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Bochini Independiente

Ricardo Bochine, master of the Pase Bochinesco.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / El Gráfico

The childhood idol of Diego Maradona, Ricardo Bochini is an Independiente legend, a one-club-man who spent his entire career with the Avellaneda club from 1972 to 1991.

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 four Argentinian league titles, an incredible five Copa Libertadores and two Intercontinental Cups 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.

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.

At international level, Bochini received 28 caps for La Albiceleste between 1973 and 1986. One of the main issues was the number of fine attacking midfielders who were fighting it out for the number 10 shirt at the time. The likes of Carlos Babington, Brindisi, Valencia and Beto Alonso during the 1970s, and then 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. Bochini did win a World Cup winners medal in 1986, although his pitch time was limited to a five minute cameo in the semi-final against Belgium.