Claudio Taffarel, from goalie to coach

The image of Claudio Taffarel is a welcome sign for any Brazilian hardcore futbol-soccer fan. Many remember him as a key player in the 1994 and 1998 editions of the World Cup, for he was directly responsible of saving the team on crucial moments.

Although his club career never skyrocketed, he is a veteran in every sense of the word. Despite debuting in his native Sporting Club Internacional and accumulating only 14 appearances in a five-year period, Claudio Taffarel was awarded the Golden Ball award in 1988 due to his outstanding performance.

His career would take him in the end to Turkish Galatasaray SK, where he won six major trophies during his three-year stint, most notably two Süper Lig titles and the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup.

Moreover, he was was chosen as the Man of the Match due to the game in which he participated against England’s Arsenal. It was in the finals and Claudio Taffarel did not skip a beat, making numerous saves to keep the score closed until the penalty shootout, which was consequently won.

Claudio Taffarel – Brazil’s Last Man Standing

Yet the man etched his name in history while playing with the national team on two separated World Cups. At the time he was considered one of the best goalkeepers alive, for only one goal was scored against the Seleção in the first round and two in the knock-out phases. Brazil would emerge as the tournament’s champion due to his efforts.

Brazil would not be able to win the cup in the 1998. Nevertheless, its goalkeeper held the line against the Netherlands in the penalty shootout of the semifinals and gave a fierce performance against eventual champions France in the following match.

After retiring at 37, Claudio Taffarel has served as goalkeeper manager for Brazil’s national team and Galatasaray SK. He has held the latter position since 2011, being also promoted as an interim coach from 2015 on.

Not surprisingly, he has also demonstrated to be a caring man outside of the professional futbol-soccer scene. He partnered with former teammate Paulo Roberto to open an agency for aspiring players at time when recruiting goalkeepers in Europe was not as simple as it is today.

Let us consider also that Paris’ major in 1998 proposed to rename the stadium after him, since he used to train there on a regular basis during the World Cup. With a such a legacy, it is safe to say that the future of both aspiring and professional goalkeepers are in safe hands if they are fortunate enough to be under his tutelage.

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02 Feb

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