Are Goalscoring-Goalkeepers a thing of the Past?


In years gone by we see the odd goal from a goalkeeper every now and then. Begovic, Robinson and even the odd goal from a keeper coming up for a corner kick late in the game. People get excited by this, as it seems so rare. But delve into South American football a little and you will find a number of regular scorers for their clubs, and even a couple for their country!

Any of the older fans will remember a fair few, as will Championship Manager players back in the early 2000’s. The question is – will we ever get to see another? Here are my 5 all-time favourite/top scoring goalkeepers:

1. Rogerio Ceni (Sao Paolo, 1990-Present – 128 Goals)

Ceni is a living legend. He moved to Sao Paolo as a kid and had 3 years in the youth system, and since about 98 has been regularly penalty and free kick taker. He has scored 64 penalties and 64 free kicks in his time, a record 128 in total and he is still going now he is well into his 40’s. He has scored some screamers recently, and is not looking to retire. He made 16 apps for Brazil, but never scored and I doubt was allowed to take free kicks. With Taffarel number 1 and Dida coming through the ranks, he was never given much of a chance unfortunately.

2. Jose Luis Chilavert (Multiple Clubs, 1982-2004 – 62 Goals)

Chilavert is likely to be the most extroverted player you’d ever see on a pitch. A footballer who loved playing the villain, renowned by many to be the next ‘Che Guevara’ with his political views and outspoken nature. On the pitch he remained mainly in Argentina and Paraguay throughout his career, with short spells with Strasbourg and Zaragoza. For Paraguay, unlike Ceni – he managed 9 goals and came very close to scoring at the 98 and 2002 World Cups, hitting the bar at both in games against Bulgaria and Slovenia. At club level he scored a mix of free kicks and penalties for Velez in a 341 games spell where he scored 48 goals and is the only keeper to have scored a hat-trick in a game. Being such an outrageous character, he was often in trouble – punching Faustino Asprilla and Diego Maradona, while served a prison sentence for attacking a physio. He was seen as a leader and potential presidency candidate in Paraguay due to his popularity and beliefs. He once attacked their government, saying they should spend more on schools and those in poverty than football. He was named Goalkeeper of the World Cup in 98 following some sterling performances, and picked up many accolades down the years, scoring several goals in World Cup qualifying. Personally, my favourite ever goalkeeper!

3. Rene Higuita (Multiple Clubs, 1985-2010 – 41 Goals)

Higuita became world-famous for his Scorpion Kick against England, and scored 3 goals for Colombia. He was known for his blunders mainly, always trying ridiculously risky things to score – again famous for dithering on the halfway line with the ball at the 1990 World Cup allowing Roger Milla to disposes him and score, knocking Colombia out. Due to this he was nicknamed “El Loco” which translates as “The Madman”. In total, 41 club goals spanning 25 years, and 3 goals in 12 years for Colombia – one at the Copa America in 1989. The best he managed was 11 goals in 20 games for Independiente Medellin in the 99-00 season.

4. Hans-Jorg Butt (Multiple Clubs, 1994-2009 – 32 Goals)

This guy was specifically a penalty taker, for Hamburg for 4 years and then onto Leverkusen and latterly Bayern Munich (where he was not on penalty duty). 19 Goals in 4 years at Hamburg, 7 in a 6 year stay at Leverkusen and then one final goal for Bayern’s 2nd string. He also scored 3 goals in a Champions League campaign, one of the only keepers to have done so. His most remembered moment however was scoring a penalty against Schalke, and while celebrating did not realise the referee had blown for kick off again, so Schalke netted before he returned to his goal…oh dear!

5. Dimitar Ivankov (Levski Sofia, Bursaspor, Kayserispor, 1996-2011 – 42 Goals)

3rd on the all-time list was well known Bulgarian keeper Ivankov, who managed over 40 goals in just over 400 career games (32 league goals). Taking solely penalties, he never managed to get one for Bulgaria in his 12 year spell. He did however manage to win 8 titles with Levski, a Super Lig with Bursaspor and a Turkish Cup with Kayerispor.


So, the recurring theme seems to be one of mistakes. Chilavert and Ceni did not/have not made any huge blunders yet, whereas Higuita and Butt tried being clever and paid for it, hence why both of their international careers were very shortlived (12 years wasn’t bad for Higuita to be fair…). The key it seems for a goalscoring keeper is shed-loads of confidence mixed with eccentricnees and an extrovert-type personality.

So many keepers these days are worried about making an error at their end, they would not dare take a free kick on the edge of the opposition’s box, yet alone a penalty – and I would not think a manager would allow it, especially in Europe nowadays. With every mistake costing money and positions, I can’t ever see another Ceni or Chilavert – not in my time. You still may get the odd keeper take set pieces in their native country, where things are more relaxed – but rarely in the last couple of decades, if at all – have you seen it on our shores and I severely doubt we ever will!