Reason for coolness – He is officially recognised by FIFA as the goalkeeper to have scored the most goals in the history of football, a frankly staggering 78 at last count, with many absolutely sublime free-kicks. To put this figure into perspective, alleged striker Jermaine Defoe has only scored 69 Premier League goals.
Reason for obscurity – With only 16 appearances for Brazil in his 17 year career (and counting) no-one in Europe has ever seemed that interested in signing him unfortunately.
Again, this legendary chap’s obscurity is bizarre because, in addition to the amazing free-kick antics, he actually a very good keeper, miles better than those Dida and Doni clowns currently favoured ahead of him for the national side anyway. With over 700 appearances for his club he is by far the most capped player in São Paulo FC’s history, and up there with anyone else in world football history; Ryan Giggs has only 520 appearances for Man United, while even the great Paulo Maldini is still over 100 short from his 23 years at AC Milan.
In terms of accolades and achievements too, Ceni’s record is formidable. He has now won the Copa Libertadores three times, leading São Paulo as captain against the very best club sides throughout South and Central America, while finally last year, he also led them to his first Campeonato Brasileiro (the Brazilian top flight league title). To celebrate his phenomenal personal career, Ceni was also named last season’s Best Player by governing body, the Brazilian Football Confederation. Furthermore, in December 2005, he was named Man of the Match for his outstanding performance during the 1 - 0 victory against Liverpool in the Club World Championships final match, while also being honoured by FIFA as the Best Player of the tournament.
Supposedly Arsenal once toyed with the idea of signing him, but the charismatic and individual displays that rubbed ‘Big’ Phil Scolari up the wrong way clearly waved a red flag with Arsene Wenger too. Current Brazilian coach Dunga meanwhile, has struggled to justify his continued lack of inclusion, especially after admitting that Ceni was “the biggest idol in Brazilian football at the moment and has a fantastic history with the titles that he has won.” Even Julio Cesar, a man groomed by Dunga for the 2010 World Cup campaign has praised the legend, saying: “The supporters are moved by passion and, after everything that has happened in the last three years, he is a goalkeeper who deserves respect.”
So there you have it. A brilliant shot-stopping goalkeeper who’s scoring record is better than that of 90% of the English national strikers of the last 10 years, yet he still can’t get a game for Brazil.
At the end of the day though there’s just something so incongruously funny about that fact that he never taking his gloves off when taking set pieces, it kind of looks like he’s scoring with foam hands on.Anyway, see the freekick videos for yourself, starting here -