Goalkeepers must be tall! that’s not a rule; although height is an advantage for a goalkeeper, it doesn’t mean taller goalkeepers are necessarily better than shorter ones. In this post, we are to top 12 shortest professional soccer goalkeepers in the world; who are they really and how tall are they?
Maybe you come up with the question,
who is the smallest goalkeeper
among the shortest goalkeepers in the world? We know who and we are going to let you know about him, but before anything else, let’s make one thing clear.
By shortest goalkeepers, we mean goalkeepers whose height is equal or lower than 1.72m. That’s the definition of shortest in this post, and believe us, there have been not more than 12 goalkeepers in the history of football with that height.
Who is the smallest goalkeeper among the top 12 shortest professional soccer goalkeepers in the world and which other goalkeepers fill the list? Stay with us to know.
The definite answer to the question, who is the smallest goalkeeper in the world or even in the history of football, is the Paraguyana goalkeeper, Pedro Manuel Benítez Arpolda, simply known as Pedro Benitez. He was just 1.66m tall, 2cm shorter than the
in the world! And we say “was” because he was an old-old-generation footballer who died in 1974 at the age of 73. His career ended sometime in 1930s; actually years before the start of World War II, and during his career, as far as we know, he served his home-country club, Libertad, and the Argentinian club, Atlanta.
Benitez also made one appearance for the Paraguayan national team in 1930 which means he was not probably part of his country’s first national team; maybe because of his short stature? Maybe but not surely. There is not much information at hand concerning that, and just to tell you the truth, there is also not much information at hand about his footballing life except what we said above. It might be interesting for you to know that Benitez is even deleted from FIFA players’ statistics database probably because he’s a very very old generation footballer. However, whatever the truth about Benitez, one thing is for sure: He’s the smallest goalkeeper on the list of top 12 shortest professional soccer goalkeepers in the world.
One of the only two goalkeepers with a height of 1.68m on the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football, Francesco Quintini is a 69-year-old retired Italian goalkeeper who only served the top Serie A club,AS Roma
, between 1971 and 1977 and another Italian club named Banco di Roma which doesn’t exist anymore between 1977 and 1979.
During the six seasons Quintini was with AS Roma, Quintini only appeared 9 times for them which translates to 1.5 appearances in every season, so, he was not, for sure, Roma’s first-team goalkeeper, however, he won one Anglo-Italian Cup - a discontinued competition between English and Italian teams - in his first season (1971-72) with AS Roma. And the number of appearances Quintini made for Banco di Roma? It is not known; he only served them for two years between 1977 and 1979, as mentioned above.
And here comes another Italian goalkeeper on the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football who is both the second passed goalkeeper and the second and last goalkeeper on the list with a height of 1.68m: Angelo Martino Colombo. He’s also the last Italian goalkeeper on the list as there are no more Italian goalkeepers among the
top 12 shortest professional soccer goalkeepers in the world
Unfortunately there is not much information at hand about Colombo, too, since he’s also one of those old-generation footballers, however, we know how many teams he served, for how long, and how many appearances he made for them. Colombo’s career started in 1954 and continued for 21 years until 1975. During this time, he actually served six Italian clubs, namely Pro Vercelli,Messina
, Cagliari, Juventus, Hellas Verona, and Omegna in the chronological order, and made a total of 412 appearances for them with Cagliari and Pro Vercelli getting the highest shares of Colombo’s appearances: the former 165 and the latter 169 appearances. That shows one thing if you like it and that is Colombo was much more an active goalkeeper than his peer, Francesco Quintini, and Pedro Benitez of Paraguay despite his short stature.
Just one centimeter taller than the two previously mentioned goalkeepers, Angelo Martino Colombo and Francesco Quintini, Juan Botasso is another passed old-old-generation footballer who played for the two Argentinian clubs,Argentino de Quilmes
and Racing Club, during his 19-year career which lasted from 1927 to 1946. Botasso was himself from Argentina and died at the very young age of 41. He also served the Argentinian national time during his career and made 9 appearances for them but we don’t know from when to when as we don’t know how many appearances he made for the clubs he served during his career. That’s because he’s actually a very old-generation footballer about whom not much information is at hand.
The first English goalkeeper on the list of
shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football
, Stephen Victor Death, simply known as Steve Death, is a passed goalkeeper whom we can call almost a one-club man, too. He actually served Reading between 1969 and 1982, where they actually competed in Division 3 and 4, and made a total of 471 appearances for them only at league level - the unofficial appearances he made for Reading are even higher. He also served West Ham United sometime in 1969, but made only one appearance for them.
So, as you see, Death’s spell was almost all with Reading and although there was some concern about his short stature at the time he joined the English club, he actually made himself the club’s first-team goalkeeper and remained in that position at least for 10 years. He was also named the Player of the Season in the first season he joined Reading (1969). And Death never made an appearance for the English national team, since he was actually a Division 3 goalkeeper and was naturally put out of the choices.
The only goalkeeper on the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football who also played as a striker - in fact, at club level - and scored 34 goals during his career which is amazing for a goalkeeper - you know, there are defenders who have scored less than him throughout their careers! From among all the goalkeepers on the list already mentioned, Campos is more contemporary: His career lasted from 1988 to 2004 during which he served 2 American clubs, namely Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire, and 6 Mexican clubs including Puebla,Cruz Azul
, and UNAM.
Campos made a total of 445 appearances for all the clubs he served during his career, and as you know, scored 34 goals for them. He was also Mexico’s first-team goalkeeper for about 13 years between 1991 and 2004 despite his short stature and during this time made a total of 130 appearances for them which makes him the fifth most capped Mexican footballer ever.
Campos also took part in two editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1994 and 1998 editions of the competition, with the Mexican national team. With 14 club and individual trophies to his name, Campos is actually the most decorated footballer on the list. He has won 5 consecutive Liga Mx - the top tier of Mexican football league system - Golden Gloves between 1990 and 1995, and the same league’s title in 1990-91 season. And with the Mexican national team? He won one FIFA Confederations Cup in 1999 and two CONCACAF Gold Cups in 1993 and 1996.
The second English goalkeeper on the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football with a height of 1.7m, Ted Burgin is a passed goalkeeper who played for six clubs during his career. It is not clear when Burgin’s career started and when it ended, but with a general look at his career, we can say it started somewhere in 1949 and ended sometime in 1960s - actually after 1966. So, Burgin’s career lasted at least for 17 years during which, as we said above, he served six English clubs, namely Alford Town, Sheffield United, Doncaster Rovers,Leeds United
, Rochdale, and the seventh-tier club, Glossop North End.
Burgin made a total of 551 appearances for the clubs he served during his career with Sheffield United and Rochdale getting the highest share of Burgin’s appearances: The former 281 and the latter 207 appearances. In fact, during the time Burgin served Sheffield United, which was actually at the start of his career, he was considered one of England’s top goalkeepers, however, and maybe because of his short stature, he only made two appearances for England B team, and although he was included in England’s squad in 1954 World Cup, he never made an appearance for them in the competition.
And here comes the last goalkeeper on the list of
shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football
with a height of 1.7m: Teddy Davison. He’s also the third English goalkeeper and the sixth passed one on the list. Davison could be almost called a one-club man just like Pedro Benitez since he served the then top-tier club, Sheffield Wednesday, for almost all his career: Actually for 18 years between 1908 and 1926 during which he made a total of 424 appearances for them across all competitions. The only other club Davison was a member of was Mansfield Town and actually in the final season of his career (1926-27 season), however, there is no information at hand if Davison ever made an appearance for the club or not.
Nicknamed “The Honest Ted” and “The George Washington of Sheffield Football” for his gentle and fair attitude on the pitch, Davison is actually the shortest goalkeeper who has ever appeared for England to this date which is a record in its own right. Although he made only one appearance for the English national team - actually in a match against Wales in 1922 which ended in England’s 1-0 victory and Davison earning a clean sheet, that counts! We mean for his record of shortest goalkeeper who has ever appeared for England.
More than halfway through the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football, we reach another passed Italian goalkeeper who can be considered as one of those old-old-generation goalkeepers with his career lasting for 14 years between 1925 and 1939: Giuseppe Cavanna. Cavanna also served the Italian national team in 1934 FIFA World Cup where they actually won the competition, but as a reserve goalkeeper; maybe because of his short stature? Probably. However, Cavanna actually made 6 appearances for Italy B team in 1931. He also served two other clubs thanNapoli
, namely Benevento and Pro Vercelli, and made a total of 282 appearances for all the clubs he served during his career. He was also the record holder of average lowest goals conceded at Napoli per game (0.7) before his record was broken by Dino Zoff in 1970-71 season.
The only Chilean goalkeeper on the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football, Juan Segundo Olivares Marambio, simply known as Juan Olivares is an 80-year-old retired goalkeeper who served four Chilean clubs, namely Santiago Wanderers,Union Espanola
, Magallanes, and Cobreloa, during his career which lasted from 1961 to 1978. However, unfortunately, we don’t know how many appearances Olivares made during his career for these clubs. Despite his almost short stature, Olivares also served the Chilean national team between 1965 and 1974 making 33 appearances and taking part in two editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1966 and 1974 editions of the competition, with them.
Another Mexican goalkeeper on the list of shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football, Oscar Perez is a 48-year-old recently-retired goalkeeper - he retired in 2019 - who served six Mexican clubs during his career, namely Cruz Azul, UANL, Chiapas, Necaxa, San Luis, andPachuca
, the five latter on loan actually from the former and from 2008 to 2019 - he actually served the former for 16 years from 1993 to 2008.
During his 26-year career which lasted from 1993 to 2019, Perez made a total of 814 appearances for the above-mentioned clubs across all competitions and also scored 2 goals for two of them, namely Cruz Azul and Pachuca. He also served Mexico U23 team between 1995 and 1996 making 3 appearances and scoring one goal for them and also the Mexican national team between 1997 and 2010 making 55 appearances for them in the process.
Perez is a moderately-decorated goalkeeper compared to other goalkeepers on the list: He won 6 club trophies with the two Mexican clubs mentioned above (Cruz Azul and Pachuca) and four international trophies with the Mexican national team, namely one FIFA Confederations Cup in 1999 and three CONCACAF Gold Cups in 1998, 2003, and 2009. He was also Mexico’s first-team goalkeeper in 2002 and 2010 World Cups saying goodbye to his international career as Mexico lost to Argentina in the round of 16 of the latter edition of the competition.
And here comes the only Czechoslovakian and the last passed goalkeeper on the list of
shortest goalkeepers ever in the history of football
: Frantisek Planicka. Died in July 1996 at the age of 92, Planicka was also a one-club man during his 15-year career which lasted from 1923 to 1938. He only served the Czech club, SK Slavia Praha, during this time and made a total of 196 appearances for them only at league level. He also served the Czechoslovakian national team between 1926 and 1938 making 73 appearances for them in the process and taking part in two editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1934 and 1938 editions of the competition, with them where in the former they actually finished as runners-up.
With eight club trophies - actually 8 Czech first league titles - and 5 individual honors to his name including FIFA World Cup Best Goalkeeper in 1938, Planicka is one of the highly-decorated goalkeepers on the list. He was actually considered as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation and, in 1999, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) chose him as the best Czech goalkeeper as well as the sixth best in Europe and ninth best in the world. It should also be mentioned here that the record of Planicka’s caps was not broken until 1966 that the former Czech footballer, Ladislav Novak, made his 74th appearance for the Czech national team. And finally, in 37 of his 73 appearances for theCzech national team
, Planicka actually captained the team.
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