Everyone who watched the World Cups in ’94 and ’98 would remember Mexico’s brightly coloured goalkeeper Jorge Campos. The tiny guy you could easily mistake for a ball boy wearing Josephs technicolour dream coat, has a story that passed everyone by.
Although Campos only stood 5ft 6in, the same height as Roberto Carlos, he was no mug between the sticks. Winning 130 caps for his country and back-to-back CONCAF Gold Cups in 93 and 96, Campos was regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
His trickery in and around the penalty area and confidence with the ball at his feet would leave defenders on both teams bamboozled. For managers like Pep Guardiola who prefer the play-from-the-back style, Campos would have been God. And the career of this little Mexican started out very differently to most of the world’s best keepers.
Jorge Campos started his club career at Mexican club Pumas in 1988, and found first team goalkeeping opportunities hard to come by. This didn’t stop the tenacious Mexican, who felt frustrated and requested a chance to play as a striker.
After impressing in training, his bizarre request was granted, and in his first season playing as a No 9, Campos scored 14 goals, finishing as the team’s top goalscorer.
The following season he was given the No 1 jersey and repaid his club’s confidence by helping them win the league. During his time at Pumas, goalkeeping Campos would replace strikers who were playing poorly during competitive matches.
The coach would replace an outfield player with a substitute keeper, sending Campos up front. In his seven years at Pumas, Campos scored an incredible 31 goals, over half of these starting in goal.
In tribute to his goal-scorning antics he wore a No 9 on the front of his oversized jersey, reminding the world of his multi-skilled footballing talent.
So next time you hear someone praise Peter Schmeichel or Tim Howard for their single strikes, tell them the story of Jorge Campos and raise a tequila to the world’s greatest goal scoring keeper. Gracias!