The goalkeeper who shot free kicks: The mosquito is back

He was never the best goalkeeper, never a glamorous star and yet Rogério Mücke Ceni enjoys absolute legend status. Because the Brazilian brought qualities that are a rarity in the world of football: goal danger despite his position and unconditional loyalty to the club.

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Today, Thursday, the 48-year-old, whose middle name Mücke was actually given to him by his parents, started his third engagement at São Paulo FC. After the dismissal of Hernán Crespo, Ceni took over the head coach of the Brazilian first division club from Wednesday to Thursday.

How long Ceni’s term of office will be this time cannot yet be foreseen. It is almost impossible that she will only come close to his time as a player. Because the former keeper put on gloves for the SPFC for 25 years.

Seit 1990 in São Paulo

At the age of 17 he began his professional career with Sinop FC from the state of Mato Grosso. A few months after his debut, São Paulo FC became aware of Ceni and brought the talented goalkeeper from the provinces to the metropolis. It should be the first and only change of club in his playing career.

25 years followed in which Ceni went for the title hunt. Among other things, he won the Brazilian championship three times, the Copa Libertadores twice and the World Cup once. In 2006 and 2007 the goalkeeper was voted Brazil’s Footballer of the Year – it was the golden age of the SPFC. With the Seleção, the 16-time national player, who was never number one in his country, won the 2002 World Cup.

More important for his rise to legend, however, were the records he set during his time in São Paulo. When he ended his career at the end of 2015, according to official information from his club, he had played 1237 competitive games. No player in the history of football has played for a club more often.

The goalkeeper who shot free kicks

In addition, no other goalkeeper was more dangerous. Ceni not only scored the penalties for the black-red-whites, but also the free kicks. His career record is put at 131 hits – a figure that earned him cult status beyond Brazil’s borders.

It was this cult status that gave Ceni his second term in São Paulo after his career ended – at least that is what the Brazilian ‘Globo Esporte’ journalist Humberto Luiz Peron believes. Because in 2017 the SPFC brought the club legend back as a coach. According to Peron, the commitment was less for sporting reasons – Ceni had never been a coach before – but for club-political reasons.

Back in black-red-white

The club management at the time tried to take advantage of the record player’s fame to position themselves for re-election. It’s not a fact. The fact that Ceni’s tenure was crowned with little success, however: After only 13 games, the separation took place.

So now Ceni is back again – and under different circumstances. Between 2017 and 2020 he gained experience as a trainer at Fortaleza. With Flamengo, which he directed until July of this year, he became champion and winner of the Super Cup. However, he will not be chasing the title at São Paulo FC this season. For the table-13. at the moment it’s more about staying up. With the change of coach, fans and team will now draw new hope – after all, Ceni is an absolute club legend.

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