If a right-winger is from a certain age there is a benchmark to which they are usually compared – Garrincha – arguably the greatest right-winger ever. Corbatta was compared to the Brazilian not just on the pitch but sadly off of it as well.
Born Omar Oreste Corbatta Fernández on the 11th March 1936 in Daireaux province of Buenos Aires, his mother moved the family of eight children to La Plata following the death of her husband. It was a poor family and Corbatta would grow up illiterate never learning to read or write – something of which he was ashamed throughout his life. Football was a way out, but at the age of 14 he was released by the youth team of Estudiantes following an ankle injury. In 1953 however he joined Juvelandia de Chascomús for whom he played in the La Liga Platense [a regional amateur league].
Corbatta started to get noticed until a recommendation to the club saw his move in 1955 to Racing Club de Avellaneda. The next seven years would bring two league titles [1958, 1961] and recognition at international level. Corbatta made his debut in the 1956 Pan-American games. However, the following year at 1957 Copa América, La Albiceleste were sublime led by the ‘Angeles con caras sucias’ [Angels with Dirty Faces], which included Corbatta. Sadly by the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Italian clubs had dismantled the ‘Angels’ buying three who would go on to play for Italy though Argentina would win the 1959 Copa América at home.
Both for club and country, Corbatta made the right-wing his own earning the name ‘El Argentino Garrincha’ in the process. With his dribbling, his tricks, opposing defenders found it difficult to stop him and as a right-winger he scored a high number of goals, more with placement than power.
In 1963 he moved to Boca Juniors but by now the darker comparison to Garrincha was taking hold. His physical condition was deteriorating as alcoholism was taking hold and whilst gaining to league titles with Boca, he made only 18 appearances in two years. A move to Colombia followed and Independiente Medellin. A league title was won but as his alcoholism grew stronger his marriage dissolved. He returned to Argentina in 1970 playing out the final four years of his career with a series of local and regional teams. He died of alcohol consumption in 1991 at just 55 years of age.
Corbatta is remembered for his trickery, incredible balance and dribbling abilities that left defenders flailing and their inability to win the ball from him. As Corbatta himself said:- “She [the ball] never wanted to leave my side”. Mostly he is remembered for being one of the best right wingers Argentina have ever had.
GREATEST SQUAD – STARTING XI [4-2-3-1]
OSCAR RUGGERI DANIEL PASSARELLA
JAVIER ZANETTI SILVIO MARZOLINI
FERNANDO REDONDO RICARDO BOCHINI
OMAR CORBATTA DIEGO MARADONA LIONEL MESSI
GREATEST SQUAD – RESERVES
GK: AMADEO CARRIZO
GK: ANTONIO ROMA
LB: JUAN PABLO SORÍN
RB: NÉSTOR SENSINI
SWP: ROBERTO AYALA
CB: ROBERTO PERFUMO
CDM: NÉSTOR ROSSI
CM: OSVALDO ARDILES
CM: JUAN ROMÁN RIQUELME
RW: RENÉ HOUSEMAN
ST: GABRIEL BATISTUTA
ST: MARIO KEMPES
Created by Alan Robins Images by Jorge Manuel Martins