Chilavert was chosen by the stat-obsessed nerds of the International Federation of Football History & Statistics as the World's Best Goalkeeper an incredible three times. He played for his native Paraguay 74 times and played over 500 professional matches in Europe and South America. These facts are not, however, what make Chilavert special.
Great Free Kick TakerEdit
Chilavert was also known for his skills as a free kick specialist. This first came to the attention of the mainstream football world during the 1998 World Cup against Bulgaria when, in a way never before seen outside of a Sunday League match where one team is thrashing the other, he charged over the half way line to take a shot on goal from a set-piece. Chilavert was also a brilliant penalty taker as well.
Chilavert went on to score 54 goals in club football and 8 goals for Paraguay. This unsurprisingly makes him the world record holder for most goals scored by a professional goalkeeper. It also means he scored more goals for his country than Darren Anderton, Emile Heskey or Chris Waddle. He has also never missed a penalty in a World Cup semi-final against West Germany either.
Surprisingly for a keeper who takes free kicks, Chilavert was rarely caught out of position and opposition teams were usually unable to exploit his eccentricity. A notable exception to this, however, occurred in World Cup 2002 when non-free kick taking keeper Iker Casillas caught a tame Chilavert shot and put the strikers through on goal while Chilavert was still sprinting back from the Spanish half. Before the game, Chilavert had predicted a clean-sheet and that he would score twice past Casillas. Paraguay lost to Spain 3-1. Chilavert did not score.
Great Causer of ControversyEdit
Unsurprisngly for a keeper who takes free kicks, Chilavert was also known for being a little eccentric. His attitude brought him his fair share of controversies; the highlights, with Chilavert's rather odd justifications, are:
- Being sent off for brawling with Faustino Asprillia
- Refusing to take part in the Copa America, because the money spent on the tournament should, according to Chilavert, have been spent on education
- Spitting on Roberto Carlos after a World Cup qualifier, because the Brazilians had called him the weak-link in the Paraguayan team before the match
- Claiming a match against Brazil was "like a war", because the Brazilians had failed to return land conquered from Paraguay in the 19th century
- Falling out with the Paraguayan FA and retiring from international football, because they had questioned whether a slow aging goalkeeper should take attacking free kicks
- Wearing outrageous jerseys like the one pictured