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One of the most exciting things about watching a soccer game is when a player scores a goal. But a goalkeeper’s job is to stop the opponent from scoring a goal.
So, is it even possible for a goalkeeper to score a goal if they wanted to? Can goalies score in soccer?
Every player on the field of play, including the goalkeeper, can score a goal in soccer. If the goalkeeper is the last player to touch the soccer ball before it crosses the goal line, then the goalie is considered the scorer of the goal.
Even though it’s possible and within the game rules for a goalkeeper to score, it’s not something you see very often in a game.
To have the chance to score a goal, the goalkeeper has to be in a specific situation or hope that the weather is on their side.
It is entirely within the rules of the game for a goalkeeper to score a goal. All it takes for any player to score is to be in the right place at the right time!
The goalkeeper’s job is to defend their goal and do everything they can to stop the other team from scoring. For a goalie to score, they usually have to be at the other end of the field, not their default position.
During most games, there will be some time when the goalkeeper needs less than the rest of the game.
This can be because the defenders on the goalie’s team are doing an excellent job keeping the ball from getting past them. Another would be that their team is much better than their opponents.
Here is the list of top goalkeepers who find themselves in a position to score a goal. Yet, most goalkeepers get on the scoresheet from particular parts of the game.
Rogério Ceni – 131 Goals
A dead-ball specialist, Ceni was the official taker of free kicks and penalties for São Paulo from 1997 until his resignation. Throughout his career, he made 131 goals.
Other than his accurate set-pieces, prolific goalscoring, distribution, and ability with the ball at his feet, he was also known as an excellent goalkeeper and shot-stopper. He stood out for his determination and longevity throughout his career, as he retired with over 40 years of age.
Ceni was recognized for being proficient in producing brilliant saves. The most notable one was during the finals of the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship. He later won the Golden Ball, which is awarded to the competition’s best player.
José Luis Chilavert – 67 Goals
José Luis Félix Chilavert González is a former goalkeeper from Paraguay. He played for the Paraguayan national football team, Sportivo Luqueño, Guaraní, San Lorenzo de Almagro, Real Zaragoza, Vélez Sarsfield, RC Strasbourg, and Peñarol.
In 1999, he became the first goalkeeper distinguished to score a hat-trick in professional football while playing for Vélez. He also scored a free-kick from behind the halfway line against River Plate.
The IFFHS chose Chilavert World Goalkeeper of the Year in 1995, 1997, and 1998. He also participated in the 1998 World Cup, where he became the first goalkeeper to take a direct free kick in the World Cup finals.
With two clean sheets in the first round, he helped Paraguay take the round of sixteen. Unfortunately, the team lost to France on a golden goal scored by Laurent Blanc.
FIFA named Chilavert as an All-Star Squad for his achievements, alongside French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.
Dimitar Ivankov – 25
Dimitar Ivanov Ivankov is a former Bulgarian goalkeeper and the 3rd highest goalkeeper of all time with 42 goals. Nevertheless, he is known for his goals, especially from turning penalty kicks.
He joined the Turkish club Kayserispor in June 2005. On 7 May 2008, he played an active role in Kayseri winning the Turkish Cup, defending three penalties, and scoring two himself. Thus, he adorned the fourth Bulgarian to win the Turkish Cup.
During three seasons with the club, Ivankov made 94 appearances playing in the Süper Lig and scored six goals.
On 23 June 2011, Ivankov signed a deal with Cypriot First Division side Anorthosis Famagusta. The contract with Anorthosis was terminated by mutual agreement on 8 August, after the Europa League exit.
René Higuita – 41 Goals
José René Higuita Zapata, nicknamed El Loco (“The Madman”) for his high-risk “sweeper-keeper” playing style and his flair for the dramatic.
Higuita’s playstyle was first exhibited during the 1990 FIFA World Cup. It influenced goalkeepers to take more responsibility for situations further from the goal.
IFFHS lined Higuita, the 8th best South American keeper in history. He was also ranked as one of the ten highest-scoring goalkeepers in history, with 41 goals overall.
Higuita’s first major tournament was the 1989 Copa América, where the team was beaten in the first round. In the 1990 FIFA World Cup, he played a vital part in leading the country into the game of 16 for the first time.
But Higuita’s unorthodox playing style produced a mistake that knocked Colombia out of the World Cup. He tried to feint Cameroon striker Roger Milla but missed, putting Cameroon through to the quarter-finals.
Higuita called it “a mistake as big as a house.” As a result of such behavior, Higuita was nicknamed El Loco or “The Madman.”
He participated in the 1991 Copa América, where the team ended fourth. His final call up for the national team was for the 1999 Copa América.
Higuita often conveyed set-pieces for the Colombian national team, wherein he scored three goals in his 68 international appearances.
Hans-Jörg Butt – 32 Goals
Hans-Jörg Butt is a former German footballer who played as a goalkeeper.
Known for taking penalty kicks and for often running into the opposing penalty box whenever his team was trailing, he scored 26 goals in the Bundesliga. He played for Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburger SV, and Bayern Munich in his country, having arrived at Munich at 34.
He obtained three international caps for Germany in a friendly game. He made his debut against Liechtenstein in June 2000, where he performed for the second half of an 8–2 routing.
In May 2010, Butt, Neuer, and Tim Wiese were picked as Germany’s goalkeepers for the 2010 World Cup. He made his competitive international debut on 10 July, appearing in the 3–2 win versus Uruguay in its third-place playoff.
Dragan Pantelić – 26 Goals
Dragan Pantelić is a former Yugoslavian goalkeeper. He scored over 20 goals throughout his career, which is mainly from penalties.
After starting at Rađevac and Grafičar Beograd, Pantelić spent ten seasons with Radnički Niš from 1971 to 1981. He garnered over 250 appearances in the Yugoslav First League, making 15 goals. In a league head against Velež Mostar, Pantelić made the match-winning goal from inside his penalty area.
He later went abroad to France and joined Bordeaux, serving the side for two seasons. After momentarily playing for Timok in the Yugoslav Second League, Pantelić returned to Radnički Niš for the 1984–85 season before retiring.
At the international level, Pantelić earned 19 caps for Yugoslavia between 1979 and 1984, scoring two goals. He also represented the country at the 1980 Summer Olympics, as they finished in fourth place and took part in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
Cristian Lucchetti – 25 Goals
After two years in Banfield, he was assigned to Santos Laguna in Mexico. During that time, he performed in the Mexican Primera División and the 2004 Copa Libertadores.
In 2004, he came back to Argentina to play for Racing Club. In 2005, Lucchetti returned to his former club Banfield, where he grew as one of the club’s goalscorers by taking penalties. In 2009, he became the first Banfield team goalkeeper to win an Argentine championship, wherein he scored a goal in every game of the Apertura 2009 championship.
In June 2010, the 31-year-old goalkeeper left Banfield and joined on loan with a selling alternative to Boca Juniors.
A year later, he returned to Banfield to play in the 2011-2012 season, finishing over 20 teams. He was then relegated to the 2nd Division after 11 seasons and winning the Apertura 2009. Three years later he transferred to Atlético Tucumán.
Vincent Enyeama – 20 Goals
Vincent Enyeama played for the Nigerian national team as a goalkeeper from 2002 until October 2015. Afterwards, he became a team captain until his retirement.
With 101 caps, Vincent Enyeama is Nigeria’s most capped player of all time.
In the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, Enyeama blocked three kicks in the quarter-final penalty shootout against Tunisia. However, he could not anticipate a loss to Ivory Coast in the semi-final.
In the 2010 tournament, he was again Nigeria’s shootout star at the quarter-final stage, defending from Zambia’s Thomas Nyrienda and scoring the winning kick himself.
Enyeama earned his second FIFA World Cup appearance in the 2010 tournament in South Africa. He was elected a man of the match in Nigeria’s first game of the tournament, a challenging display that restricted Argentina to a 1–0 win.
Enyeama, who was serving his 56th international for the Super Eagles, made six excellent saves, four of which are from Lionel Messi.
Argentine coach Diego Maradona adored him as the reason Messi was not able to score a goal. Enyeama was also granted man of the match in the team’s next fixture, a 2–1 loss to Greece, but was at fault for Vasilis Torosidis’ winning goal.
At the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Enyeama was deputized for regular captain Joseph Yobo, who stayed on the bench for most of the match. In February 2013, Enyeama led Nigeria to its third continental success, keeping a clean sheet in a 1–0 defeat of Burkina Faso in the Africa Cup of Nations Final.
He was named to the match team as the first-choice goalkeeper, yielding only four goals in six games.
Rafael Dudamel – 16 Goals
Rafael Édgar Dudamel Ochoa, usually known as Rafael Dudamel, is a former Venezuelan goalkeeper for the Venezuela national team.
During his professional career, Dudamel played for several Venezuelan clubs. Among this were Universidad de Los Andes, El Vigía, Atlético Zulia, UA Maracaibo, and Deportivo Táchira. He also played for Colombian clubs Atlético Huila, Independiente Santa Fe, Deportivo Cali, Millonarios, and Cortulua. He has also played for Quilmes, of Argentina.
He was transferred to Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in 2005. In 2007 after the Copa America, he shifted to América de Cali, a top Colombian club alongside Venezuelan international Jorge Rojas. He left América and came back to Estudiantes de Mérida in August 2008.
As of November 2007, Dudamel has 56 caps and one goal for the Venezuela national football team, where he was also capped for the first time in 1993. He scored a direct free kick in the World Cup 1998 qualifier against Argentina
Ante Vulić – 15 Goals
A Croatian goalkeeper who spent his 11-year career with Hajduk Split and winning two Yugoslav league titles in 1952 and 1955.
Although a talented goalkeeper, he had to be a backup to Vladimir Beara for most of his career. Nonetheless, Beara says that Vulić was his best and most trusted friend.
Also, he managed to become the second-most-capped Hajduk Split goalkeeper, with 339 games:
- 116 in the league
- 17 in the domestic Cup
- 4 international games
- 202 friendlies
Despite being a long-time backup to Beara, he was also recognized as an excellent penalty taker. He was the first goalkeeper to save a penalty to Ferenc Puskás in the 1952 Olympic finals.
It’s common to see the goalkeeper moving further up the playfield during game time than you would typically see them playing. Sometimes you may even see them hanging out around the halfway line.
But keep in mind that this is a difficult choice. That’s because it leaves the goalkeeper’s goal wide open and vulnerable to any long distance attempt from the opposition.
The goalie moves up the field because he is trying to get nearer to where the game is taking place. It is also because he is hoping that he is likely to be involved if he is nearer.
This provides an advantage to the team and effectively adds another outfield player.
But it also means that they are closer to the opposing team’s goal. And we all know that the nearer you are to the goal, the more likely you are to score a goal.
It’s by no means guaranteed, but your chances do increase.