Juan Gilberto Funes
Juan Gilberto Funes (March 8 1963-January 11 1992), nicknamed "El Bufalo" (The Buffalo) was an Argentinian football player. He was born in the province of San Luis, Argentina. Known for his physical type of play, he was the terror of any defensive player he ever faced.
He was a vital piece of the 1986 River Plate team that won the Copa Libertadores for the first time, in which he score a goal in the first match in Colombia, which River won by the score of 2-1 and at home in Buenos Aires, for the 1-0 victory against America de Cali. Ironically, this wasn't the first time Colombian teams and fans saw his moves: in the glory days of the Colombian league in the 1980s, Funes played for Millonarios -the team with more championships in Colombia-, where he simply "schooled" other forwards with his opportunistic technique and his attitude.
He first played football for local club Huracan, then Estudiantes de La Plata, Sarmiento de Junin, Jorge Newbery and Gimnasia y Esgrima de Mendoza, and then for Millonarios Bogota in 1984. In that year, his team became runner-up of Colombia, and the following year he achieved a record of 33 goals in a single season.
After Colombia, he moved to Greece and played for Olympiacos. With the Piraeus club Funes scored some very important goals .
After Olympiacos, he went to France and played for AS Nancy and Nantes, but because of health problem he stopped his career in Europe.
He returned to his homeland for second time, but sadly he was rejected by Boca Juniors due to his illness. But this did not it interrupt him to continue its career as the professional in the Velez Sarsfield.
However, his health forced him soon to retire. He died of a heart attack on January 12, 1992 and a few years later until today the Estadio de San Luis carries his name.
He is considered today one of the greater legends of the Millonarios of Bogota where is one of their greatest idols and always the River Plate fans remember his goals in the Copa Libertadores Final.
During his career, Funes was capped 4 times by the Argentina National Team.
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