Argentina is a country that loves sport. The elite athletes of the country are also very skilled, with Argentina almost always coming top of the medal count at the South American Games - the South American regional answer to the Olympics - since 1978. But what are the iconic sports of Argentina? And why are they so popular? Read on and discover some interesting facts about Argentine sport you may not know.
Football is the arguably the most popular sport in the world, and in Argentina it is no different. The country has an estimated 2.5 million football players, ranging from recreational to professional players. Being home to Maradona, Agüero, and the current "goat" of football, Lionel Messi, the football fans of Argentina have no shortage of heroes to look up to; and have won the World Cup three times, most recently in 2022. The Women's game is very successful too, first qualifying for the World Cup in 2007. The country shares a fierce rivalry with neighbours Brazil, who are also exceptional at the game, which only increases the popularity of the sport in both countries. Just like countries all over the world, football is often played by children in the school yard all the way up to the international stage. Football is likely to remain the most popular sport in Argentina, but read on for some more Argentine favourites.
Basketball is extremely popular in the provinces of Argentina. Like many countries worldwide, Argentina is heavily influenced by US culture, and basketball being an American game, it's no wonder that it travelled down the continents to Argentina. The sport has been present in the country for some time, and the national squad won the first ever Basketball World Cup in 1950. One of the most prolific basketball players in the world, Manu Ginóbili, hailed from Argentina, and is one of only two people to have won a Euro League title, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal.
One sport you may not have heard of is Padel Tennis. Played by four and a half million amateur players in Argentina, it is one of the country’s most popular sports. Originating in Mexico, it is a form of tennis played in an enclosed space where balls can be bounced from the wall, like squash. It is a fairly new sport, beginning in 1969, but has spread all over the world, being enjoyed in in South America as well as many areas of Europe and Asia. It isn't just played on an amateur level, though - between the men and women, Argentina have won 19 titles at the World Championships.
There are so many popular sports in Argentina it would be impossible to name them all; but here are some honourable mentions before we come on to our favourite. Traditional tennis is said to be the second most popular sport in Argentina, and have a very good international record; recently winning the 2016 Davis Cup. Hockey is very high level in Argentina, too; the women's national team Las Leonas is one of the most successful in the world, boasting five Olympic medals and two World Cups. Roller Hockey is particularly popular in the Cuyo region of Argentina, and both the men's and the women's national team have won five World Cups each. Rugby, golf, sailing, cricket, volleyball are all very popular as well.
But possibly the most iconic sport in all of Argentina is polo. The modern game has its origins in Argentina, after it was brought over from India in the 19th century. The Argentine farming people had been expert horsemen for generations, so an equine team sport was perfect for their lifestyle. They quickly became very good, and in the modern game they have been consistently successful, being uninterrupted world champions since 1949. The style of polo transcends the sport itself, with polo inspired polo shirts being the cornerstone of brands like Ralph Lauren. We here at pampeano specialise in luxury leather polo belts, inspired by the traditional team garments decorated in team colours of the first polo teams in Argentina. Today, our pampeano belts are luxury accessories to improve any outfit, from business to casual. Take a look at our broad range now here on our website.