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Striker-Keepers, Losers’ Weepers

March 27, 2011

Rogerio Ceni: leadership, character, experience, saves...and goals!

To be a goalkeeper…

To be a keeper is to be a hero and a villain.

It is to wish to be able to avoid the inevitable, always thinking, deep inside, that the most indefensible of all shots could have been defended.

It is to play a collective game in an individual way, solitary, and to know that, after a great save, even if no one thanks you, you are just as important as the striker.

It is to understand that mistakes are part of the routine, because only he that stands below the crossbar knows that even ‘easy’ saves are much more difficult than they seem.

In short, to be a goalkeeper is to be the heart of the team, even in a game whose main objective you must stop.

Indeed, to be a goalkeeper is an artform. But to be a great keeper requires much more than just art; it requires a kind of mental control and an optimistic personality that must remain unshaken before the most remarkable of all challenges. And a little creativity, of course, always helps…but, how can one be effectively creative as a goalkeeper, whose job is precisely to kill off goalscoring creativity?

Well, why not become a keeper that also scores goals?

Yes, there are  a few of those out there – a few truly great, creative and slightly insane keepers – whose appetites are so massive they are not satisfied with using their hands for saves only; they want a piece of the goalscoring pie too. Paraguay’s Jose Chilavert, Mexico’s Jorge Campos and Colombia’s Rene Higuita were all masters in the art of scoring from set-pieces, such as free-kicks and penalty shots.

And is it a mere coincidence that the names mentioned above were all from Latin America?

Perhaps…but I don’t think so – one really needs a pair of serious cojones if he’s planning on leaving his net unattended in order to rob strikers of their job.

Sao Paulo FC’s keeper Rogerio Ceni is one of those tremendously unique characters.

The man today scored his 100th career goal, from a beautiful free-kick against bitter rivals Corinthians.

The final score was Sao Paulo FC 2 x 1 Corinthians. The match produced three red cards. The atmosphere was unbelievably electric.

A Paulista classic for the ages!

Congratulations Rogerio Ceni, this post is dedicated to you, Sao Paulo FC’s most legendary leader.

Twenty years of glory in football, and voted SPFC’s most important player in the club’s history.

Club World Cup titles, FIFA World Cup titles, Libertadores titles, Brazilian League titles…but I bet, as you said yourself  Rogerio, “there’s nothing like the feeling of scoring a goal.”

Congratulations once again, and may your hands (and feet) remain as magical as ever.


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