Argentina mourn the loss of 1978 World Cup winner René Houseman

René Houseman, one of the greatest and most charismatic players in Argentine football, died today after losing his long battle with cancer. He was 64.

The 1978 World Cup winner was diagnosed with tongue cancer last year and after appeals for blood donors to help in his treatment only last week, Houseman has passed away.

El Loco will be remembered as one of the most naturally gifted players that Argentina has produced, a tremendously skillful winger who starred for Argentina and Huracán during his career.

Hailing from the northern province of Santiago del Estero, Houseman came through the ranks at Buenos Aires club Excursionistas but despite being a supporter of the club, it was with rivals Defensores de Belgrano that the forward made his professional debut in 1971.

Houseman’s immediate impact saw Defensores lift the Primera C title and at the beginning of 1973, on the recommendation of César Luis Menotti, the 19-year-old was signed by Huracán.

That same year with Menotti at the helm, El Globo won the Campeonato Metropolitano and Houseman along with the likes of Miguel Brindisi and Omar Larrosa formed one of the great Argentine club sides.

Houseman’s performance not only made him an idol among the Huracán supporters but also earned him a spot in Argentina’s squad for the 1974 World Cup.

La Albiceleste would ultimately be eliminated in the second group stage but Houseman scored twice in the first round, against Italy and Haiti.

Four years later and with Menotti now in charge of the national team, Houseman remained a key figure. After the humbling defeat to the Netherlands in West Germany, Argentina would take revenge on home soil in 1978, lifting the World Cup for the first time.

A year later, Houseman would play his final game for Argentina but with a World Cup medal and 13 goals from 55 appearances, few can boast of such an international career.

In 1980, Huracán bid farewell to their idol after Houseman had scored 109 goals in 277 appearances and over the next five years, the World Cup winner would have brief spells with River Plate, Colo Colo, AmaZulu F.C and Independiente (where he was part of the squad that lifted the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup).

In 1985, Houseman retired playing one match for his beloved Excursionistas against Boca Juniors.

One of the great characters of Argentinian football as well as one of the most talented wingers, René Houseman will forever be remembered as this.

RIP El Loco

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