Las Leyendas: The 5 greatest South American A-League players

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South America has produced many of the world’s greatest footballers. Some of the region’s most talented players have travelled abroad to Australia and achieved hero status in the A-League.

Here are the five greatest South American A-League players to grace our shores.

5. Marcos Flores

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The only South American to win a Johnny Warren Medal, Flores burst onto the A-League scene in 2010 with Adelaide United. 

During his historic season in 2010/11, Flores scored nine goals in 29 appearances for United before moving to Chinese Super League side, Henan Jiaye.

Once his contract finished in China, the winger shocked the Australian football world by signing with Adelaide’s fierce rivals, Melbourne Victory.

The Argentinian midfielder continued to excite at the Victory, winning the 2012/13 A-League Goal of the Year Award when he combined with Guilherme Finkler to produce one of the greatest one-two goals in the league’s history.

Flores spent one season at the Big V before the Central Coast Mariners signed him to a one year deal.

Despite having some brilliant moments with the Mariners, Flores suffered an ACL injury that put him out of action for most of the 2013/14 campaign.

He would then finish his career joining cross-town rivals, the Newcastle Jets, in 2014.  

Including his Johnny Warren Medal, Flores’ list of accolades include making the 2010/11 PFA Team of the Season and receiving the A-League Foreign Player of the Season in the same campaign.

4. Bruno Fornaroli

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Affectionately known as ‘The Prickly Pear’, Fornaroli joined Melbourne City at the start of the 2015/16 A-League season and has become one of the league’s most feared strikers since. 

Fornaroli achieved instant success at City, becoming the first A-League player to score 20 goals in a season and winning the Golden Boot during his first campaign at the club.

He also became the first Uruguayan to make a PFA Team of the Season during the 2015/16 campaign. 

After his outstanding maiden season with the team, Fornaroli became Melbourne’s new club captain following Patrick Kisnorbo’s retirement.

The Prickly Pear thrived under his new role, scoring 17 league goals and making the PFA Team of the Season (2016/17) in consecutive campaigns.

In addition to his superb form in the A-League, Fornaroli led City to their first piece of silverware, winning the 2016 FFA Cup Final against Sydney FC 1-0.

Making FFA Cup history, Fornaroli became the first and only South American to win the Mark Viduka Medal that night.

Fornaroli scored 48 goals in 70 appearances for City before parting ways with the club and taking his talents to Perth Glory.

Since moving to Perth in 2019, the Uruguayan superstar has continued to excel, scoring 17 goals in 33 games. 

At 33, Fornaroli still has time to build on his exceptional A-League resume and edge closer to becoming the division’s all-time top scorer.

3. Bobô

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Bobô immediately made his presence felt when he arrived at the A-League in 2016, scoring 15 goals and helping Sydney FC to a Premiership/Championship double. 

Etching his name into A-League history, the Brazilian striker became the fastest man to score 20 goals in one season, only taking 20 games to achieve the feat. 

That was not the only record he broke during the 2017/18 A-League season though, Bobô finished the campaign with 27 goals in 27 games to score the most goals in a single season. 

Adding to his remarkable A-League goal scoring record, he picked up eight goals in the 2017 edition of the FFA Cup, including the deciding goal in that year’s final against Adelaide United.

Bobô left Sydney after winning back-to-back premierships with the side and returned to the Turkish Super Lig for the first time since 2014.

After a three year hiatus, Bobô came back to the Sky Blues in January 2021 and is looking to cement his legacy as an all-time A-League legend.  

2. Cássio

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An Adelaide United club legend, Cássio played 158 games for the Reds from 2007-2011.

During his first season with the team, Cássio established himself as one of the league’s elite fullbacks and won the 2007/08 Adelaide United Club Champion Award.

The Brazilian superstar began to show A-League fans that he was just as good in attack as he was in defence, scoring four goals in 16 league appearances the following year. 

Cássio added another Adelaide Club Champion Award to his name following the 2010/11 season and became the first Brazilian to make the PFA Team of the Season in that same campaign. 

Shortly after he parted ways with Adelaide in 2014, Cássio was named at left-back in the A-League Team of the Decade, capping off his spectacular seven-year stint with the Reds.

1. Marcelo Carrusca 

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For many years, Carrusca was the catalyst of Adelaide United’s midfield. The playmaking Argentinian joined the Reds in 2012 as an international marquee. 

As soon as he touched down in Adelaide, Carrusca began making a significant impact for his side.

During his first campaign with the Reds, Carrusca’s ability to create in the final third helped him earn a spot in the 2012/13 PFA Team of the Season.

Just when United fans thought they saw the best of Carrusca, the Argentinian scored six goals in 23 appearances and made the PFA Team of the Season for the second year running. 

In 2014, the Reds midfielder won his first team accolade, helping Adelaide win the inaugural FFA Cup Final against the Perth Glory 1-0. 

Carrusca continued establishing himself as one of the A-League’s best-attacking midfielders, by adding to his individual honours and becoming the only South American to make three PFA Team of the Season’s after the 2014/15 campaign.

The following season, the Argentinian maestro boosted the Reds to their first-ever A-League Championship/Premiership double in 2016.

Once he helped Adelaide to their first championship title, Carrusca spent another season with the club before departing in 2017 to join Melbourne City.

He only made four appearances for City before parting ways with the club to join the Western Sydney Wanderers. 

Carrusca scored once in his 12 games as a Wanderer before hanging up his boots in 2019. 

While there have been many South American stars in the A-League, no one has reached the great heights Carrusca did during his prolific six-year tenure in Australia.

Feature image credit: Melbourne City

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Amir Daou
Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity and Bachelor of Media and Communications student at Flinders University. Writing intern covering the latest in Adelaide United news and matches. Sport is my passion and I'm excited to learn more about the industry during my time with The Football Sack.

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