At the age of just 25, Daniel Passarella led his country to their first ever World Cup victory; no wonder they call him 'El Gran Capitan'. The complete defender, Passarella could marshal his defence as easily as stroll forwards to score a crucial goal.
And he did that more than almost any other defender in history. For club and country his goalscoring record was better than a goal every four games, incredible for a centre-back and just one of the reasons he was compared to the great Franz Beckenbauer. He also shared with the Kaiser a maturity beyond his years and an almost supernatural ability to read the game.
From his first games for River Plate, the club he joined at the age of 21, it was clear this was not your average defender. At just 5ft 8ins, by conventional wisdom he was too short to be a centre-half, but from the off his prowess in the air was evident at both ends of the field. From denying strikers in aerial battles within his own box, to attacking set pieces at the opposite end, Passarella was just as comfortable with the ball in the air as he was on the ground.
Added to his footballing ability, his cool temperament and the respect he was shown by his team-mates made him the perfect choice for captain when Cesar Luis Menotti put together his side for the 1978 World Cup.
With the tournament on home soil, the pressure could not have been greater for such a young man, but he rose to the challenge. Mario Kempes took the headlines with his six goals but without the steel and leadership of Passarella, Argentina would not have triumphed.
Eight years later, he would lift the trophy again, the only Argentinian player to have done so twice. The circumstances this time were not so perfect for the defender, as an injury in the group games kept him out of most of the tournament.
In his club career he left his beloved Millionarios to test himself in Italy with Fiorentina. In the land of great defenders he was just as at home as he had been in Buenos Aires. He played over 100 times for the Florence club before joining Inter Milan for a short spell and then heading back to River.
In 1989 he hung up his boots and for such a great leader on the field, the transition into management was a natural one, starting at River Plate. Four league titles at El Monumental persuaded the Argentine Football Association to make him national coach in 1994.
He could not emulate Beckenbauer by lifting the World Cup as player and manager, Argentina losing to a talented Holland side in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup in France.
After coaching in Italy, Brazil and Mexico, Passarella decided to move upstairs and in 2009 was elected president of the club that has defined his career, River Plate.