Arsenio Erico

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Arsenio Erico
File:Arsenio Erico 1934.jpeg
Erico covered on El Gráfico in 1934.
Personal information
Full name Arsenio Pastor Erico Martínez
Date of birth (1915-03-30)30 March 1915
Place of birth Asunción, Paraguay
Date of death 23 July 1977(1977-07-23) (aged 62)
Place of death Buenos Aires, Argentina
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1930–1933 Nacional ? (?)
1933–1946 Independiente 325 (295)
1946–1947 Huracán 7 (0)
1947–1949 Nacional ? (?)
National team
Paraguay (unofficial) 26 (56)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)
File:Erico vs river 1935.jpg
Erico heading the ball in a match against River Plate, 1935.
File:Erico women.jpg
Erico with a group of fans (1939).
File:Arsenio Erico.jpg
Erico during his last years in Independiente.

Arsenio Pastor Erico Martínez (30 March 1915 – 23 July 1977) was a Paraguayan football striker. He is the all-time highest goalscorer in the Argentine first division, with 295 goals according to Argentine Football Association.[1] Previously it had been affirmed that Erico's record was 293 goals, sharing the first place with Angel Labruna[2][3] All the goals in Erico's career in Primera División were scored playing for Independiente. Erico is also considered the best Paraguayan footballer of all time.[4] A striker noted for his technique, finishing and aerial ability, Erico was one of the finest players of the 1930s and one of greatest players to have played in the Argentinean league.[5]


As a player

Erico, born in Asunción, Paraguay, started his career in Club Nacional of Paraguay and made his debut in the club's first team squad at the age of 15. During the early 1930s, Erico was part of the Paraguayan Red Cross football team that was on tour in Argentina in order to gather funds for the Chaco War. Because of his good performances during the friendly matches in the mentioned tour, Club Atlético Independiente of Argentina signed him. He made his debut for Independiente on 5 May 1936 and began to demonstrate why he had acquired the nickname 'red jumper'. Before the 1938 FIFA World Cup Erico was offered an extravagant amount of money to play for the Argentine national football team but he rejected it, gaining the praise in the general Argentine public for remaining loyal to his country of origin.[2] Soon after this, however, Erico caught an infection which led to a long period out on the sidelines. Then, in 1935, he broke his leg. After he recovered, however, he reminded everyone of his talent by taking Independiente to the league title in 1938 and 1939. Later, he joined Huracán where he only played 7 games in 1947 before retiring.

After retirement

After retiring from football, Erico decided to live in Argentina, although he often visited his country of origin. He had a brief career as a coach, managing the club where he started his career as a footballer, Nacional and also had a brief stint in Club Sol de América where he led the team to a second place finish in the 1957 Paraguayan Primera División. In 1960 he got married with Aurelia Blanco. They had no children.

In 1970 Erico was honored in Asunción, Paraguay during a friendly match between Argentina and Paraguay national sides in the Estadio Defensores del Chaco that was at its full capacity.

In 1977 his left leg had to be cut off, and he finally died of a heart attack on July 23, 1977. While the match between River and Independiente (played the day following his death) was being played, the crowd acclaimed Erico singing "Se siente, se siente, Erico está presente (We feel it, we feel it, Erico is with us)".

Erico was buried in the Cemetery of Morón in Greater Buenos Aires. Independiente paid the costs of burial expenses and funeral.[6]


Erico was an inspiration to Argentine player Alfredo Di Stéfano, who considered him one of the greatest players ever. Other figures like Brazilian striker Leônidas da Silva and Paraguayan Delfín Benítez Cáceres also consider Erico as one of the best players in history.[7] Argentine striker Francisco Varallo remembers Erico as a "phenomenon" that would excel in scoring headers due to his high jumps.[8]

Club Nacional stadium is named after him, and sections of the Defensores del Chaco stadium in Paraguay and the Libertadores de América stadium in Avellaneda also carry Arsenio Erico's name.[9] He died on 23 July 1977.

Career summary


Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Argentina League Cup Total
1934 Independiente Primera División 21 12
1935 18 22
1936 26 21
1937 34 48
1938 30 43
1939 32 41
1940 30 29
1941 27 26
1942 3 0
1943 29 17
1944 26 12
1945 30 20
1946 19 4
1947 Huracán Primera División 7 0
Career total 334 295



Nacional (Paraguay)


  1. Revista de la AFA, p. 13, Jul 2013
  2. "Un club que construyó una historia notable y se volvió Rey de Copas", Clarín, 16 Jun 2013
  3. "El último adversario", La Nación, 11 Marc 2009
  4. "Arsenio Erico: Un jugador glorioso del fútbol paraguayo" on ABC
  5. Arsenio Erico on World Football Legends
  6. "Personajes históricos del Bicentenario: Arsenio Erico" on Ea', 29 Apr 2011
  7. "Arsenio Pastor Saltarín Rojo Erico Martínez". Albigol. 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Arsenio Erico". Independiente Website. 2003. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. La Platea "Arsenio Erico" en "Diabólicos"
  10. "Erico, el paraguayo de oro"