PanamaTimes

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

First footballer to play at five World Cups dies aged 93

First footballer to play at five World Cups dies aged 93

Mexican football legend Antonio Carbajal, the first footballer to play at five World Cups, has died aged 93.
Known as "La Tota", the goalkeeper played at the Brazil 1950, Switzerland 1954, Sweden 1958, Chile 1962 and England 1966 tournaments.

Carbajal held the record alone for 32 years until it was equalled by Germany's Lothar Matthaus in 1998.

He won 48 caps for his country, 11 of which came at World Cups, in addition to 409 appearances at club level.

The majority of his 18-year playing career was spent at Mexican side Club Leon, where he played 364 games during a 16-year stay.

The club said it would open the doors to its stadium on Thursday to allow fans to pay their respects to Carbajal, also known as "El Cinco Copas" after his achievement, in the company of his family.

"Don Antonio, legends never die," the club said.

"We will always follow your hand. It is an honour to be your team."

The club told supporters: "With honour, respect and love, let's say our last goodbye to the emerald legend."

In total, five players have matched Carbajal's historic achievement of playing at five World Cups - including two of his compatriots.

Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado both played at their fifth World Cups in Qatar last year, as did Argentina legend Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rafael Marquez became the second Mexico player to do so in 2018.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: "It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Antonio Carbajal, the first player to star in five Fifa World Cups.

"I send our most sincere condolences to his family and to all the Mexican fans who mourn his loss."
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