Lionel Messi, on the path of Delio Onnis, the forgotten Argentine striker who is a legend in France

Lionel Messi, on the path of Delio Onnis, the forgotten Argentine striker who is a legend in France

In the coming decades and perhaps for the rest of time, the new footballers will take to the field with an intimate obsession: to follow the pace of Lionel messi, the man who marked his time. The Rosario is already one of the greatest gunners in the history of football and will seek to make his legend even greater with the jersey of PSG, in a country that already knows well what it is to see Argentines breaking networks.

Although names like Carlos Bianchi and Marcelo Gallardo have more brilliance, the all-time leading scorer in French soccer was Delio Onnis, a name less remembered in Argentina but highly valued in the land that Messi treads today. There he has held the scoring record since the eighties.

Onnis was born in Italy in 1948, but when he was three years old he landed with his parents in Argentina, where he grew up and learned to play soccer. He started in the lower Almagro, came to play in the B and in 1968 he went to Gymnastics and Fencing of La Plata. There he made his debut in the First Division and was a sensation, with 53 goals in 95 games.

In 1971, a group of leaders of the Stade de Reims from France traveled to Buenos Aires with the aim of hiring Alfredo El Mono Obberti, the goalscorer for Los Andes and Newell’s. The operation was virtually completed, but at the last minute Obberti’s wife did not want to travel and the transfer was thwarted. So they went for Onnis. The forward accepted and stayed to live in France forever.

In his first two seasons (71-72 and 72-73) the muscular number nine scored 39 goals for Reims. Then he went to Monaco where he played seven seasons, He was the tournament’s top scorer twice, won a League (77-78), scored 157 goals and was about to win the Ballon d’Or.

Onnis was a striker opposed to the number 30 of the current Parisian squad. He was neither exquisite technique nor a great dribbler, nor was he especially fast. But he was a goal scoring machine and in the principality he was an idol. Every year at the end of the championship, the fans gathered signatures to ask Prince Rainier for the renewal of his contract.

Between 1980 and 1983 he played for Tours FC, a very small club where he was a two-time scorer scoring a total of 64 goals. He eventually moved on to Sporting Toulon, a club from which he retired from football in 1986 after scoring his last 39 goals and being the tournament’s top scorer once again.

For 10 years, between 1974 and 1984, Delio Onnis and Carlos Bianchi shared, five times each, the title of goalscorer in French football.

Onnis is still the top scorer in the history of the French League with 299 goals, 121 less than Messi scored in the Spanish League. At 34, the Rosario arrives with the full ambition to emulate at least one season of Onnis in order to further expand his legend.

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