Mario Kempes is a retired Argentine footballer who is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He was born on July 15, 1954 in Bell Ville, Córdoba, Argentina and is now 68 years old.
Kempes was an attacking midfielder and striker who spent most of his club career playing for Valencia CF in Spain. At the international level, he represented Argentina and was part of their 1978 World Cup winning team, finishing as the top goalscorer of the tournament with 6 goals.
Some key facts about Mario Kempes:
- Full Name: Mario Alberto Kempes
- Date of Birth: July 15, 1954
- Place of Birth: Bell Ville, Córdoba, Argentina
- Height: 1.81 m
- Playing Position: Attacking midfielder/Striker
- Clubs: Instituto, Rosario Central, Valencia, River Plate, First Vienna FC, Kota Bahru FA
- International Debut: 1973
- International Caps/Goals: 43/20
Net Worth and Career Earnings
According to multiple reports, Mario Kempes has an estimated net worth of $10 million as of 2024. The majority of his wealth has come from his lucrative football career.
Kempes earned a significant amount of money from his 15 year club career in Argentina, Spain and Austria. His reported salaries and earnings include:
- $93,000 annual salary at Valencia CF (1976-1984)
- $650,000 transfer fee to River Plate (1981)
- Estimated career earnings of over $5 million from Valencia
Additionally, Kempes has earned income through endorsements, sponsorships and appearances over the years. He did commercials for brands like Coca-Cola and had a long-term boot sponsorship with Puma.
Today he works as a football analyst for ESPN and other media outlets, adding to his wealth and providing regular income even after retirement. Overall, his net worth is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
Early Life and Club Career
Mario Kempes was born in Bell Ville, Córdoba, Argentina in 1954. He started playing football from a very young age and joined local club Instituto Atlético Central Córdoba at age 11.
Kempes made his professional debut with Instituto at 17 years old in 1973. After a season, he transferred to Rosario Central where he scored 26 goals in 58 matches. His performances attracted attention from Europe and he moved to Spanish side Valencia CF in 1976 for a then record fee of $1 million.
At Valencia, Kempes reached the height of his career. He scored 146 goals in 283 games and helped the club win the Copa del Rey, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup during the late 1970s. His strong performances earned him the nickname “Matador” from the fans.
Kempes spent 8 successful seasons at Valencia until 1984, when he returned to Argentina with River Plate. He won 2 league titles with River but also suffered knee ligament injuries that affected his form. In 1987 he moved to Austria for a season with First Vienna FC before ending his playing career with Malaysian club Kota Bahru FA in 1989.
International Career with Argentina
Mario Kempes made his international debut for Argentina in 1973 against Bolivia at age 19. He was part of the Argentine squad for the 1974 World Cup but only played one match.
It was during the 1978 World Cup on home soil that Kempes truly shone for his country. He scored 2 goals in the opening match against Hungary and finished as the top goalscorer of the tournament with 6 goals.
His goals helped Argentina reach the final, where Kempes scored twice against Netherlands to lead Argentina to their first ever World Cup title win. He was named player of the tournament for his performances.
In total, Kempes earned 43 caps and scored 20 goals for Argentina until his retirement after the 1982 World Cup. He played alongside other Argentine greats like Daniel Passarella and Osvaldo Ardiles during an illustrious international career.
Mario Kempes’ Achievements with Argentina:
- 1978 World Cup Winner
- 1978 World Cup Golden Boot (top scorer with 6 goals)
- 1978 World Cup Golden Ball (player of the tournament)
- 1979 Copa América Winner
- 37 goals in 71 appearances
Style of Play and Goal Scoring Prowess
Mario Kempes was renowned for his goalscoring ability, technical skill and athleticism on the pitch. Standing at 1.81m tall, he had great physical strength and speed which complemented his attacking style of play.
As a striker and attacking midfielder, Kempes was excellent at finishing with both feet. He had powerful and accurate shot-taking, often scoring from long distances. His technique allowed him to control long passes and quickly shoot on the turn.
Kempes was also skilled at creating chances and linking up play with his dribbling ability and passing range. His aerial threat, creativity and positional sense made him a complete forward who could both score and assist goals.
At his peak at Valencia and during the 1978 World Cup, Kempes scored goals at a staggering rate. He topped the goalscoring charts in La Liga twice, in 1977 with 28 goals and 1979 with 25 goals. His ability to find the back of the net made him a feared striker across Europe.
By the end of his career, Kempes had scored over 300 goals at club level and 20 goals for Argentina in just 43 appearances. His goalscoring prowess established him as one of the best ever Argentine footballers.
Records and Achievements
Some of Mario Kempes’ major individual records and career achievements include:
- 1978 World Cup Golden Boot with 6 goals
- 1978 World Cup Golden Ball (Player of the Tournament)
- La Liga top goalscorer (Pichichi Trophy) in 1977 and 1979
- Named Argentine Player of the Year twice – 1977 and 1978
- UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup top goalscorer in 1979–80
- Named to the 1978 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
- Inducted into the Argentine Football Association Hall of Fame in 2015
With Valencia, Kempes won the Copa del Rey in 1979, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1980 and UEFA Super Cup in 1980. He was also part of Argentina’s 1978 World Cup and 1979 Copa America winning squads.
Kempes is firmly established as one of the all-time greats not just for Valencia and Argentina, but in global football history. His goalscoring exploits, World Cup performances and trophy haul cement his legacy.
Personal Life and Relationships
Mario Kempes has been married to his wife, Maria Amuchástegui since 1979. They have three children together – two sons named Mario Sebastián and Gonzalo and a daughter named Candelaria.
Kempes has kept his family and personal relationships out of the spotlight for most of his life. His wife and children have maintained a low profile despite his fame. They lived together in Valencia during his playing career in Spain before moving back to Argentina.
In more recent years, Kempes has been open about his family in interviews. He has credited his wife Maria for being a stabilizing influence in his life. Kempes also speaks lovingly about teaching his children values through sport and family time.
While few details are publicly known about Kempes’ wider personal relationships, he maintains close ties to former teammates like Ricardo Bochini and coaches like Cesar Luis Menotti. Kempes is still an iconic and beloved figure among Valencia CF and Argentina football fans.
In conclusion, Mario Kempes is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, especially in Argentina and Spain. His goalscoring feats, World Cup performances and trophy haul have cemented his legacy as an all-time great.
Some key points on Kempes’ career:
- At his peak in the late 1970s, he was one of the most prolific scorers in Europe and feared by defenders. His technique, athleticism and finishing ability made him a complete striker.
- Kempes played a pivotal role in Argentina’s first World Cup win in 1978. He was the driving force behind their campaign, finishing as top scorer and player of the tournament.
- At club level with Valencia, he won major trophies like the Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Kempes is regarded as a legend in Valencia’s history.
- His goalscoring records, individual honors and triumphs with both club and country make Kempes one of football’s iconic figures. He was inducted into the Argentine Football Association Hall of Fame in 2015.
- Off the pitch, Kempes has been happily married for over 40 years and raised three children. He retains icon status among fans today.
Mario Kempes’ brilliant career as a dynamic goalscorer and World Cup hero ensure that his footballing legacy will continue to be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. He remains one of the most cherished players in Argentina’s rich football history.
FAQs About Mario Kempes
Here are answers to 5 of the most frequently asked questions about the football legend Mario Kempes:
Why is Mario Kempes famous?
Mario Kempes is most famous for being part of Argentina’s 1978 World Cup winning team and finishing as the top goalscorer of the tournament. His goals and performances were crucial in Argentina’s first ever World Cup triumph.
What was Mario Kempes’ best goal?
Kempes’ second goal in the 1978 World Cup final against Netherlands is considered his most famous and important goal. It helped Argentina tie the scores at 1-1 before they went on to win 3-1 in extra time.
What number did Mario Kempes wear?
During his career, Kempes wore the number 9 shirt for the majority of his club and international appearances. The number became synonymous with him during his goalscoring peak.
Where did Mario Kempes play?
Kempes played for several clubs during his career including Instituto, Rosario Central, Valencia, River Plate, First Vienna and Kota Bahru. He spent his peak years at Valencia and was part of Argentina’s national team for a decade.
Why was Kempes known as “El Matador”?
Kempes earned the nickname “El Matador” which means The Killer due to his lethal goalscoring abilities. Valencia fans bestowed him with the nickname during his prolific seasons at the club.