Man who attended first WC, celebrates 100th birthday

LA PLATA: The first World Cup may seem like ancient history, but there’s one man who is still around to talk about it. Francisco Varallo, then just 20 years old, is the last living player who was on the field during the first World Cup final in Montevideo in 1930.

On Friday (February 12), hundreds gathered in Varallo’s hometown of La Plata, some 40 miles (63 kilometers) south of the capital Buenos Aires, to honor the legendary striker.

Varallo, who turned 100 earlier this month, still remembers the match when his Argentina fell 4-2 to host Uruguay.

Although he never won the World Cup with Argentina, Varallo, known locally as Pancho, made an indelible mark on local soccer, leading the legendary club Boca Juniors to an extraordinary string of 181 wins in 210 matches.

He held the title of Boca’s all-time leader in goals for nearly 70 years, only recently between dethroned by current Boca star Martin Palermo.

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