Vicente de la Mata

Argentine footballer and manager (1918-1980)

Vicente de la Mata (January 15, 1918 – August 4, 1980) was an Argentine football forward and manager. He played most of his club career for Independiente and played for the Argentina national team between 1937 and 1946. De la Mata was a versatile player, purely devoted to attacking play. During his career, he played a variety of roles, including centre-forward and midfielder, both in the centre and on both flanks: The one in which he was most often employed was as a striker. Among de la Mata's characteristics, the one that stood out the most was his dribbling ability, for which he became particularly famous at the time: in addition to this innate ability, he was gifted with technique and a refined vision of the game, which allowed him to implement an elegant game. During his time at Independiente, he also excelled in his scoring skills, which led him to score 151 goals; he was part of an attacking trio with Arsenio Erico and Antonio Sastre, who scored a total of 556 goals in official matches. Widely considered as one of the greatest Argentinian football players of his generation. He is regarded one of the greatest idols of the Club Atlético Independiente de Avellaneda, along with Antonio Sastre and Arsenio Erico, he was part of the attacking tridents with which the club won the Argentine championships of 1938 and 1939.

Vicente de la Mata
De la Mata in 1940
Personal information
Date of birth (1918-01-15)January 15, 1918
Place of birth Rosario, Argentina
Date of death August 4, 1980(1980-08-04) (aged 62)
Place of death Rosario, Argentina
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Position(s) Forward
Youth career
1930–1936 Central Córdoba (R)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1936–1937 Central Córdoba (R) 53 (20)
1937–1951 Independiente 362 (151)
1951–1953 Newell's Old Boys 23 (1)
1953–1955 Central Córdoba (R) 80 (10)
Total 518 (182)
National team
1937–1946 Argentina 13 (6)
Teams managed
1955–1957 Independiente
1957–1958 Deportivo Morón
1958–1960 Dock Sud
1960–1968 Central Córdoba (R)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club career change

De la Mata playing against River Plate in 1939.

Born in the Province of Santa Fe, he began playing football in the youth sector of Central Córdoba, where he was trained: in fact, he passed through all the divisions, until he reached the first team. Alongside Gabino Sosa, a former member of the Argentine national team, de la Mata improved his skills and was noticed by Independiente, who bought him in 1937 for the sum — considered very high — of 27,500 pesos. Upon his arrival at Avellaneda, the coach deployed him in the central attacking trio in the 2-3-5 alongside Erico and Sastre: with these two, de la Mata formed a very prolific attack, capable of scoring 218 goals in two championships (1938 and 1939). He made his debut on the first day of the 1937 championship. In 1938 he won the first championship, scoring 26 times. On October 12, 1939, against River Plate, he scored a goal considered by many to be one of the most beautiful goals scored in Argentina. In the league, he scored 38 more goals, setting his own personal best. In 1948, despite scoring only two goals, he helped Independiente win their third title. In the city derby against Racing, de la Mata became the second-highest scorer ever: 10 goals in 14 seasons, behind Paraguayan Erico's 19 goals. The Rosario striker decided to leave the club with the red jersey to play for Newell's Old Boys, a team of his city and of which he was a fan. He made his debut on Sunday 15 April 1951 at the Cilindro di Avellaneda, in a 1–1 draw with Racing; a week later he took the field at the Parque de la Independencia for the first home game with the new jersey. De la Mata was employed as a right-sided midfielder, supporting centre-forward Focchi. The goal of 12 Octobera against River Plate at the Monumental in Núñez de la Mata he scored a goal similar to the Goal of the Century. He received the ball from goalkeeper Fernando Bello and discarded Moreno, Minella, Moreno again, Wergifker, Santamaría and Cuello in order; stopped the ball, faked the pass to Erico and, seeing Sirni coming out, decided to shoot at goal, eluding the goalkeeper. Despite the fact that the shooting angle was very small, the ball hit the post and went into the net. This goal gave rise to the nickname Capote. After going scoreless in the 1951 tournament, he scored his first and only goal for Newell's on 12 June 1952, a Thursday, scoring in the 22nd minute of the second half in a 2–1 win over Boca Juniors at the Parque de la Independencia. In 1953 he returned to play for Central Córdoba in the Primera B Nacional, with the aim of retiring with that team. In 1955 he ended his playing career.

International career change

Vicente De la Mata in 1937

He made his national debut on 1 February 1937, during the final of the 1937 Campeonato Sudamericano de Football between Argentina and rivals Brazil. On 30 January, the tournament was supposed to end, but as the two national teams were tied in first place, a play-off had to be played: the venue was the Estadio Gasómetro. The game remained deadlocked in both regular halves; de la Mata came on in the 84th minute, replacing Francisco Varallo. This substitution proved decisive, when, in the 109th minute, the Independiente player scored, repeating the feat three minutes later, thus sealing the 2-0 win and the victory of the trophy by his team. Following this, he was named the best player of the event. In 1945 de la Mata was again called up to the national team to play in the South American Championship, which was held in Santiago, Chile. He took the field for the first time against Bolivia, starting as a midfielder: he scored the final goal in the 4th minute, and was replaced by Farro six minutes later. The next match was against Ecuador, and once again de la Mata started from the start, scoring to make it 2–0 in the 2nd minute: he then left the field in favor of Méndez. On the 5th February against Colombia he was rested, as well as against Chile four days later; he was used again against Brazil, as a substitute for Méndez, whom he brought on in the 8th minute. The last match against Uruguay did not see him on the field, but the victory of the Argentine national team still allowed him to win the second consecutive trophy. In 1946 he was chosen to join the team for South American Buenos Aires. He made his debut with the opening goal of the competition, in the 19th minute of Argentina-Paraguay; once again, there was the dualism with Méndez, who replaced him in the 9th. He was ruled out of Argentina-Bolivia on 6 January and the match against Chile on 9 January: he returned to action on 19 February against Uruguay. On 2 February, he was selected as a starter for the match against Brazil, but was sent off, along with the green-and-gold striker Chico, in the 9th minute: this sanction also caused the suspension of the match, which was resumed 10 minutes later.

Managerial career change

De La Mata went on to become a football manager, he had spells in charge of Independiente, Deportivo Morón, Dock Sud and Central Córdoba.

Honours change

Club change


National team change


Individual change

Other websites change