Goal Scoring Goalie?

By | April 25, 2015

Perhaps unknown to soccer fans outside of Brazil, Rogério Ceni is somewhat of a legend in Brazil, especially to fans of São Paulo FC, the team he’s played at his entire professional career (since 1993). Ceni is known for being extremely loyal to São Paulo: he holds the record for most matches played as captain of a single team (950), player who has most won with a single team (590 victories), and most matches played for a single team (1207). He has won every possible trophy there is to win in Brazil and Latin America, including the Brazilian league 3 times and the Libertadores Cup twice, the last being in 2005 where he later won the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup against Liverpool. He was named Man of the Match for that final and also MVP of the tournament. Outside of his club, Ceni has had a few appearances for the Brazilian National team, and was a part of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning squad. Over the years, he proved his loyalty time and time again where despite numerous offers from European clubs who offered to pay him a larger salary, Ceni never left São Paulo FC.

Apart from his astonishing goalkeeping abilities, Rogério Ceni is known for something else as well: being the goalkeeper who has scored the most amount of goals ever, with the record currently at 127. Out of those 127, 61 have come from free-kicks, 65 from penalties, and 1 from a free-kick touch.

Ceni’s first goal came in 1997 from a free-kick against União São João for the São Paulo State Championship. While the quality of the video is quite bad, one can see his excitement for having scored for the first time.

In 2006, he broke the record previously held by the Paraguayan goalie Chilavert when he scored his 63rd goal after a free-kick touch and became the goalie with most goals scored. Later in that match, he scored his 64th goal through a penalty kick.

In fact, it was around this time where Rogério Ceni was at his peak in terms of goal-scoring abilities. In 2005, he scored 21 goals for São Paulo, and in 2006 he scored 16.

In 2011 against Corinthians, Ceni scored again with a free-kick and helped São Paulo win the match. That match was particularly important for São Paulo fans because it ended a 4-year long streak where São Paulo had not beaten Corinthians, their greatest rival. Needless to say, São Paulo players and fans were ecstatic (I recommend watching the entire celebration of the goal).

Despite being my rival team’s biggest idol, this player deserves all the respect and admiration that he receives. He has hinted at retiring many times in recent years, but in the end has always extended his contract. Ceni combats his older age–now he is 42–by going to practice earlier than everyone else and staying for an hour or two longer after all his teammates have left. He admits that in order to stay competitive at his age, he must put in an extra effort, and São Paulo fans adore him for that particular reason: his loyalty and leadership to the team.

Ceni has stated that he will definitely retire this year, with his contract being set to end on August 5th, 2015, the date of the Libertadores Cup final, were São Paulo able to reach the final. If the team emerges victorious, he has stated that he will remain active until December so that he can compete in the FIFA Club World Cup.

In the meantime, he continues scoring goals, with his most recent one being scored two weeks ago.

4 thoughts on “Goal Scoring Goalie?

  1. Shiv Gidumal

    Pretty cool post about a player I had never heard of.

    Over the summer, I read an article about Brazil which suggested that Brazilians look down on goalies because they are typically forced into the position due to a lack of ball skills in the field. Even in competitions, Brazilians will be quick to point the finger at a goalie, such as Julio Cesar, over a player, like Neymar or Thiago Silva.

    I also thought of Rene Higuita, one of the most famous goalies of all time. He is famous for this spider save: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkYmmV7Oa-U.

  2. Aissa Huysmans

    Awesome post! And still playing at that level of competition at 42? Very impressive…

  3. Johnny Salinas

    This is a really good post regarding a player that can score despite not being an outfield player. I had actually heard about a goalie in Brazil who was the set piece taker for his club team when I was in high school, but I never managed to remember his name until I saw your post. It also amazes me how a player who has had as long a career as Ceni is still playing at the top level in Brazillian soccer and managing to still do well. Since you grew up in Brazil, did you ever have the opportunity to watch Ceni play and score from a free kick in person?

    1. Brian Wolfson Post author

      I’ve seen Ceni play in person a couple of times, only when my team played against São Paulo, but I’ve never witnessed him scoring a penalty or or free-kick in person. I remember a few years back there was a time where he had missed (if my memory serves me right) about 5 or 6 penalties in a row, and many had questioned whether he still had the ability to be the team’s #1 penalty kicker and free-kick taker. He was already starting to get old, and so it was at that moment where he decided to double his practice time for penalties and free-kicks. He is truly inspiring.


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