By Chris Wright
What with Sao Paulo ‘keeper Rogerio Ceni managing the utterly outrageous feat of scoring his 120th career goal on Sunday, Pies’ thoughts inescapably turned to another stalwart of the South American free-kick specialist goalkeeper scene: one Jose Luis Chilavert.
With 59 club goals and eight international goals to his name, ex-Paraguay and Velez Sarsfield stopper Chilavert held the world record for being the highest goal-scoring ‘keeper for many years – right up until Ceni surpassed him and subsequently ran away with it.
There are a few to pick from but perhaps Chilavert’s finest, or at least his most spectacular effort came in a Clausura game against River Plate in 1996.
With a Velez teammate still down after being fouled some 12 yards inside his own half, “El Buldog” Chilavert came bounding out of his goal and spontaneously thumped a Herculean effort over his opposite number, Mono Burgos (now Diego Simeone’s assistant at Atletico Madrid)…
Speaking to the press after the game, Chilavert said:
“Some players have scored from long distance, but it was usually by luck or chance.
“This was different. I saw that Burgos was outside the box, watching birds rather than concentrating on the game.
“So I started running frantically. As I arrived, I noticed the referee was in the way and shouted ‘Move!’ – luckily, he did!
“We won the game and I gave my shirt to the referee. He deserved for his reflexes!”