Rogerio Ceni, Sao Paolo’s Freekick Specialist and Goalkeeper

Goalkeeper main job is to defend his team’s goal, not to let the opposing team to score. But, to Rogerio Ceni scoring to the opponent goal is also part of his job in club Sao Paolo Brazil. Thanks to his 100th goal, Sao Paolo defeated its strongest rival, Corinthians, in the Brazil national league match on Sunday 27 March 2011.

Ceni scored his 100th goal on 54th minutes from direct freekick, after a foul from Corinthians player against Sao Paolo player outside Corinthians penalty box. His curvey shot, which is as amazing as David Beckham’s shot, went straight through the fence of Corinthians players and stright into the top right corner of Julio Cesar’s goal. “It’s very beautiful. As a goalkeeper, you don’t play soccer and think about scoring. But, it happened as I wanted, with a decisive freekick in this important match”, Ceni said.

Particularly, that goal was Ceni’s 56th goal from freekicks. Some his other goals came from penalty kicks. To Sao Paolo, the victory over Corinthians was ver special because it ended 11 consecutive losses from Corinthians since Feb 2007!

FIFA noted that goal as Ceni’s 98th goal. His two other goals came from friendly matches, one from the match against Santos and Flamengo team in 1998, and one from the match against Russian club, Uralan Elista, in 2000. But Ceni is still the goalkeeper with the most goal score in record. Two other phenomenal goalkeepers are Jose Luis Chilavert, Paraguay goalie who has scored at least 62 goals, and Rene Higuita, Columbian goalie who has scored at least 41 goals. Even though Chilavert scored less goal than Ceni, most of his goals came from open play with his teammates! Some of these goals came from international matches. 8 goals scored for Paraguay national team. Higuita, who pensioned in 2007, was more controversial because he liked to leave his goal to attack, more often than Chilavert! Higuita scored 3 goals for Columbia national team. He was well known as crazy goalie because he often made blunder by coming out of goal for the ball when it’s still far from his goal, even with some of his teammates defended the area.

Rogerio Ceni was born on 22 Jan 1973 at Pato Branco, Parana, Brazil. Goalkeeper with 188cm height has joined Sao Paolo since 7 Sep 1990. He has played more than 700 matches with 2 times Copa Libertadores champion and 3 times world champion. His goal scoring record started when he was appointed by his coach to take penalty kicks. He never fails to score from penalty kicks! So his coach started to let him take freekicks for his team. His freekicks are also so good that his coach let him take even more freekicks.

As a goalkeeper, Ceni’s ability is also amazing. He gets called into Brazil national team even though not the first goalie. It is a pity that in his 17 opportunities to play in the national team, Ceni has never given the chance to take freekicks or penalties. In his age right now, and the contract with Sao Paolo which will end in 2012, his 100 goals achievement is surely very remarkable. The number is still open as he still plays for Sao Paolo for at least another year.

Scoring goalkeepers like Ceni, Chilavert and Higuita, show that being a goalkeeper doesn’t have to limit his other ability. Especially in South America, soccer is deeply rooted in their culture so that most players naturally have high technical skill. Ceni, Chilavert, and Higuita enjoyed soccer so much that they don’t relly care if their team win or lose the game. They just enjoyed the game including the goal scoring enjoyment. The sharp competition and pressure to performance between clubs especially in European clubs make soccer more and more mechanical with orientation to the end results. It’s getting more difficult to see artistic games nowadays. Less goalkeepers are scoring goals like Ceni, Chilavert and Higuita. We’ll certainly be amazed when we see a goalie attacks and scores in the game!

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