Ricardo Bochini, master of the Pase Bochinesco.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons / El Gráfico
A small attacking midfielder, what Bochini lacked in physical presence he more than made up for with his incredible vision and passing. One of the best playmakers of the 1970s and 80s, Bochini's assists were crucial as El Rojo claimed an incredible five Copa Libertadores, two Intercontinental Cups and four Argentinian league titles, during his time with the club. The Intercontinental Cup victories were 11 years apart, Bochini first starring as a nineteen year-old in the 1973 victory over Juventus, and then as a thirty year-old when Independiente beat Liverpool in 1984.
Nicknamed El Bocha, Bochini became a master of the killer through ball, it became his speciality and even had its own terminology named after him - "Pase Bochinesco". Pundits and players would rave about the timing of his passing, he had an intrinsic ability to know when to keep hold of the ball and when exactly to release it. In Argentina it was known as La Pausa, the moment when a playmaker pauses slightly as he waits for his target to get into the best position. Bochini became renowned for it. His talent was rewarded in 1983 when he was named Argentinian Footballer of the Year and received the Bronze trophy in the South American Player of the Year awards, no mean feat given the quality of some of the South American footballers who were around at the time.
At international level, Bochini received 28 caps for La Albiceleste between 1973 and 1986. One of the main reasons why he didn't gain more appearances was the number of fine attacking midfielders who were fighting it out for the playmaker role and number 10 shirt in the 1970s. The likes of Carlos Babington, Miguel Brindisi, José Daniel Valencia, Beto Alonso and even Mario Kempes, followed by the emergence of a certain prodigious young talent called Diego Maradona, all made it hard for one player to stake a long-standing claim in the role during that decade. Bochini would cap his international career with a World Cup winners medal in 1986, although his pitch time was limited to a five minute cameo in the semi-final against Belgium.
But it's with Independiente for which Ricardo Bochini is best remembered, and rightly so - it's rare for a player of such talent to spend his entire career with one club, and so it's great to look back and see his career there was rewarded with so many trophies, accolades and respect.
Here's seven minutes of magic passes, skills and goals from Bochini during his nineteen years with Independiente...