When Rene met Roger

  • ​One of Italy 1990's most famous moments took place 30 years ago today

  • Roger Milla has been lured out of retirement to play in Italy

  • How did Valderrama inadvertently help Milla embarrass Higuita?

The 1990 FIFA World Cup™ is often portrayed negatively, singled out for its all-time low goal average and then-record number of red cards.

Yet the tournament was far from colourless, with the two players in this image sure to evoke fond memories of the personalities that made the Italian extravaganza well worth celebrating.

Rene Higuita may not appreciate our reminder of the moment in which he was famously dispossessed by Roger Milla, allowing the 38-year-old striker to run through for the goal that took Cameroon to the last eight at Colombia’s expense. It was, as 'El Loco' himself conceded, “a mistake as big as a house”.

Milla, one of the great heroes of this edition, would go on to score again at USA 1994, breaking his own record as the World Cup’s oldest goalscorer. Yet it was in Italy – in moments such as this - that his legend was forged, even if he did admit to owing another Colombian icon a debt of gratitude.

“I was lucky [with that goal] because I played with Carlos Valderrama, the Colombia captain, at Montpellier,” he explained. “Through Valderrama I’d seen videos of Higuita dribbling the ball out of his area. I knew if I was quick enough I might be able to take advantage of a mistake. And it worked.”