Best Paraguayan Soccer Players of All Time

Vince Massara

Step onto the lush and vibrant field of Paraguayan soccer history, where legendary players have risen like towering goalposts against the backdrop of the sun-drenched horizon.

José Luis Chilavert, Roque Santa Cruz, and Carlos Gamarra are just a few of the names that echo through time, forever etched in the annals of this nation's footballing prowess.

But their stories are only the beginning, for within the depths of Paraguayan soccer lie tales of determination, skill, and unwavering dedication.

As we journey further, we will encounter Salvador Cabañas, Francisco Arce, and Roberto Fernández, each leaving their indelible mark on the beautiful game.

Unveiling the tapestry of Paraguayan soccer's finest, a tapestry woven with the threads of triumph and resilience, we invite you to explore the lives of these extraordinary athletes who have captivated fans and graced the world's greatest stadiums.

José Luis Chilavert

José Luis Chilavert is widely regarded as the most famous Paraguayan soccer player, and for good reason. Not only was he an exceptional goalkeeper, but his numerous achievements and contributions to the sport set him apart. Chilavert had an impressive career, winning 12 club titles and being recognized as the three-time IFFHS Worlds Best Goalkeeper.

However, what truly distinguishes him is his ability to score goals. In fact, he scored a remarkable total of 67 goals throughout his professional career, including eight in international matches. This is an extraordinary feat for a goalkeeper.

Chilavert's impact on the game extended beyond his goalkeeping skills. He was highly regarded for his leadership qualities and outfield skills, particularly his prowess in free-kicks. Whenever he stepped onto the field for the Paraguayan national team in multiple FIFA World Cup tournaments, his presence was always felt. His influence wasn't limited to Paraguay, as his biography has been translated into various languages, showcasing his global significance in the world of soccer.

José Luis Chilavert unquestionably ranks among the greatest Paraguayan soccer players of all time. His talent, achievements, and unique contributions have cemented his place in football history.

Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz, a talented Paraguayan footballer known for his goal-scoring prowess, has made a significant impact in the world of soccer. As a striker for Paraguayan club Olimpia, Santa Cruz hasn't only showcased his skills at the club level but has also been a key player for the Paraguay national team. With over 100 appearances, he holds the record for being their top goal scorer. Santa Cruz has had successful stints with top European clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich, where he consistently posed a threat to opposing defenses.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in Paraguay's football history, Santa Cruz's contributions to the national team are remarkable. He's represented Paraguay in multiple FIFA World Cup tournaments and Copa América tournaments. His ability to find the back of the net and create scoring opportunities has earned him a prominent place in Paraguayan soccer.

It is worth noting that Santa Cruz comes from a footballing family. His father, Luis Santa Cruz Cantero, was also a professional footballer. Santa Cruz's transfer fee within Paraguay was record-breaking, highlighting his immense talent and value to the teams he's played for. One of his former clubs is San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Carlos Gamarra

Carlos Gamarra, a highly respected Paraguayan player, has made a significant impact in the world of soccer with his exceptional defensive skills and leadership abilities. He's widely regarded as one of the best Paraguayan soccer players of all time, and his career is filled with achievements and accolades. Gamarra was named Paraguayan Footballer of the Year in 1997 and 1998, which speaks to his remarkable talent on the field.

Gamarra's defensive prowess was evident not only in his club performances but also in his appearances for the Paraguayan national team. He represented Paraguay in multiple World Cups, consistently displaying his reliability and skill as a defender. Gamarra's outstanding tackling abilities, physical strength, and leadership qualities made him one of the most respected defenders in South America.

Throughout his career, Gamarra played for various clubs in Paraguay, Brazil, Greece, Italy, and Portugal, adapting to different football environments and showcasing his versatility. His impact extended beyond his defensive abilities, as he was known for his leadership both on and off the field.

Gamarra's exceptional career also saw him participate in Copa America tournaments, further solidifying his reputation as one of the best Paraguayan soccer players of all time. His contributions to the success of the teams he played for earned him global recognition and respect.

Salvador Cabañas

Salvador Cabañas, a highly talented forward for Paraguay, had his promising playing career tragically cut short when he was shot in the head. This tragic incident ended the career of one of the best Paraguayan footballers of all time.

Cabañas began his international career for Paraguay in 2003 and quickly became a key player for the national team. He represented his country in several Copa América tournaments, where he showcased his skills on the international stage. Cabañas was known for his goal-scoring abilities and held the record for the most goals scored in a single season for Club America, one of Mexico's top clubs.

His speed, agility, and powerful shot made him a formidable opponent for any goalkeeper. Cabañas was always a threat on the field, consistently finding the back of the net.

Although his career was tragically cut short, Cabañas will always be remembered as one of the greatest players to have represented the Paraguayan national team. His story serves as a reminder of how fragile life can be and the impact that unfortunate circumstances can have on a professional footballer's career.

Francisco Arce

Francisco Arce is a highly respected Paraguayan soccer player known for his exceptional skills as a defender. Throughout his career, he has played for various clubs and the Paraguayan national team, showcasing his defensive prowess and leadership on the field. Arce has made a significant impact in the history of Paraguayan football.

Arce has represented Paraguay in three Copa América tournaments and the FIFA World Cup, highlighting his international experience. He has also played for top clubs such as Santa Cruz, Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, and Manchester City. Arce's talent and dedication to the sport are evident in his performances in both international competitions and the Primera División.

In addition to his playing career, Arce has also ventured into coaching opportunities, utilizing his knowledge and expertise to contribute to the development of Paraguayan football.

To further highlight Arce's accomplishments, here is a table showcasing some of his achievements:

FIFA World Youth ChampionshipArce represented Paraguay in the tournament
Copa LibertadoresHe competed in the prestigious club competition
UEFA Champions LeagueArce played in Europe's premier club tournament
Chilavert TrophyIn 1992, he was named the best Paraguayan footballer

Francisco Arce's impact both on and off the field has solidified his place as one of the greatest Paraguayan soccer players of all time. His exceptional defensive skills, international experience, and dedication to the sport have left a lasting legacy in Paraguayan football history.

Oscar Cardozo

Oscar Cardozo, a highly regarded Paraguayan football player, is widely known for his exceptional goal-scoring skills and significant contributions to both club and international levels of the sport. As a striker, Cardozo has displayed his impressive abilities and has represented Paraguay in various competitions, such as the Copa America and the FIFA World Cup.

Here are three reasons why Cardozo is considered one of the greatest Paraguayan football players of all time:

  1. Impressive Goal-scoring Record: Cardozo's ability to score goals is unmatched. Throughout his career, he's consistently found the back of the net for both his club and his country, establishing himself as a lethal striker. His talent for creating scoring opportunities and converting them into goals has made him an invaluable asset to any team he's played for.
  2. International Success: Cardozo made his international debut in 2007 and quickly became a key player for the Paraguayan national team. He's represented his country in multiple Copa America tournaments and was also part of the squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Cardozo's performances on the international stage have earned him respect and admiration from fans and fellow players alike.
  3. Contributions to Paraguayan Football: Cardozo's impact on Paraguayan football goes beyond his goal-scoring abilities. He's served as a role model for aspiring players in his country, inspiring them with his dedication, work ethic, and technical skills. Cardozo's success at the professional level has paved the way for future generations of Paraguayan footballers, leaving a lasting legacy in the sport.

Roberto Fernández

Now we turn our attention to Roberto Fernández, a highly respected figure in Paraguayan soccer history known for his exceptional goalkeeping abilities. Fernández is widely regarded as one of the greatest Paraguayan soccer players of all time, and his contributions to the sport are truly remarkable.

Fernández's career as a goalkeeper was filled with impressive achievements. One of his most notable accomplishments was being part of the Paraguayan national team that emerged victorious in the 1979 Copa América. This triumph not only showcased his talent but also cemented his place in Paraguayan soccer history.

What set Fernández apart from his peers were his extraordinary goalkeeping skills. His agility, reflexes, and ability to stop shots were unmatched, making him a formidable presence on the field. He consistently performed at a high level and played a crucial role in his team's success.

Even after retiring from professional soccer, Fernández's legacy continues to be celebrated by fans and the soccer community in Paraguay. His name is often mentioned alongside other legendary Paraguayan players, solidifying his status as one of the country's all-time greats.

Justo Villar

Justo Villar, a highly accomplished Paraguayan goalkeeper, has left a lasting impact on the world of soccer with his exceptional shot-stopping abilities and leadership skills on the field. Here are three important facts about his career:

  1. International Debut and World Cup Success:

Villar made his international debut for Paraguay in 1999 and went on to represent his country in numerous tournaments. He played a crucial role in Paraguay's success in the 2010 World Cup, where they reached the quarterfinals for the first time in their history. Villar's outstanding performances in goal helped his team secure important victories and gain recognition on the global stage.

  1. Club Career:

Villar had a successful club career, playing for several notable teams. He represented Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and Premier League club Newcastle United, showcasing his talent in top European leagues. His consistent performances and leadership qualities made him a valuable asset for every team he played for.

  1. Accolades and Recognition:

Villar's skills and contributions didn't go unnoticed. He was named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper in 2010, a testament to his exceptional shot-stopping abilities. Additionally, he made over 120 appearances for the Paraguayan national team, proving his consistency and reliability as a goalkeeper.

Justo Villar's impact on Paraguayan football and his achievements throughout his career solidify his position as one of the best goalkeepers in the country's history.

Christian Riveros

Christian Riveros, a highly accomplished Paraguayan soccer player, has had a remarkable career, making significant contributions to both the national team and his various club teams.

Riveros was born on October 16, 1982, in Luque, Paraguay, and began his professional football journey with the Paraguayan club, Luis Santa Cruz. His exceptional talent quickly caught the attention of scouts, leading to his international debut for the Paraguayan national team in 2003.

Riveros is known for his versatility on the field, having played as both an attacking midfielder and striker. His outstanding skills and goal-scoring ability have earned him a place in top-tier leagues, including the Premier League club, Sunderland, and the Bundesliga club, 1860 Munich. Riveros has also had the privilege of playing for renowned clubs like Bayern Munich and Newcastle United.

Riveros' success extends to the international stage as well. He's represented Paraguay in multiple FIFA World Cup tournaments, making appearances in 2010 and 2014. His presence on the field has been crucial for Paraguay, with notable performances in the Copa America and other international competitions.

One of Riveros' most remarkable qualities is his exceptional free-kick ability. His accuracy and precision in taking set-pieces have resulted in numerous goals, leaving opposing goalkeepers helpless. Riveros' contributions to Paraguayan football have earned him a place among the country's best players, alongside legendary figures like José Luis Chilavert.

Julio César Romero

Julio César Romero, a highly respected midfielder, is widely considered one of the greatest players in Paraguayan football history.

Here are three important facts about Romero:

  1. Impressive International Career: Romero had an outstanding career representing the Paraguay national team. He made his international debut in 1979 and went on to earn 67 caps for his country. Known for his exceptional skills and creativity, Romero played a key role in leading Paraguay to several victories, including their participation in the FIFA World Cup.
  2. Successful Club Career: Romero's talent wasn't limited to international competitions. He also had a successful club career, playing for top-tier clubs such as Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and Newcastle United in the Premier League. His performances at these clubs earned him recognition as one of the finest Paraguayan footballers to have played professionally.
  3. Impactful Midfielder: Romero was known for his ability to control the game from midfield. His vision, passing accuracy, and goal-scoring prowess made him a valuable asset for both club and country. Romero's skill and influence on the field played a significant role in shaping Paraguayan football during his era.

Julio César Romero's talent as a midfielder and his significant contributions to Paraguayan football make him a deserving member of the list of the best Paraguayan soccer players of all time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Paraguay Soccer Team Good?

The Paraguay soccer team is considered to be a strong and talented team. They currently hold the 35th position in the FIFA rankings. Over the years, they have achieved notable successes, such as reaching the quarterfinals of the World Cup and winning multiple Copa America titles. The team is known for its skilled players and the country's rich soccer culture.

How Many Times Paraguay Was on World Cup?

Paraguay has competed in several World Cups, showcasing their impressive performance on the global stage. They have had memorable matches, talented players, and a passionate fan base supporting them. The journey to qualify for these tournaments and their historic achievements have significantly contributed to the growth and development of Paraguayan soccer.

Did Paraguay Make the World Cup?

Paraguay has made multiple appearances in the World Cup, showcasing their impressive football skills. In recent qualifiers, they have shown great promise, with young talents emerging on the scene. The country's soccer culture and domestic league play a vital role in their development as well. Paraguay's success in the World Cup is a testament to their dedication and passion for the sport.

Who Was the Coach of Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup?

Gerardo Martino, the coach of Paraguay during the 2010 World Cup, guided the team to an impressive run to the quarterfinals, marking a historic achievement for the country. Martino's strategic prowess and exceptional leadership were instrumental in Paraguay's successful campaign. His ability to analyze the opposition, make tactical adjustments, and motivate the players played a crucial role in the team's progress in the tournament. Under Martino's guidance, Paraguay displayed a disciplined and well-organized style of play, which allowed them to compete against some of the world's top teams. Martino's impact on the Paraguayan national team during the 2010 World Cup cannot be overstated, as he not only brought them success on the field but also instilled a sense of pride and belief in the players and the entire country.


Paraguay has a rich history of producing exceptional soccer players who've made a lasting impact on the world of the sport. Among them are José Luis Chilavert, known for his incredible shot-stopping abilities, and Roque Santa Cruz, who's renowned for his goal-scoring prowess.

Carlos Gamarra's solid defensive skills, along with the contributions of Salvador Cabañas and Francisco Arce, also stand out in Paraguay's soccer heritage.

These players have firmly established themselves as some of the best in Paraguayan soccer history through their skills and achievements.

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