Friday, October 5, 2012

5 October 1973 - Kempes Reaches The Top

On 5 October 1973, striker Mario Kempes made his top-flight debut for Instituto de Córdoba in a 1-0 win over Newell's Old Boys. He went on to become one of Argentina's greatest players.

Nineteen years old at the time, Kempes had already spent three years with Instituto, helping them reach Argentina's Primera División for the 1973 season, the team's first time in the top flight. Kempes made thirteen appearances for them that season, scoring eleven goals, before moving in 1974 to Rosario Central, where he scored eighty-five goals in three seasons.

That performance earned him a move to Spain to play for Valencia. He was the league's leading scorer in 1977 and 1978 and won his first silverware there, winning the 1970 Copa del Rey, the 1980 Cup Winners' Cup (though he missed the first kick in the final's penalty shootout), and the 1980 UEFA Super Cup.

Despite those successes, Kempes is best known for leading Argentina to their first World Cup trophy in 1978. He was the tournament's top scorer with six goals, including two in Argentina's 3-1 win over the Netherlands in the final.

He continued to play for several teams in Argentina and Europe until he called time on his career in 1996, then spent five years in management before retiring in 2001 and is currently a commentator for ESPN.

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