Profile Striker Mario Alberto Kempes, also known as “El Matador”, scored six goals to help Argentina to win the 1978 World Cup on home soil, amidst unparalleled national hysteria..
Kempes was born in Belville, Argentina on 15 July 1954 and started his professional football career at the Instituto Atlético Central in Córdoba in the early 1970s. After a two-year spell at Rosario Central, where he established himself as a regular goalscorer, he moved to Europe, signing for Valencia CF in 1976. He enjoyed his heyday at the Spanish club, winning two successive Spanish top scorer titles in the Primera División campaigns of 1976/1977 and 1977/1978. As a result he was nicknamed “El Matador”. In total, Kempes scored 146 goals for Valencia in 247 appearances in all competitions.
The tall, powerful Kempes with flowing black hair played in three World Cups (1974, 1978 and 1982) and, in 1978, he helped his team win the Cup in his home country, Argentina. He also won the “Golden Boot” title of the World Cup that year, scoring six goals at the series. That same year he was voted South American Footballer of the Year.
Kempes was known as a hard working striker, who liked to attack from outside the box, roaring forward like an unstoppable tank. His style was very difficult for defenders to handle and he would often poach a goal when it appeared that his threat had been adequately covered by the opposition. Kempes won 43 caps for Argentina scoring 20 goals.