Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has long been a legend in his hometown. His saves at world championships were admired by millions of fans. But no one could understand why this man with the hairstyle of a Hollywood star was not taken to the best clubs in Europe. It turned out that a strange doping story ruined his career, because they stopped communicating with him.
Ochoa on the cover of FIFA
His first club was “America”, which was later managed by the famous coach Leo Behnhakker. Young Guillermo was 18 years old, but even then everyone saw that a star can grow from a man. The Mexican quickly started playing in the starting lineup and remained in the Americas for eight seasons. But Ochoa’s ambitions encompassed more. He dreamed of becoming the first Mexican goalkeeper to prove himself in Europe.
Moreover, his achievements in the national team were impressive. He was recruited to the Olympic team at the age of 19, and then they began to be drawn to the main team. He participated in the 2006 and 2010 World Championships but never appeared on the field. But in the CONCACAF gold trophies, Guillermo took silver in 2007 and two golds in 2009 and 2011, respectively. The popularity of the extravagant goalkeeper reached such heights that he was placed on the cover of the FIFA 2008 and 2009 video game. Everyone especially remembers his game in 2007, when he saved eight shots on goal with Brazil in the America’s Cup. Mexico returned from that tournament with a bronze medal.
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Unsuccessful transition to doping and PSG
2011 was supposed to be a turning point in his career. Guillermo had an offer from PSG and other top clubs were actively showing interest. But the doping scandal that Ochoa got into with a few other Mexican football players ruined everything. Clenbuterol was found in their blood. The horror of the situation was that two months later, Guillermo was acquitted, learning that the doping had entered his body through contaminated meat. But the train from PSG has already left and the reputation is forever tarnished.
The Mexican had no choice. He hoped that the transition to the French championship, albeit to a team at the bottom of the standings, would be a springboard for a more serious club for him. At home, this transfer was perceived ambiguously as it was believed that Guillermo deserved more and could ruin his career by cooking for an outside team. But the Mexican was determined. And I have to admit that he has given some stylish matches for Ajaccio from time to time and, ironically, PSG has suffered especially in Ochoa’s well-played games.
The finest hour of the 2014 World Cup
Yet such performances for the club finally allowed him to make his debut for the national team at the World Cup. In 2014, at the tournament in Brazil, Guillermo had his finest hour. The match against the home team made Ochoa a world star. He saved an incredible number of shots from Neymar and his team and made some mind-blowing saves. Mexico conceded only one goal in the group stage, but was dramatically eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, eventually losing twice to the Netherlands.
However, Ochoa’s talent was noticed again. Guillermo had many options to continue his club career and chose Malaga. The previous season, he miraculously took off from Borussia and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League. A lot of money was invested in the club, strong players were invited. Everything looked very promising. But Ochoa was unlucky again. The coach was marinated on the “bench”, and the team itself gradually went among the middle peasants. A loan to Granada fixed things up a bit and allowed it to switch to Belgian Standard.
In Liege, Guillermo was the main goalkeeper and twice won the national championship medal. And then he returned to his hometown “America”. Between these events, Ochoa was rekindled at the World Championships. This time in Russia. The Mexican was traditionally beautiful, rebounding, drifting, flying around corners and pulling his team into the playoffs. Now 37 years old and shining again in the World Cup. In the first game of the World Cup in Qatar, Ochoa helped the team save the draw by taking a penalty from Polish star Robert Lewandowski.
Guillermo himself argues that he was philosophically satisfied with his European career. Few Mexicans truly manage to escape the country and show themselves across the ocean, and he has played for four clubs in three different countries. Oh, if not for that story about doping…
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