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Norberto Alonso

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Norberto Osvaldo Alonso , known colloquially as "Beto" Alonso, is a former Argentine football midfielder, who played the majority of his career for the Argentine club River Plate , and remains one of their most iconic players. He stands in fifth place in River Plate's all time goalscoring records with 149 goals and in 7th place in their all time appearances record with 374 .

Club career

Alonso was born in Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires province, but grew up in the poor suburb of Los Polvorines. An attacking midfielder, he rose through the ranks of River's juvenile divisions as the team was undergoing its infamous mufa . When Angel Labruna took the reins in 1975, Alonso was the team's anchor as holder of the No. 10 jersey.

With reinforcements Roberto Perfumo and Ubaldo Fillol, and the maturing of players like Daniel Passarella, Carlos Morete, Jota Jota Lopez and Reinaldo Merlo, Alonso led the squad that won both the Metropolitano and the Nacional tournaments for 1975, ushering in a series of seven local titles in the period 1975-1981.

In 1976, Alonso was traded to Olympique Marseille, but he was unsuccessful and appeared unhappy away from his adoring fans. River Plate arranged for his return in 1977.

Between the years 1979-1981, River won four local titles, and became one of the most expensive teams in the world, with a first team (Alonso-Luque) playing in league games and an equally prestigious second team (Carrasco-Ramon Diaz) used mostly in Copa Libertadores matches.

During the 1981 "Nacional" tournament (which River would eventually win), Alonso often clashed with then coach Alfredo Di Stefano (who seldom selected him for the first team and instead put younger players such as Carlos Daniel Tapia and Jose Maria Vieta in his position). After the Nacional, Alonso was put on the transfer list and was sold to Velez Sarsfield on 1982. After playing alongside veteran Carlos Bianchi, he returned to River Plate once again for the 1984 season.

In 1983, national coach Carlos Bilardo gave Alonso some games in the national team, but eventually decided to select younger players in his position: Diego Maradona, Jorge Burruchaga, and Carlos Tapia. Tapia was one of many talented midfielders to emerge at River Plate during Alonso's reign .

Alonso was a key player of the successful team of 1985-1986 that won River Plate's first Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup. In 1985, his main partner was Enzo Francescoli. By the time he retired, he had scored 166 goals in 464 matches.

National team

Alonso was not in the plans of coach Cesar Luis Menotti for the 1978 FIFA World Cup, but he got in the squad anyway, allegedly as a result of pressure by Admiral Lacoste, an influential member of the military government. Menotti gave Alonso only a few minutes of play during the tournament. Menotti used Daniel Valencia and later Mario Kempes in his position; Argentina won the world title with Kempes as top scorer.


After retiring from the pitch, Alonso opened an insurance agency. He was also a partner in several commercial ventures, even though he was not an advertising figurehead—after the 1986 World Cup, Argentina's poster boy was Maradona.

Together with Merlo, Alonso coached River Plate in 1989, but were dismissed in mid-season when new club president Davicce made good on an election promise to bring in Daniel Passarella as coach. River eventually went on to win the championship.

Some consider Alonso as River Plate's greatest ever player. The chant Alooo... Aloooo... was the war cry of the Monumental stadium for years; rivals would reply with chants of their own, some of them berating Alonso, although Argentine fans in general acknowledge Beto as an elegant and effective player.

World Cup numbering

At the 1978 World Cup Argentina used an alphabetical system for numbering the players, so Alonso (a midfielder) wore the number 1 jersey (usually reserved for goalkeepers).

External links

Alonso's statistics at River Detroit

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Norberto Alonso