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When it comes to Latin American athletes, stars of soccer such as the legendary Maradona are probably the first to come to mind. However, latino talent goes far beyond the soccer field, from Olympics stars to the boxing ring. Over the decades, latino talent has dominated sports fields of all kinds, from South to North America and beyond!
In this article, we’ve pulled together the best latino and lationa athletes who inspired millions of sports fans with their amazing performances and excellent skills.
1. Diego Maradona
The most famous Argentinian soccer player of all time and a national legend, Diego Maradona is a name that every soccer fan is familiar with. His death in 2020 was seen as national tragedy in Argentina and for fans across the world. Not only did Maradona score an incredible number of goals throughout his career, but is also credited with winning a world cup for his team single-handedly.
Diego Maradona attracted a huge fan base not only in Latin America but across the world when he won the World Cup for Argentina in 1986 by scoring five goals. His excellent performances in this World Cup against England caused many to say that we was touched by the “hand of God”. He won FIFA World Cup Golden Ball Award in 1986. In the following year, Maradona was awareded the Milliyet Sports Award for World Athlete of the Year.
2. Lionel Messi
Another popular name in Argentinian soccer is Lionel Messi, a current soccer star who has already achieved a lot at a very young age. He was only 23 when he was awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year award. At 27, he became the strongest performer in the UEFA’s Champion League.
Messi isn’t only popular in Latin America, but his skills have made him one of the most popular soccer players in the world at the moment. He has received more than 50 awards to date and continues to be a fan favorite.
3. Sofia Mulanovich
This Peru-based surfer is a popular Latin American athlete known for being the first woman in latina history to win the World Surf League Championship Tour. Sofia is an inspiration for all kinds of surfers, but especially young latina women. To date, she is the only athlete to win two ISA World Championships and in 2019 she also won the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan.
4. Mariano Rivera
Arguably the greatest closer in Baseball, Mariano Rivera started his journey as a young player in Panama. The former closing pitcher for the New York Yankees boasted many achievements throughout his career, including being awarded the Most Valuable Player in 1999, Four World Series Rings and Rolaids Relief Award. As part of his tenure with the New York Yankees, Rivera won five world series.
5. Marcos Maidana
Marcos Maidana is a popular Argentinan former boxer known for his excellent fighting skills. Starting his career in 2004, Maidana participated over 40 fights and won 35 of these. Nicknamed “El Chino”, Maidana participated in many international championships from Germany and Panama and continues to be an inspiration to aspiring boxers and sports lovers all over the world.
6. Julio Cesar Chavez
Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez started his career in 1980. What sets him apart from other boxers is his incredible success rate: Chavez won 107 out of his 115 fights. He is a multiple world championship winner across three weight divisions. Although is no longer be seen on the boxing ring today, retiring in 2000, but he is still loved and supported by hundreds of thousands of boxing fans worldwide.
7. Roberto Clemente
Clemente is known as the first popular star of baseball. He started playing Major League baseball in 1955 and his impressive career continued until 1972 when he died in a plane crash off the coast of Puerto Rico. He is known for playing 18 seasons in Major League Baseball with 3,000 hits and 240 home runs to his name.
Clemente is not only celebrated for his long, succesful career, but also for his strong throwing arm. With a .317 batting average and a fantastic personality, Roberto Clemente won millions of hearts, known not only as a great baseball player, but also a great man.
8. Alfredo di Stefano
The third Argentine on this list and one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Alfredo di Stefano was an exceptional athlete and an excellent professional coach. He was known as a player with great stamina, creativity, and talent. Stefano had the ability to play on nearly any pitch and enjoyed a successful career in Madrid.
These top 8 atheletes are just a few of the talented latino and latina atheletes now and through history. Latin America has given the world many talented footballers, baseball players, boxers, surfers, cricketers, and more. Whole some are still active lLionel Messi and others have retired, they all hold a special place in our hearts.