Throughout his long and successful career, Paraguayan legend Jose Luis Chilavert cut an imposing figure between the posts. Aside from his shot-stopping abilities, the stern-faced custodian also made a name for himself as a dead-ball specialist, pioneering the role of the goalscoring goalkeeper.
Never slow to speak his mind or pick a fight, Chilavert was and remains something of a controversialist off the pitch, regularly popping up amid a sea of cameras and microphones to voice his outspoken opinions on the game and his critics.
Continuing its monthly series of memorable quotes by the game’s biggest characters, FIFA.com recalls just some of the plain-talking Paraguayan’s many verbal gems.
“Not everyone can be a goalkeeper you know. People think we’re only there to stop goals, but that’s an entirely mistaken and negative view. To my mind you can’t have a good team without a good keeper. Brazil had a fantastic side in 1982 but they also had Valdir Peres in goal. Every time the opposition went forward they scored, which rather proves my point.”
Chilavert on the role of the goalkeeper.
“So Navarro Montoya has compared me to a Fiat 600? Well, I might be a 'Fitito' but I’ve got the engine of a Formula 1 car. As for his engine, it’s losing oil. He’s no match for me. We’re not at the same level.”
Chilavert on Carlos Fernando Navarro Montoya, Boca Juniors’ legendary keeper during the 1990s.
“They can say whatever they want. They’ve never won anything.”
Chilavert on journalists, a pet subject of his during the 90s.
“I’m not that bothered about Bonano’s goal. Anyway, he hit it really badly, like a wet newspaper.”
Chilavert on River Plate goalkeeper Roberto Bonano, who converted a penalty against him in the 2000 Copa Mercosur.
“There’s a big difference between being a winner and being mediocre. Winners think only about victory when they take on a challenge. Mediocre people just think about avoiding failure.”
Chilavert on what makes special players tick.
“You can’t have friends on the pitch. You can’t allow anyone to take what’s yours. That’s football.”
Chilavert on the modern game.
“People don’t understand it and they think you’re just playing rough. Out on the pitch though you have to go in hard to avoid injuring yourself. It might sound bad but if I had to choose, I’d rather my opponent got injured than me.”
Chilavert on the physical side of football.
“It’s a shame we can’t fight each other, but he doesn’t make the weight category. Wet through, he only weighs 35 kilos.”
Chilavert on Uruguayan striker Sebastian Abreu after the two clashed in 1995.
“Nobody had heard of us when we arrived in France. They couldn’t even place Paraguay on the map. The whole world knew about us after the tournament though.”
Chilavert on the legacy of Paraguay’s achievements at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™.
“Right now good goalkeepers are going the same way as the dinosaurs. They’re an endangered species.”
Chilavert on his fellow custodian, speaking earlier this year.
“I never had any superstitions. They’re just excuses for the weak.”
Chilavert on lucky charms and routines.
“I never prepare what I’m going to say although I do have a good line for you right now. Football’s full of jealous people but that doesn’t bother me: jealousy is the price you pay for success.”
Chilavert on his way with words.
“I don’t know what a Chilavert would be worth at today’s prices, but I'm sure it'd be a lot of money. There aren't many keepers who can go forward and score goals.”
Chilavert on his potential market value today.
“I’ve had a lot of fights on the pitch, but what did people expect? With the face I’ve got I have to play the bad guy. It’s a lot easier that way. Being the good guy just isn’t me.”
Chilavert, speaking earlier this year, on playing the villain during his career.