Barros Schelotto played 16 years of his professional career in the Argentine Primera División (6 with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata and 10 with Boca Juniors). With these two teams, he won a total 17 official titles (one with Gimnasia and 16 with Boca).
In 2007, Barros Schelotto left Boca Juniors for Columbus Crew in the Major League Soccer, therefore having his first experience outside his native country. The forward won another 3 titles with the United States' team, as well as two individual awards.
Born with a twin brother, Gustavo, Barros Schelotto was hence nicknamed El Mellizo ("the twin"). He started playing professionally at the end of 1991 with his hometown team Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata, where he scored 45 goals in 181 matches in five seasons and in 1993 won the AFA Centenario Cup. On 14 September 1997 he transferred to Primera División Argentina powerhouse Boca Juniors, for whom he played for almost 10 years. He was considered an idol by Boca fans and in his later years at the club showed his experience whenever he stepped on the pitch. Barros Schelotto remains one of Boca's top scorers in international matches with 25 goals, just one goal behind former teammate Martín Palermo.
In 1996, he was offered to play for River Plate, but after club icon Enzo Francescoli was not happy with the potential signing, the deal collapsed. In mid-1997, Boca Juniors showed interest for him and his brother Gustavo. It was like that that Barros Schelotto twins arrived to Boca teaming up to a former rival: Martín Palermo, Gimnasia's archrival Estudiantes de La Plata former player. The three of them were repeatedly recommended to Boca by Diego Maradona, who was playing his last season for the Buenos Aires team, retiring on October the same year. Once in Boca, he made his debut as a substitute for Claudio Caniggia, scoring on 14 September 1997 against Newell's Old Boys in a 2–1 victory.
With Carlos Bianchi as Boca Juniors' coach, Barros Schelotto got his traditional 7 shirt and kept it until 2006–07 season. He and former rival Martin Palermo became a successful attacking duo, who highly contributed in the 1998–99 title-winning season. He missed the 2001 and 2003 clubs international achievements due to injuries. In 2003, he was a key piece in the winning Copa Libertadores side, with his peak performance at the Round of 16 match against Brazilian team Paysandú, where he scored a hat-trick and assisted Marcelo Delgado's goal. In the second half of 2003 he again suffered from injuries and could only play for 46 minutes in the Copa Intercontinental winning match against AC Milan, when he replaced Carlos Tevez. With Alfio Basile as Boca coach, his participation in the first team was gradually lowering. He even was out of some first team matches and had to play for the second team to maintain his performance level. He scored 87 goals in 302 games for Boca Juniors.
Close to the end of his contract with Boca in 2007, it was rumored that he would leave the club to join a team where he would get more playing time. On 19 April 2007 he announced he would sign a two-year contract with Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew.
Barros Schelotto made his debut in the United States on 5 May, as a 75th-minute replacement, as the Crew lost the match against Kansas City Wizards 1–0. On 12 May 2007 he made his home debut in a game against Chivas USA. The game was tied 1–1, and Schelotto had the assist for the Crew goal. Barros Schelotto quickly became a team leader and fan favorite in Columbus, helping to turn their season around. In the 2007 season he led the team with 11 assists, also adding 5 goals, in 22 games.
Barros Schelotto had a strong MLS season in 2008, being chosen Player of the week four times, Player of the month once, and recording 19 assists and 7 goals during the regular season. He was awarded the Major League Soccer MVP on 20 November 2008. Barros Schelotto capped off his 2008 MLS campaign with an MVP performance in the 2008 MLS Cup which Columbus won 3–1 against New York Red Bulls at the Home Depot Center on 23 November 2008, behind Barros Schelotto's 3 assists. For his performance in the 2008 MLS season in which he displayed his leadership, vision, passing, scoring and positioning; Barros Schelotto was named Sports Illustrated Latino's Sportsman of the Year He became the Crew's first ever Designated Player on 2 December 2008.
On 16 November 2010, Barros Schelotto's option was not picked up by the team, along with several other veterans of the club, effectively ending his career in Columbus. Barros Schelotto elected to participate in the 2010 MLS Re-Entry Draft and became a free agent in Major League Soccer when he was not selected in the Re-Entry draft.
Barros Schelotto had decided to retire but on 13 January 2011, he went back on that decision and decided to see out his career with his childhood club Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. He returned 14 years after leaving the club in 1997 to join Boca Juniors. Barros Schelotto declined to accept a wage from the club and as such he was contracted unpaid, "ad honorem".
Barros Schelotto's spell at the club lasted 6 months. In that time he played 17 matches, primarily as a winger, and scored 3 goals. His last goal came against Boca Juniors, this was not only his last goal for Gimnasia but also his 110th goal in the Primera Division. As a result of his contributions to the club and his playing abilities, Barros Schelotto is revered by the fans as a club great.
Barros Schelotto has ten caps for the Argentina national football team, and won the gold medal in the under-23 Panamerican Games.
Following his retirement in 2011, he and fellow Argentine, Gino Padula, established SP Soccer Academy in Westerville, Ohio.
In July 2012, Barros Schelotto took his first job as a manager, taking charge of Club Atlético Lanús replacing former manager Gabriel Schürrer.
On 11 January 2016 Barros Schelotto was named as new coach of Italian side Palermo after his contract with Lanús had ended. Due to bureaucratic issues related to his appointment as head coach, however, Palermo was forced a few days later to hire Giovanni Tedesco, who already had the required coaching badges, as new "official" head coach, with Schelotto working alongside him and sitting on the bench during league games as "team manager". On 10 February 2016, Palermo confirmed Schelotto's resignation from his role at the club after UEFA refused to hand him a coaching badge.
On 1 March 2016 Barros Schelotto signed with his former club Boca Juniors.As of match played 10 Sep 2017.
Pan American Games (1): 1995
Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata
Copa Centenario de la AFA (1): 1993
Copa Libertadores (4): 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007
Copa Sudamericana (2): 2004, 2005
Recopa Sudamericana (2): 2005, 2006
Primera División Argentina (6): Apertura 1998, Clausura 1999, Apertura 2000, Apertura 2003, Apertura 2005, Clausura 2006
Intercontinental Cup (2): 2000, 2003
MLS Cup (1): 2008
Supporters' Shield (2): 2008, 2009
Eastern Conference (Playoffs) (1): 2008
Eastern Conference (Regular season) (2): 2008, 2009
Copa Sudamericana (1): 2013
Primera División (1): 2016–17
Major League Soccer MVP: 2008
MLS Best XI: 2007, 2008
MLS Cup MVP: 2008
His twin brother, Gustavo, was a teammate of his at Gimnasia, and also, briefly, at Boca Juniors. Barros Schelotto and his wife, Matilde, have three young sons, Máximo, Nicolás and Santiago.