42-year-old Ceni has completed 25 years at Sao Paulo, scoring 131 goals in 1231 appearances
Goalkeepers are usually known for their skills as a stopper, but the man in the spotlight – Rogerio Ceni – is known for his prolific goalscoring abilities as a keeper for Sao Paulo FC.
He has scored a record number of 131 goals, which is the highest number of goals scored by a goalkeeper in the history of football. Previously, this record was held by Jose Luis Chilavert with 67 goals, which also included a hat-trick – the only one scored by any goalkeeper ever. Ceni broke his record in 2006 after scoring from a free-kick against Cruzeiro.
The official free kick taker of Sao Paulo since 1997, Rogerio Ceni is among the top 10 goalscorers in the history of the club. Not bad at all for a goalkeeper, who also holds the record for the most appearances for a single club, surpassing Ryan Giggs in his final season for the club with 572 appearances in the domestic league and north of 400 in other competitions.
Two decades at Sao Paulo FC
Ceni entered the Sao Paulo youth academy as a 17-year-old and made his debut three years later, in 1993. He would go on to become a known face in the seasons to come but was still considered to be a back-up to the legendary keeper Zetti, who was a force to be reckoned with at the time.
In 1997, Zetti moved to Santos FC, which meant that Ceni started as his replacement – scoring two goals in his first season as the regular keeper.
The goalkeeper certainly hasn’t looked back since then as he has won 18 major titles with the club, including the FIFA Club World Cup and three domestic titles. The most number of goals he scored in a season was 21 in 2005-06, the same year in which he captained his side to the FIFA Club World Cup title after several brilliant saves.
Ceni kept a clean sheet in Sao Paulo’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in the 2005 Club World Cup final
The Brazilian made a crucial save against Liverpool off a venomous 25-yard free kick from then captain Steven Gerrard, allowing Sao Paulo to win the final of the tournament 1-0. He was awarded the man of the match as well as the best player of the tournament for his incredible shot-stopping abilities.
In the next two seasons, he scored 27 more goals, taking his tally to 47 in three seasons (2005-2008). Although since 2009, his playing time has been marred with lengthy periods of injuries, but the 42-year-old stopper is still scoring goals – 8 goals this season so far — and has set a benchmark that is hard for even most strikers to match.
During his time with the club, Ceni has also earned 16 caps as a Brazil international in the 9 years he has played. He was part of the 2002 World Cup winning squad though he appeared in only two matches. In his first international year, he won the FIFA Confederation Cup and last played in the 2006 World Cup for Brazil.
Records and accolades of the goalkeeper
The Sao Paulo FC legend holds the Guinness World record for the most number of goals scored by a goalkeeper, most appearances by a player for a single club and also most appearances for a club as captain.
The Brazilian sports magazine Placar has recognised him as the best goalkeeper in Série-A, awarding him with the Silver Ball six times and also one Golden Ball in 2008, which goes to the best player of the season.
He won the Golden Ball at the FIFA Club World Cup 2005-06, where he was named Player of the Tournament.
Rogerio Ceni has established himself as a legend at his club and a big name worldwide with the number of records he holds. Although he is a brilliant shot-stopper, he’s undoubtedly going to be remembered more for his prolific goalscoring heroics.
*statistics as of 5th October
Originally published on Sportskeeda.com here