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The Best of the Best

The Best of the Best

At my house, my mind rotting from the wait until the next Flamengo game (a whole fucking week?), it got me thinking about the goalie.

Nobody wants to see their own goalie. Ideally, your team woould be playing so well that your goalie would never show up in the TV screen. They would be sitting in a lawn chair, sipping margaritas and watching the game from the best seat in the house.

The modern goalie owes much to the Argentine Carrizo, a true inovator on stretching the boundaries of what a goalie could and could not do. But, what can the goalie do?

The Goalie is the only player that can handle the ball with his hands, but only on his own penalty box. (The penalty box, for those not familiar, is the big square mark around the goal.) Once the goalie has the ball in his control (in his hands, not on the ground) he has six seconds to put the ball back in the game. No opposing player can impede the goalie from returning the ball to his players.

Inside the smaller box of the penalty box, the goalie is literally untouchable. That means you can’t block his trajectory, you can only dodge him. Any contact with the goalie that prevents him from going for the ball is a foul.

The goalie is also the only player that, if felled, the game must stop until he returns. If a player gets hurt, he is taken out of the field. While he is examined to determine if he can continue or is substituted, the game goes on, except if the player is the goalie.

They wear different colors from their team mates, alone in a crowd of people. It is the shittiest position, yet some people fill it with glamour and style. And in that, Rene Higuita from Colombia reigns supreme with his scorpion kick save…

… while Botafogo has a reputation for having some of the worst ones (watch numbers five, three and one).

In Brazil, a goalie mistake like these we call a “frango” – a chicken, as if the ball had grown little legs and zig-zaged out of the goalie’s reach.