I do not want to take any attention from any recently posted article, but I feel it necessary to post a short tribute entry to Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, who could well have been the greatest goal keeper in the history of the Americas, and easily one of the all time greatest in world football history.
Part of the River Plate region’s (Argentina and Uruguay) “All Time Holy Trinity” of Goalkeepers: Usbaldo Fillol (Arg), Amadeo Carrizo (Arg) and Ladislao Mazurkiewicz (Uru), we’re not talking about any keeper, but one of the true all time legends of the position ever. The first time I ever saw a video of him was when ESPN Classic played the 1966 Intercontental Final (2nd leg) between Peñarol and Real Madrid. To say that I was stunned was an understatement. I was surprised by how sad I felt to hear the news, and on the behalf of La Celeste Blog, I want to express my respect for this remarkable person. Below, I will be posting a few humorous anecdotes of his.
A few Anecdotes:
1. Lev Yashin meets Mazurkiewicz: In 1968, Mazurkiewicz was invited by FIFA to an ‘all star celebration’ match featuring Pélé and the all time greatest keeper ever, the Russian Lev Yashin. Yashin was so impressed with the young goalie that he gifted him his gloves after their practice together. They met in the 1970 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final (a classic), and upon his retirement in 1971, Yashin declared Mazurkiewicz to be his successor.
2. Mazurkiewicz meets the Queen of England and the Earl of Snowdon: 1966 FIFA World Cup (in England) opener, England v. Uruguay at Wembley. Loved for his sense of humour, he tried to calm his teammates before the game by jokingly taunting the Queen of England (Elizabeth II) and her husband the Earl of Snowdon as they shook hands with both teams. Upon passing the Queen, Ladislao winked at her and said: “We’re going to win today”. Upon passing the Earl of Snowdon, Ladislao said: “Vos si que estas pintado”, which is slang for “it’s as if you’re painted on a canvas”, which basically means “you really are useless here aren’t you”. His teammates stood stunned in disbelief. Apparently it worked to ease the tension before the match.
3. Mazurkiewicz didn’t want to be a goalie: His first experience as a goalkeeper occurred when the 5th division keeper of Racing of Montevideo had to go to the dentist. He ended up saving 6 penalty shots that practice!
Games I highly recommend you to watch to see how amazing this guy really was:
- Copa Libertadores 1966 Final (3rd game)- Peñarol vs. River Plate
*Many consider it to be the greatest Copa Libertadores final of all time with 2 legendary teams meeting.
- Intercontinental Cup 1966 (2nd leg)- Real Madrid vs. Peñarol
*Many consider it to be the greatest and biggest Intercontinental final of all time with, again, 2 legendary teams meeting.
- 1970 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final- Uruguay vs. the Soviet Union
*A masterful performance to keep Uruguay in the game.
- 1974 FIFA World Cup Group- Uruguay vs. the Netherlands
*a game where Uruguay would have lost 13-0 had it not been for him.
*Note: This was during an era where the Uruguayan league was one of the best in the world, and the Brazilian league was easily the world’s greatest.
1x Copa Libertadores- 1966 (Peñarol)
1x FIFA Intercontinental Cup- 1966 (Peñarol)
3x Uruguayan Championship- 1967, 1968, 1981. (Peñarol)
1x Brazilian Championship- 1971 (Atletico Mineiro)
1x South American Championship/Copa America- 1967 (Uruguay)
1970 FIFA World Cup Award: Best Goalkeeper of the tournament
FIFA World Cup Appearances: 1966, 1970, 1974
Chiquito. I never watched you play live, but I am still inspired by your legend. RIP and thank you.