René Higuita: The Scorpion King of Football
René Higuita is a name that needs no introduction in the world of football. Born on August 27, 1966, in Medellin, Colombia, René Higuita is a former professional football player who played as a goalkeeper for the Colombian national team and several clubs in South America and Europe.
René Higuita was known for his unorthodox style of play, which included his famous “scorpion kick” move, acrobatic saves, and his ability to dribble past opponents. He was not just a goalkeeper, but also an entertainer who had a charismatic personality and a passion for the game that was evident in his every move.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the life and career of René Higuita, and how he left a lasting impact on the game of football.
The Early Years of René Higuita
René Higuita was born on August 27, 1966, in Medellin, Colombia. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood, where football was a way of life. Higuita was the youngest of five children, and he often played football with his older brothers and neighborhood kids.
Growing up in Medellin
Medellin was a city that was deeply divided by class, and the poor neighborhoods were often neglected by the government. Higuita grew up in one of these neighborhoods, and he saw football as a way to escape poverty and make a better life for himself.
Despite the lack of resources, Higuita was determined to become a football player. He often played barefoot, and he used makeshift balls made out of rags or plastic bags. René Higuita family was supportive of his passion for football, and they often attended his matches.
René Higuita love for football was evident from a young age. He would spend hours practicing and playing with his friends, and he idolized famous players like Pele and Diego Maradona.
When he was 12 years old, Higuita joined a local football academy, where he received formal training for the first time. He quickly stood out for his talent and determination, and he was soon scouted by professional clubs.
Joining Atletico Nacional
At the age of 18, Higuita joined Atletico Nacional, one of the most prestigious football clubs in Colombia. He quickly became the team’s starting goalkeeper, and he helped lead them to several victories.
René Higuita unorthodox style of play, which included his ability to dribble past opponents and make acrobatic saves, quickly made him a fan favorite. He was also known for his outgoing personality and his love of entertaining the crowds.
National Team Debut
Higuita made his debut for the Colombian national team in 1987, and he quickly established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in South America. He helped lead Colombia to the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where he made a name for himself with his unique style of play.
René Higuita performances on the international stage caught the attention of European clubs, and he eventually moved to Spain to play for Real Valladolid. However, his heart remained in Colombia, and he eventually returned to play for Atletico Nacional and the national team.
In conclusion, René Higuita’s early years were defined by his love for football and his determination to succeed despite the odds. He rose to fame with his performances for Atletico Nacional and the Colombian national team, and his unique style of play would leave a lasting impact on the game of football.
Rise to Fame: Higuita’s Career Highlights
René Higuita is widely regarded as one of the most talented and innovative goalkeepers in the history of football. He enjoyed a long and successful career, both in Colombia and in Europe, and his unique style of play made him a fan favorite around the world.
Success with Atletico Nacional
René Higuita rise to fame began with his performances for Atletico Nacional, the team he joined at the age of 18. He quickly established himself as a key player, and he helped lead the team to several domestic and international titles.
One of Higuita’s most memorable moments with Atletico Nacional came in the 1989 Copa Libertadores final against Olimpia. With the score tied at 2-2, Higuita made a daring and unconventional move: he left his goal and dribbled the ball past several opponents before scoring the winning goal. The move, which became known as the “scorpion kick,” is now regarded as one of the most iconic moments in football history.
Move to Europe: Stints at Valladolid, Verona, and Bursaspor
René Higuita performances with Atletico Nacional caught the attention of European clubs, and he eventually moved to Spain to play for Real Valladolid. He also had stints with Italian clubs Verona and Naples, and Turkish club Bursaspor.
Higuita’s time in Europe was marked by both success and controversy. He often clashed with coaches and teammates, and his unorthodox style of play was not always appreciated. However, he also had some memorable moments, including a scorpion kick save during a match between Colombia and England at Wembley Stadium in 1995.
Return to Colombia and Retirement
Despite his success in Europe, Higuita’s heart remained in Colombia. He returned to play for Atletico Nacional in 1997, and he helped lead the team to several more titles. He also continued to play for the Colombian national team, and he retired from international football in 1999.
Higuita retired from professional football in 2010, after a long and illustrious career. He remains a beloved figure in Colombia and around the world, and his legacy as a talented and innovative goalkeeper continues to inspire new generations of players.
In conclusion, René Higuita’s career was defined by his unique style of play, his daring moves, and his unwavering passion for the game of football. He enjoyed success both in Colombia and in Europe, and his memorable performances will always be remembered by fans of the beautiful game.
The Scorpion Kick: Higuita’s Iconic Move
When fans and analysts think of René Higuita, one of the first things that comes to mind is his daring and unconventional style of play. And no move embodies that style more than the “scorpion kick,” a move that has become synonymous with Higuita’s name.
How the Scorpion Kick Came About
The scorpion kick was not a move that Higuita had planned or practiced. In fact, it came about almost by accident. During a match between Higuita’s team, Atletico Nacional, and River Plate in 1995, a shot came in that Higuita was not able to catch. Instead of conceding a goal, he kicked his legs up behind him and used his heels to deflect the ball away from the goal.
The move was so unexpected and acrobatic that it instantly captured the attention of fans and commentators. Higuita later said that he had never attempted the move before and that it was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
The Scorpion Kick in Action
The scorpion kick involves the goalkeeper jumping into the air and kicking their legs up behind them in a scorpion-like motion. The move is used to deflect a ball that is behind the goalkeeper, often as a result of a deflection or rebound.
The move requires a great deal of agility and coordination, and it is not a move that many goalkeepers would attempt. However, René Higuita athleticism and creativity made the move a natural fit for his playing style.
Reaction and Impact
The scorpion kick quickly became a viral sensation, and it is now regarded as one of the most iconic moments in football history. The move was played and replayed on television and shared widely on the internet, and it became a symbol of Higuita’s unique style and personality.
The scorpion kick also had a significant impact on the game of football. It showed that even the goalkeeper, a position that is typically associated with defense and caution, can play an important role in attack. It also inspired a new generation of players to experiment with unorthodox moves and to bring their own creativity and personality to the game.
In conclusion, the scorpion kick is a testament to René Higuita’s talent, athleticism, and creativity. The move has become a symbol of his unique style and personality, and it has had a significant impact on the game of football. It will always be remembered as one of the most iconic moments in the history of the beautiful game.
Controversies and Setbacks
René Higuita’s career was not without its controversies and setbacks. While he was widely celebrated for his acrobatic style of play and his unforgettable scorpion kick, he was also involved in a number of high-profile incidents that left a mark on his career.
Higuita’s Involvement in Escobar’s Murder
One of the most notorious incidents involving Higuita was his involvement in the murder of Pablo Escobar, the infamous drug lord who was one of the most powerful men in Colombia in the 1980s and 1990s.
Higuita was close friends with Escobar, and he was even known to have worked as one of his personal bodyguards. In 1991, he was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting in the kidnapping of a Colombian businessman by Escobar’s gang. While he was in prison, he was approached by members of a rival gang who wanted to use him to get to Escobar.
Higuita agreed to help, and he arranged a meeting with Escobar in which the drug lord was eventually captured by the authorities. Higuita’s role in the capture of Escobar was controversial, and it led to a great deal of scrutiny and criticism of his actions.
Drug Scandal and Prison Time
René Higuita involvement in the drug world did not end with the capture of Escobar. In 2004, he was arrested and charged with cocaine trafficking. He spent seven months in prison, and the scandal effectively ended his career as a professional footballer.
The incident was a major setback for Higuita, who had previously been regarded as one of the most talented and exciting players in the game. It also tarnished his reputation, and many fans and analysts were left to wonder what might have been if he had not become embroiled in the world of drugs and crime.
Career Comeback and Retirement
Despite his setbacks, Higuita was eventually able to make a comeback. After his release from prison, he joined the Colombian team Deportivo Rionegro, and he later played for a number of other clubs in Colombia and abroad.
While he was never able to recapture the magic of his early years, Higuita remained a beloved figure in the world of football. He retired from the game in 2010, having left a lasting legacy as one of the most unconventional and daring players of his generation.
In conclusion, René Higuita’s career was marked by both triumph and controversy. While he will always be remembered for his scorpion kick and his daring style of play, he was also involved in a number of incidents that left a mark on his legacy. Despite his setbacks, however, he remained a beloved and iconic figure in the world of football, and he will always be remembered as one of the game’s true mavericks.
Legacy and Impact on the Game
René Higuita’s career left a lasting impact on the world of football, and his legacy can still be felt in the game today. From his daring style of play to his iconic scorpion kick, Higuita was a true maverick who left an indelible mark on the sport.
Higuita’s Influence on Modern Goalkeeping
One of Higuita’s most lasting contributions to the game was his influence on modern goalkeeping. Before Higuita, goalkeepers were primarily seen as defenders who used their hands to make saves. Higuita, however, showed that keepers could be just as valuable as attackers, using his feet and his daring play to create scoring opportunities for his team.
Today, many goalkeepers have adopted Higuita’s style of play, with some even incorporating the scorpion kick into their own games. Higuita’s legacy can be seen in the way that modern goalkeepers approach the game, with a greater emphasis on agility, mobility, and creativity.
Higuita’s Impact on Colombian Football
Higuita was also a major figure in Colombian football, and his impact on the sport in his home country cannot be overstated. He helped to establish Colombia as a major force in South American football, playing a key role in the team that won the Copa America in 1991.
René Higuita popularity and success also helped to inspire a new generation of young players, many of whom would go on to achieve success on the international stage. He remains a beloved figure in Colombia, and his legacy can be felt in the way that the country approaches the sport of football today.
Honors and Awards
Higuita’s achievements were recognized with a number of honors and awards throughout his career. In addition to his success with Atletico Nacional and the Colombian national team, he was also recognized with a number of individual awards, including the South American Footballer of the Year award in 1990.
Higuita’s iconic scorpion kick was also recognized with a special award from FIFA in 2012, when it was named the best save of all time. The award was a testament to Higuita’s lasting impact on the game, and a reminder of the magic and creativity that he brought to the world of football.
Source : wikipedia
FAQs about René Higuita
Here are some frequently asked questions about René Higuita:
Q: Who invented the scorpion kick? A: René Higuita is credited with inventing the scorpion kick. He first performed the move in a friendly match against England in 1995, and it has since become one of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport.
Q: Who did the scorpion kick save? A: Higuita’s scorpion kick save came in a match against England at Wembley Stadium in 1995. He used the move to clear a shot from Jamie Redknapp, earning him worldwide fame and cementing his status as a true maverick of the game.
Q: How old is René Higuita? A: René Higuita was born on August 27, 1966, which makes him 56 years old as of 2022.
Q: Who did the backflip penalty save? A: Higuita is also famous for his “scorpion kick” penalty save against England in 1995, but he also made a backflip penalty save against River Plate in 1993. The move, which saw Higuita dive forward and flip over, remains one of the most memorable moments of his career.
Q: Which country is René Higuita from? A: René Higuita is from Colombia. He spent the majority of his club career playing for Atletico Nacional in Medellin, and he also represented the Colombian national team on numerous occasions.
In conclusion, René Higuita was a true icon of the game, whose legacy continues to be felt in the world of football today. From his daring style of play to his impact on modern goalkeeping, he was a true trailblazer whose contributions to the sport will never be forgotten.