Who could forget Sergio Goycochea? The doe-eyed keeper made his name at the 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy™ with a string of athletic penalty saves, earning himself a place in the pantheon of Argentinian footballing heroes in the process.
After helping the Albiceleste to the runners-up spot in Italy and then to their last two Copa America successes, Goyco decided to hang up his gloves in 1998. Widely tipped to stay in the game in some form or other, the flamboyant keeper surprised everyone by moving into sports journalism.
"I'd always been attracted to the media and the fact is I wasn't interested in coaching," the 44-year-old told FIFA.com. "I was the consummate professional during my playing career but when that came to an end I wanted to study something else." And so, rather than head down the well-beaten path straight into TV, Argentina's former No1 took a journalism course and became just another student.
"It was a lifestyle decision," he explains. "I wanted to earn the respect of my colleagues and that's why I spent three years studying. It wasn't easy. I studied four days a week for three years, sitting alongside 18-year-old kids who knew who I was. But it was worth it in the end."
Goycochea's dedication certainly has paid off. Since completing the course he has presented Km por Hora, Abanderados and Resto del Mundo on Argentinian TV and has also teamed up with one-time team-mate Diego Maradone to co-host the famous La Noche del Diez.
"Out of all the programmes I've done only one of them has been an out-and-out football show," continues the man who won a Premio Martin Fierro in 2003 for his sports reporting on Abanderado. "That's good because it's allowed me to explore other avenues and genres. Working with Diego was fantastic in every sense, just world class. The demands that were on us, what it meant as an experience, the impact it had ... What can I say? Nothing surprises me about him any more."
Having devoted the last seven years to his television work, the ex-shotstopper has decided to take a break, albeit a short one. After travelling to every corner of the globe for the programme Resto del Mundo and organising a series of other events, the indefatigable Goyco is preparing to take to the screens once more with a programme in Buenos Aires and a reality show in Miami. And in the meantime, he continues to play Showbol [indoor soccer] along with Maradona and a host of other former players.
FIFA World Cup Memories
Despite turning out for a number of clubs in Argentina, Colombia and Brazil, Goycochea is best remembered for his exploits with the Albiceleste, earning hero status in 1990 when he deputised with distinction for the injured Nery Pumpido.
"That World Cup was the happiest moment of my career, particularly the semi-final against Italy. From a sporting, mental and emotional viewpoint I've never experienced anything like the celebrations we had after I'd saved [Aldo] Serena's penalty. All of a sudden I was the centre of attention. I'd gone and made the winning save. It just seemed like everything had been scripted for me."
The tears of joy became tears of sorrow only a few days later when Andreas Brehme's precise spot-kick secured the world title for Germany. "It still hurts today," says Goycochea about the one that got away. "Letting that penalty in was more painful than the five goals Colombia put past me in the qualifier in 1993."
Eighteen years on, the penalty specialist is still admired for his feats and recognised wherever he goes. "I think my football career has had a part to play in that but also my media work too. Thanks to that I'm still a familiar face, even to the youngest fans."
So what is the secret of his success? "In my life I've learned to value the importance of hard work. There's no manual for footballers that tells them what's going to happen when they retire, but in my case work has helped me a lot. It keeps your mind occupied and it makes you feel useful, busy."
There is little doubt, then, where Goyco's priorities lie, priorities that are not about to change it seems. "Where do I see myself in ten years' time? The same place as now I hope, enjoying my work. That's my way of going about life."