JOE’s favourite Mexican sportsmen: Jorge Campos
Before reading about one of Mexico’s finest sportsmen, head on over to the Corona Ireland Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning the brilliant prize of an Ultimate Beach Break for two in Riveira Maya, Mexico.
There have been some great goalkeepers in football down through the years but there have been none as flamboyant and entertaining as Mexican legend Jorge Campos.
It’s not often that children playing football in the back garden pretend to be goalkeepers but there are plenty of kids of the '90s, even in Ireland, who would have grown up wanting to be just like Jorge Campos. And with good reason too.
Some goalkeepers are particularly good at sweeping but Campos took it to the next level and regularly made forays up the field well beyond his defence in a style reminiscent of anyone who has played FIFA sending their keeper on a mazy run up the field when they’re bored.
There was also the spectacular saves, the goals he scored at the other end and best of all, the extremely colourful, extremely baggy, not-quite-short-sleeve, not-quite-long-sleeve jerseys he used to wear out on the field.
Campos was entirely unique and it is almost impossible to compare him to those who also played in his position but the closest we can think of to him in an Irish context is Shane ‘Cake’ Curran, the Roscommon legend who, like Campos, had a propensity to wander out the field and, like Campos, wasn’t averse to a score or two at the other end either. The two of them were quite obviously a bit mad too.
It is said of goalkeepers that they often have a crazy gene or that they have a screw loose and Campos certainly belongs to the list of the more eccentric ‘keepers to have played the game over the years alongside the likes of Fabien Barthez, Jose Luis Chilavert and Rene Higuita.
Campos’ sense of adventure between the sticks was probably encouraged by the fact that he probably should never have been a ‘keeper in the first place. Most netminders these days are six foot plus giants but Campos was six inches short of six foot and that wasn’t the only way he broke the mould.
The Acapulco born stopper regularly played outfield, particularly for his first club, Pumas, with whom he scored 31 goals and 14 in one season. He stuck to goals for the majority of his career afterwards, but he did manage to score a brilliant bicycle kick in one outing for Atlante after his manager brought on a goalkeeper specifically so he could play up front.
Campos played for seven clubs in a career spanning 16 years, during which he made a hugely impressive 130 appearances for the Mexican national team, including an appearance against Ireland at USA ’94.
Sure he could nearly cause a heart attack amongst his own team’s fans and plenty of his spectacular saves would certainly be classed in the ‘for the cameras’ category but rarely has there been a goalkeeper as entertaining and exciting to watch and we will probably never see his like again.
Don’t forget to enter the competition to win an Ultimate Beach Break in Riveira Maya in Mexico with thanks to Corona Ireland over on the Corona Ireland Facebook page.
Mexico – the place to be.