Another member of the River Plate team known as La Máquina, and another blessed with great vision and technique, José Manuel Moreno started his career in 1935 with River Plate and would go on to become one of the revered South American footballers of the twentieth century. Playing mainly as an inside-right or as an attacking midfielder, he linked up brilliantly with the likes of Adolfo Pedernera and Ángel Labruna, winning five Argentine championship titles during his first nine years with Los Millonarios,
In 1944, Moreno was transferred to Mexican Primera División club España. The previous year had seen Mexico run a professional league for the first time, España had finished runner-up to Asturias in the inaugural season and were looking to push on further. Moreno formed a great partnership with another new signing, Spanish striker Isidro Lángara, and together they inspired España to the title in 1945-46. It was during this spell that Moreno earned his nickname "el Charro", the name of the traditional Mexican cowboy.
He returned to River Plate in 1946, linking up there with a new star of Argentinian football, Alfredo Di Stéfano, and adding another title to his growing list of honours. The Argentinian players' strike of the late 1940s saw Moreno head off again, this time to Universidad Católica in Chile, winning another title.
Despite his success in the Copa America, where he won two titles and scored 13 goals (still top ten in the all-time top scorers chart), Moreno would miss out on the chance to showcase his skills on the greatest stage of all, the World Cup. There were no tournaments in the 1940s because of World War II, and Argentina withdrew from the 1950 World Cup qualification because of a dispute with the Brazilian Football Confederation. Moreno wasn't alone in this respect, as talented countrymen such as Antonio Sastre, Adolfo Pedernera and Félix Loustau all missed out. A phenomenal group of players that would unfortunately never get to grace football's greatest event.
In 1955, at the age of 39, Moreno lead the way in footballers who have won league titles in different countries, becoming the first footballer to win league titles in four countries, as he rolled back the years to help Independiente Medellín win the Colombian title. Not bad for a player who had a reputation for drinking and smoking and not taking training seriously enough!