The football world is in mourning following the death of former Uruguay international Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, considered by many as one of the best goalkeepers of all time. He was 67.
An inspirational presence between the posts for Penarol and his country, Mazurkiewicz was widely regarded as the successor to the great Lev Yashin. Indeed, he was one of the leading exponents of his art in the 1960s and 70s, appearing at three consecutive FIFA World Cup™ finals: England 1966, Mexico 1970 and Germany 1974.
"It is with great sadness I hear of the passing away of Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, Uruguay's most capped player at a FIFA World Cup, with 13 games played in three editions," FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "On behalf of FIFA and myself, I address my most sincere condolences".
"I know that it gave him great pride hear Lev Yachin, one of the greatest goalkeeper of all times, saying, when he retired in 1971, that Mazurkiewicz was his successor".
The Uruguayan's most outstanding performances came in Mexico, where the man they called Chiquito starred in Uruguay’s run to fourth place, conceding just one goal before a Pele-inspired Brazil ended La Celeste’s hopes in the semi-finals. His displays in Mexico led to the press crowning him the goalkeeper of the tournament.
Mazurkiewicz, who made a point of wearing black to make it harder for opposing players to pick him out, was as dependable as they come, letting in a solitary goal in Uruguay’s six-game unbeaten run in FIFA World Cup qualifiers between 1965 and 1969.
He also distinguished himself on the club scene, making a vital contribution to Penarol’s 1966 Copa Libertadores final win over River Plate and standing tall once more as the Montevideo giants beat the mighty Real Madrid to land the Intercontinental Cup later that year.
He retired in 1981 after also playing in Brazil, Spain, Chile and Colombia for Atletico Mineiro, Granada, Cobreloa and America de Cali respectively.