Friday’s Forgotten Footballer: José Chilavert

By Thomas Crean

Full Name: José Luis Félix Chilavert González
Position: Attack-minded Goalkeeper
Nationality: Paraguayan (74 caps, 8 goals)
Clubs: San Lorenzo, Real Zaragoza, Vélez Sársfield, Strasbourg, Penarol.

José Luis Chilavert will be forever remembered as one of the best shot-stopping, inspirational and clinical goal scoring goalkeepers (not a misprint!) to grace the footballing world.

Paraguay’s favourite son is arguably the best player ever produced by the nation, while certainly being the most famous.

He scored 62 goals in his professional career, which was mainly down to him being a penalty and free kick specialist. His unorthodox use of such skills makes him one of the highest-scoring goalkeepers in footballing history.

Chilavert made his debut as a 15-year-old for second division side Sportivo Luqueno. He moved on to San Lorenzo in 1985, where he earned his first international cap.

He spent three seasons in Spain with Real Zaragoza (1988-91). He then returned to Argentina, where he helped Veléz Sársfield to three league titles, a Copa Liberatadores and Intercontinental Cup.

Chilavert made claims leading up to staging of the 1998 World Cup that he was the best goalkeeper on show at the tournament. Paraguay suffered a second round exist to hosts and eventual winners, France.

José had a reputation of over-confidence, a fact upheld by his poor attitude toward fellow players and managers.

One of his more high-profile incidents involved being banned for the first two matches of the 2002 World Cup for spitting at Roberto Carlos during a qualification match.

Chilavert was voted as the world’s best goalkeeper in 1995 and 1997, which only sealed his reputation into the history books.

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