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5 Goalkeepers in the past who illustrated incredible goalscoring ability

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5 goalkeepers in the past who illustrated incredible goalscoring ability 

Ever since its origin, the onus in football has always been on scoring goals and that has allowed several strikers and midfielders to steal most of the limelight that the beautiful game has had to offer.

Probably around three-quarters of the total number of footballers who have gained legendary status in the game over the past century have been offensive-minded players, with a few exceptions, of course. 

However, the heroics of some of the goalkeepers to have graced the game have long been forgotten and it won’t be unfair to say that the shot-stoppers are often the most under heralded heroes of football. 

Indeed, it is not very often that we see the goalkeepers making the headlines in the tabloids for positive reasons, although the media and the pundits probably don’t leave any stone unturned in slamming them when they let their teams down with occasional slip-ups. 

Football, as a game, has changed a lot over the years and the dynamic and versatile nature of the modern game necessitates players to hone their skills in such a way that they have a wide range of attributes to offer on the pitch. 

For instance, centre-backs, nowadays, are judged based on their ball-playing skills while attacking midfielders are expected to play in multiple positions in the final third.

The ever-changing demands of the beautiful game have also forced goalkeepers to adopt a more dynamic role at the back, with the concept of a modern-day sweeper-keeper making sure that the influence of shot-stoppers is no longer limited to their penalty area. 

We are all quite used the likes of Ederson Moraes and Manuel Neuer, both of whom have illustrated a high level of proficiency in the modern game when it comes to rushing out of the penalty area in order to act as a sweeper for the backline.

Just to remind the fans, the concept of a sweeper-keeper was established in the 1980s and 90s by some of the greats of the game, so much so that some of them even showcased incredible goalscoring prowess.

It is a rare occurrence to see goalkeepers get their names on the scoresheet but there have been a few instances when goalkeepers have defied the old traditional style of play to take their game to new heights by finding the net regularly.

With that in mind, let us look at 5 goalkeepers who have cemented their names in the history books of the beautiful game with notable goalscoring records.

1. Rogerio Ceni

A former 16-cap Brazilian international, Rogerio Ceni currently holds the record for the most number of goals scored by a goalkeeper, having accumulated an eye-watering tally of 131 goals.

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A one-team player for Brazilian giants Sao Paulo, Ceni made a total of 1257 appearances over the course of an illustrious and distinguished club career that stretched over 25 years. 

He won the Golden Ball award at the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup where Sao Paulo beat Liverpool 1-0 in the finals, which was one of the 20 major honours that he won with the club, including 3 Brazilian league titles and two Copa Libertadores crowns. 

A part of the Brazilian team that won the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Ceni also represented his nation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, although he had a largely quiet international career due to the presence of Dida in the scheme of things. 

Ceni carved out a massive reputation for his accurate free-kicks, good distribution, incredible skills on the ball, as well as superb reflexes and reliable shot-stopping abilities, and he has undoubtedly redefined the art of goalkeeping. 

2. Jose Luis Chilavert

Known for his strong personality, fiery temper, morality and leadership skills, former Paraguayan international Jose Luis Chilavert scored 67 goals in a professional career which stretched over two decades.

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In fact, Chilavert also holds the unique record of scoring a hat-trick as a goalkeeper in a club match as well as the feat of scoring the most number of international goals by a goalkeeper, having scored 8 in 74 appearances for Paraguay.

Widely acclaimed as a fast and agile shot-stopper during his prime years in the 1990s, Chilavert won as many as 12 club titles playing for several South American clubs, most notably Velez Sarsfield, Real Zaragoza in Spain and Strasbourg in France, winning the Coupe de France with the latter.

A part of Paraguay’s team for 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, Chilavert scored most of his goals from free-kicks and penalties.

3. Jorge Campos

Mexico’s Jorge Campos was probably a goalkeeper from another planet, having exhibited the rare versatility to play in his preferred position between the sticks and also as a striker.

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We don’t often see goalkeepers with a height of 5ft 6in do very well in their professional careers but Campos made up for his relative lack of height with his incredible leaping ability, agility between the sticks, razor-sharp reflexes, anticipation and flawless reading of the game.

Surprising as it might sound, Campos would sometimes be called upon by the manager to join the attack in times of crisis, with another goalkeeper brought on in place of an outfield player. Campos scored a total of 34 goals in his professional career, including a stunner with a bicycle-kick in 1997.

The diminutive shot-stopper, who enjoyed a successful playing career with the likes of Cruz Azul and UNAM Pumas in Mexico, as well as with LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in the United States, established himself as one of the best sweeper-keepers in the 1990s.

He became famous for his self-designed colourful kits and fearless style of play, which involved venturing out of his penalty area to take on outfielders single-handedly.

Campos earned a total of 130 international caps for Mexico and represented his nation at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, whilst also winning the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup on two occasions in 1993 and 1996. 

4. Rene Higuita

Another eccentric and fearless sweeper-keeper from the late 80s to the early 2000s, Colombia’s Rene Higuita is still remembered for his incredible scorpion-kick clearance in an international friendly against England at the Wembley Stadium in 1995.

Higuita performs the 'scorpion' save

Higuita’s unorthodox style of play, which involved coming out of his penalty areas and taking unnecessary risks with the ball at his feet, was first showcased to the global audience at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He inspired other keepers of his generation to assume more responsibility further up the pitch.

Although those forays didn’t always yield positive results, with Roger Milla’s goal in the World Cup being a prime example, Higuita always kept the fans engaged more often than not.

A reliable free-kick and penalty taker, Higuita scored a total of 41 goals in his professional career and featured for several Colombian clubs like Independiente Medellin, Atletico Nacional and Atletico Junior, as well as Real Valladolid in Spain. 

On the international front, Higuita accumulated a total of 68 caps for Colombia and represented his nation at several Copa America tournaments.

5. Hans-Jorg Butt

The solitary European name on the list, former German international Hans-Jorg Butt scored a total of 32 goals in his professional career and holds the record for scoring the most number of penalty goals in any top European league (Bundesliga). 

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A former Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich and a three-time UEFA Champions League runner-up, Butt was known for his impeccable penalty-taking ability as well as his knack for often running into the opposing penalty box in an attempt to find a winner whenever his team were trailing.

Butt represented Germany just four times at the senior level due to the dominance of contemporaries Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann, although he was in the squad for the UEFA Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

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