in CONMEBOL history. On the mix of things, River Plate traveled to Japan and achieved River's first Suruga Bank Cup in 2015.

Under Enzo Francescoli's leadership River Plate was the Champion of South America 2014/2015. Therefore, River Plate became eligible for the FIFA Club World Cup. Defining the Club World Title will be disputed by the end of 2015, hosted by Japan.


Francescoli's identity card at Montevideo Wanderers

He was noted for his grace and fluid abilities on the ball. These qualities would later influence the style of French midfielder Zinedine Zidane, who has stated that Francescoli was his favorite player as a young boy and even named one of his sons Enzo as a homage to him. Furthermore, Diego Milito, has also been given the nickname "Il Principe" by Inter fans, due to his physical resemblance with him.

He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

In July 2012 in Ariel Ortega's testimonial, Francescoli scored 4 goals at the age of 50, the last of which was a bicycle kick in the penalty area.[25]

Career statistics

Season Club League League Cup League cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Uruguay League Cup League Cup South America Total
1980 Montevideo Wanderers Primera División
26 3 26 3
1981 22 7 22 7
1982 26 10 26 10
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1983 River Plate Primera División
27 11 27 11
1984 49 29 49 29
1985 5 3 5 3
1985–86 32 25 0 0 32 25
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1986–87 RC Paris Division 1 35 14 1 0 36 14
1987–88 28 8 1 0 29 8
1988–89 26 10 2 0 28 10
1989–90 Olympique Marseille Division 1 28 11 4 0 8 0 40 11
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1990–91 Cagliari Serie A 33 4 33 4
1991–92 33 6 1 0 34 6
1992–93 32 7 32 7
1993–94 Torino Serie A 24 3 6 2 3 0 33 5
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1994–95 River Plate Primera División 27 17 11 6 38 23
1995–96 20 10 19 13 39 23
1996–97 31 19 2 1 33 20
1997–98 6 1 4 0 10 1
Total Uruguay 74 20 74 20
Argentina 197 115 36 20 233 135
France 117 43 8 0 8 0 133 43
Italy 122 20 7 2 3 0 132 22
Career total 510 198 15 2 47 20 572 220

International statistics

Uruguay national team
Year Apps Goals
1982 4 0
1983 4 1
1984 1 0
1985 11 5
1986 6 1
1987 4 0
1988 1 2
1989 9 3
1990 6 0
1991 - -
1992 - -
1993 9 2
1994 - -
1995 9 3
1996 3 0
1997 6 0
Total 73 17

International goals



River Plate
Olympique Marseille

National team



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Enzo Francescoli – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  2. ^ STOKKERMANS, Karel (2000-01-30). "IFFHS' Century Elections". RSSSF. 
  3. ^ "World Cup 1986". RSSSF. 01/03/2011. 
  4. ^ "World Cup 1990". RSSSF. 01/03/2011. 
  5. ^ "World Cup 1994 qualifications". RSSSF. 01/03/2011. 
  6. ^ "World Cup 1998 qualifications". RSSSF. 
  7. ^ PERUGINO, Elías (novembro de 2010). Enzo Francescoli. El Gráfico Especial n. 27 - "100 Ídolos de River". Revistas Deportivas, pp. 34-35
  8. ^ a b c d e "Palabra de ídolo". El Gráfico. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 01/03/2011. 
  9. ^ Borinsky, Diego (19/09/2008). "Las 100 preguntas a Enzo Francescoli".  
  10. ^ ANTOGNAZZA, Diego; TABEIRA, Martín (10/01/2004). "Uruguay - Liguilla Pre-Libertadores All Results". RSSSF. 
  11. ^ BEUKER, John (2005-03-18). "Copa Libertadores de América 1983". RSSSF. 
  12. ^ BORINSKY, Diego (maio de 2010).¿Se puede ir a la B?. El Gráfico n. 4398, pp. 64-68
  13. ^ SERNA, Emmanuel Castro (09/07/2009). "Argentina - List of Topscorers". RSSSF. 
  14. ^ PERUGINO, Elías (agosto de 2012). Una chilena que hizo historia y generó imitadores. El Gráfico Especial n. 39 - "River momentos inolvidables". Revistas Deportivas, p. 38
  15. ^ Francescoli, um ótimo investimento (17 de março de 1986). Placar n. 825. Editora Abril, p. 48
  16. ^ "Saison 1986-1987". Allez Racing. 2011-03-16. 
  17. ^ ABBINK, Dinant; PAURON, Frédéric (08/04/2004). "France - Cup History 1917-1997". RSSSF. 
  18. ^ C MERA, Mário (fevereiro de 2012). No olho da rua. Revista ESPN n. 28. Spring Editora, pp. 62-65
  19. ^ BONAGUIDI, Fernand (11/03/2010). "Il y a 20 ans, l'injustice". RSSSF. 
  20. ^ a b c MARIANI, Maurizio (03/04/2009). "Coppa Italia History". RSSSF. 
  21. ^ AROTARITEI, Sorin (2010-09-17). "Italy Super Cup Finals". RSSSF. 
  22. ^ PERUGINO, Elías (agosto de 2012). También fue campeón invicto. El Gráfico Especial n. 39 - "River momentos inolvidables". Revistas Deportivas, p. 32
  23. ^ GORGAZZI, Osvaldo José; KURHY, Víctor Hugo (2004-03-27). "Final Tables Argentina 1991-2000". RSSSF. 
  24. ^ "DENMARK - URUGUAY". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "Today on YouTube: 50-year-old Uruguayan legend Enzo Francescoli's blissful bicycle kick".  
  26. ^ "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 

External links

  • International statistics at RSSSF
  • (Spanish) Profile at Tenfield
  • Midfield Dynamo's 10 Heroes of the Copa América Enzo Francescoli listed in the top 10
  • Enzo Francescoli – FIFA competition record
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