The club is one of the oldest existing in Argentina, forming just over twenty years after the introduction of football to the country by English expatriates in 1868. They dominated the local Rosario League, winning a total of twelve titles between 1908 and 1938, including four straight from 1914 to 1917.
In 1939, they joined the national Argentine league, but waited until 1971 to win their first national title. They have since won three more, most recently in 1987. They also claimed international glory in 1991, winning the Copa CONMEBOL (the precursor to the Copa Sudamericana).
Central's Estadio Gigante de Arroyito has been the home to several notable players, including 1978 World Cup winner Mario Kempes (107 league appearances between 1974 and 1976) and current Real Madrid star Ángel di María (35 appearances from 2005 to 2007).