5 of the Best Moments of Omar Sivori’s Career

Omar Sivori is number 46 in 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series.

Omar Sivori scored 17 international goals in 28 games (very good).

He also scored them for two different countries (weird). 

He scored a lot of club goals and won a bunch of titles (also good). 

This is Omar Sivori. 

First League Title

Playing for the team of your home city? Footballer’s dream. Winning the title with them? Something so many absolute stars spend their entire careers dashing themselves time and time again on the rocks of that dream.

Omar Sivori did it within a couple of months of turning 20. Some kinda of ‘academy prospect, couple of sub appearances, get the medal’ thing? Nah, he scored 11 of River Plate’s 53 goals that season as they topped the table as the country’s leading scorers. 

Only went and did it again the next season (scored 10 of 61, earned a world record move) too didn’t he?

Copa America Dominance

Wicked, two domestic league title titles wrapped up at the age of 21, let’s go play international football. The club thing’s way too easy, let’s hang out with pals – the famous Angels with Dirty Faces – and play against the best teams on the tournament. That’ll be more of a challenge.

Except Sivori led Argentina to the Copa America (sorry, South American Championship) title at the first time of asking, and was named player of the tournament. Again, at the age of 21. He led the Angels to 24 goals in their first five games of the round-robin tournament, before they went down 2-1 to Peru in a dead rubber at the end. Handy. And then…

6 Goals vs. Inter, 16th April 1961

Then he moved to Juventus (world record fee, built River a stand at el Monumental) and got barred from playing international football for Argentina. Oops.

He was the league’s Capocannoniere in his third season, scoring 27 times in 31 Serie A games, but it was against Inter in his third Scudetto season that his crowning moment came. In a game postponed from a few weeks earlier, Sivori started the scoring in the 11th minute with a left-footed strike. He continued it in the 12th with another. And in the 17th with, yes, another. 

He ended the 9-1 drubbing with six goals, all struck from his famous left foot. That return still remains a Serie A record for a single game, level with Silvio Piola. 

Scoring Twice Against Argentina

Omar Sivori,Elsener

One of those rare ‘double international’ creatures, Sivoli was registered for his new home barely four years after leaving Argentina and being banished from la Albiceleste’s books. 

He started his life with gli Azzurri with a goal in a 3-2 win over Northern Ireland, and then another in a 3-2 defeat at the Olimpico against a Jimmy Greaves-inspired England. But it was his third match that mattered. The match against the FA who had thrown him out for having the temerity to go and play on another continent. 

Argentina arrived in Florence. Argentina stepped out on the pitch. Omar Sivori scored twice to send them packing, Italy winning 4-1. Revenge. Served. 

Ballon d’Or

Turns out there were loads of really, really good footballers around at the start of the 1960s. Luis Suarez was dictating play in Barcelona and Milan, Lev Yashin owned the USSR, Puskas and Di Stefano were united in the Spanish capital and Fulham had one of the world’s best, Johnny Haynes.

In 1961, with that six-goal game against Inter, a domestic record near as damnit to a goal every game and an international record better than that, Sivori came out on top of them all – winning the Ballon d’Or, a handful of votes ahead of Suarez and with more than double the points of any of his competitors. In Europe, that year, he was peerless. 

For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!


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