Buenos Aires (AFP)

Argentinian striker Leopoldo Jacinto Luque, author of several decisive goals during the World Cup-1978 won at home by Albiceleste, died Monday at the age of 71 of a heart attack, we learned from a hospital source.

The former River Plate and Union Santa Fe player was hospitalized in Mendoza, at the foot of the Andes mountain range in the west of the country, after contracting the coronavirus.

It was under the sky blue and white fitted jersey of the Argentine selection that the striker with long hair and a mustache provided had marked the spirits in 1978.

Luque, author of a total of 22 goals in 45 caps, had struck four times in this first World Cup won by Argentina, with Mario Kempes and Daniel Passarella.

Under the games of the military junta then in power in Argentina, he had first equalized in the first match won (2-1) against Hungary, he had knocked out France (2-1) with a violent half-volley in pivot at the entry of the surface, then had scored a brace in the controversial victory (6-0) against Peru, which qualified Argentina for the final.

Argentina had won against the Netherlands (3-1 after extra time) under rains of "papelitos" (confetti) at the Monumental de River Plate, the stadium where Luque also shone in club with the "Millonarios" ( 75 goals in 176 matches and 5 Argentine league titles).

"With coaches like (César) Menotti in the national team or (Angel) Labruna at River, I felt like the best striker in the world," said Luque after his career, who finished fourth in Mundial's top scorer two lengths behind Kempes.

After his retirement as a player, he coached several clubs in the province of Mendoza.

© 2021 AFP