15 Greatest Chilean Footballers of All Time

Who is the best Chilean football player of all time?

The world of football in South America is not only dominated by Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. In addition to these three countries, Chile also has respectable reputation in South American region. The national football team of Chile has achieved a lot of great feats, winning the third place in the 1962 World Cup and claiming a bronze medal in 2000 Olympics.

As a country with a strong football culture, it is not a surprising fact to know that Chile has produced hundreds of quality footballers. In addition to Alexis Sanchez who plays brilliantly in European League competitions in the last three years, there are still some great names such as Marcelo Salas, Ivan Zamorano, Leonel Sanchez, and many more. Who is the best among them? Let's find out the answer by reading this article.

15. Matías Fernández

The best individual achievement ever won by Matias Fernandez was the award of best South American Footballer in 2006. At that time, Fernandez played for Colo-Colo and helped the club win the Chilean League. His brilliant performances made a Spanish club, Villarreal, sign him in the next season. After three years playing for Villarreal, he moved to Sporting CP before finally joining Fiorentina in 2012.

Fernandez is known as a free kick specialist who possesses remarkable dribbling skills.

14. Humberto Suazo

Humberto Suazo is a striker who experiences competitions in Chilean and Mexican league. He was named the "world's top goal scorer of the year" by IFFHS in 2006. During his career, Suazo is known as a striker with a very good positioning capabilities and effective in scoring goals with both of his feet. So far, he has won three Chilean League titles and five Mexican League titles.

13. Pablo Contreras

Contreras is a central defender who had successful career in several European clubs. He started his European debut in 1999 at AS Monaco. After that, he moved to many different clubs such as Celta Vigo, Sporting CP, Braga, PAOK and Olympiacos. Throughout his career, he won a French League title and a Greek League title. Not only that, Contreras was even elected as the MVP of Greek Super League in the 2008-09 season. His career with Chile national team was also quite successful, where he helped his country win a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics.

12. Adolfo Nef

Adolfo Nef is a former goalkeeper who holds the record as the player with the highest number of appearances in Chilean League. Throughout his 24-year career as a professional footballer, Nef played in 625 Chilean League matches. He also represented his country in 42 international matches and was part of the Chile squad in the 1974 World Cup.

11. Francisco Valdés

With a total of 215 goals, Francisco Valdes holds the record as Chilean League's top scorer of all time. This is an amazing achievement, considering that Valdes was not a striker, but an attacking midfielder. He spent most of his club career at Colo-Colo, winning two Chilean League titles and one Copa Chile trophy. Valdes became the key figure of Colo-Colo in the 1970s along with other legendary player, Carlos Caszely.

10. Jorge Aravena

Jorge Aravena is a retired attacking midfielder who was famous for his strong left-foot shooting power. Just as Francisco Valdes, he was also very prolific in scoring goals, despite his main position was not a striker. Aravena was the mainstay of the Chilean national team in the 1980s, representing his country in 36 international matches and scored 22 goals. Throughout his career as a professional footballer in the period 1978-1993, Aravena netted 285 goals, a number that is considered very high for a midfielder.

9. Arturo Vidal

Arturo Vidal is a versatile midfielder who showed charming forms at Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus. He is a box-to-box midfielder who possesses equally good offensive and defensive skills. Vidal can tackle, pass, and scores long-range goals. His skills developed better when he joined Juventus in 2011. So far, Vidal has won two Serie A titles at Juventus. He was even awarded the title as the best player of Juventus in the 2012-13 season and Chile's best player in 2010.

8. Alberto Fouilloux

Alberto Fouilloux is a former striker who represented Chile in the 1962 World Cup and 1966. His performances were fairly consistent and one of his best achievements at the international level was when he helped Chile finish third in the 1962 World Cup. Throughout his career, Foullioux won two league titles with Universidad Catolica of Chile. At the end of his career, he played in a French club, Lille, leading the club win French League Division 2.

7. Claudio Bravo

Claudio Bravo is a goalkeeper who made his debut with Chile national football team in 2004. At club level, he has joined Real Sociedad since 2006. Not only formidable in goalkeeping, Bravo also has great leadership skills. One of the best moments in his career was when he scored a goal from a free kick in a match against Gimnastic in 2010. Bravo was trusted to serve as the national team captain in the World Cup Chile 2010 and successfully took his country to the second round of the tournament.

6. Carlos Caszely

Caszely is regarded as one of the best Chilean striker of all time. He played in the period 1967-1986, winning five league titles with Colo-Colo. Not only that, Caszely also three times became the top scorer of Chilean League and was voted as the best player of Copa America 1979. In total, Caszely played in 49 games and scored 29 goals for Chile national team. He represented his country in the 1974 and 1982 World Cup.

5. Alexis Sánchez

Alexis Sanchez is one of the current best strikers in the Spanish league. Since joining Barcelona in 2011, Sanchez consistently shows brilliant performances. Alongside Lionel Messi and Pedro, he sets up dangerous trident in the front line of FC Barcelona's formation. Not only possessing remarkable goal scoring instincts, Sanchez also is also fast, smart, and agile. So far, he has won one La Liga titles, one FIFA Club World Cup and a European Super Cup with Barcelona.

4. Ivan Zamorano

Ivan Zamorano is regarded as one of the best Real Madrid strikers of all time. He started his career in European League at a small Switzerland club, St. Gallen. He moved to Sevilla in 1990 and started to show his true quality as a world class striker. He was signed by Real Madrid in 1992, and during four years playing for Los Galacticos, Zamorano won a league title and became one-time top scorer of the competition. His performances with Chile national team was also good, where Zamorano played 69 times, scoring 34 goals, and helped his country claim the bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics.

3. Marcelo Salas

Marcelo Salas is the all-time top scorer of Chile national football team with a total of 37 goals. His duet with Ivan Zamorano in the 1990's was regarded as the best Chilean striker duo of all time. Salas represented his country in the 1998 World Cup, scoring a total of four goals and awarded him the Bronze Shoe. He also had successful career at club level, where Salas won three Serie A titles with Lazio and Juventus, two Chilean League titles with Universidad de Chile, and three Argentine League titles with River Plate.

2. Elias Figueroa

Elias Figueroa is known as one of the best sweepers in the world. He was famous for his elegant, calm, and calculative playing style. Figueroa also possessed exceptional abilities in marking, tackling, heading, and interception. He represented his country in the World Cup tournament in 1966, 1974 and 1982. Not only that, Figueroa was also named the best South American footballer for three consecutive years, from 1974 to 1976. His career at the club level was also glorious, where Figueroa won two Chilean League titles, two Brazilian League titles, one North American League titles, and two Uruguayan League titles.

1. Leonel Sanchez

Leonel Sanchez was the number one striker of Chile national team in the 1962 World Cup. In the tournament, Sanchez successfully led his country claim third place and became the top scorer of the tournament. Not only that, Sanchez also holds the record for the most number of appearances for his national team with a record of 84 caps. He had magnificent career at club level, winning six Chilean League titles with Universidad de Chile.

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