|Full name||José René Higuita Zapata|
|Date of birth||27 August 1966|
|Place of birth||Medellín (Barrio Castilla), Colombia|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
José René Higuita Zapata (born 27 August 1966 in Medellín) is a Colombian former football goalkeeper nicknamed El Loco ("The Madman"). Rene Higuita was well known for his 'sweeper' playing style taking risk in leaving his post empty to clear balls and even dribble. Unique and 'crazy' by his nickname, he stood out in football history as one of the greatest and most remarkable goal keepers of all time. In a friendly against England in 1995, he created the famous scorpion kick, where he faces the pitch, falls forward to waist level and parallel to the ground, knees bent, feet curl back and kick (using the undersides of the foots) the ball away from the goal. He was often considered to be the 'master of the unpredictable'. Higuita is the current 4th highest goalscoring goalkeeper of all time with 41 goals.
Higuita's style of play influenced a new FIFA rule during the 1990 FIFA World Cup that a goalkeeper is not allowed to touch the ball with his hands if his teammates pass the ball to him. IFFHS ranked Higuita the 8th best keeper in South American history.
Rene Higuita played the majority of his club career with Colombian side Atlético Nacional where he helped the team win the Colombian League on numerous occasions as well as the Copa Libertadores and Copa Interamericana, both in 1989.
He came out of retirement in 2007 to sign for Venezuelan club Guaros de Lara FC. In January 2008, aged 41, he signed for Colombian second division team Deportivo Rionegro. In June 2008 he signed for Colombian first division team Deportivo Pereira and retired in January 2010.
Higuita would often take set-pieces for the Colombian national team and became known for scoring directly from free-kicks, as well as penalties. In all, he scored 7 goals in his 68 international appearances. Higuita is also famed for inventing the scorpion kick, a clearance where the keeper jumps forward, positions his legs over his head and in doing so, kicks the ball away with his heels. This save earned him considerable media attention when he successfully used it in a friendly game against England at Wembley Stadium on 6 September 1995, blocking a shot by Jamie Redknapp. It ranked 94th in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Sporting Moments in 2002.
On the pitch, Higuita was known for his eccentric playing style, taking unnecessary risks and actively trying to score goals. He was also prone to blunders, and it was a mistake by him that knocked Colombia out of the 1990 World Cup, when he seemingly dithered with the ball at his feet near the halfway line enabling Cameroon striker Roger Milla to dispossess him and score, putting Cameroon through to the quarter-finals. Higuita himself described it as "a mistake as big as a house". As a result of such behaviour, Higuita was nicknamed El Loco ("The Madman") by media and fans alike.
Higuita is friends with Diego Maradona and played in the Argentine's farewell match in 2001.
He joined Al Nassr FC in Saudi Arabia on 12 January 2012, to become the club goalkeeper coach.
He is married to Magnolia, with whom he has two children, Andrés and Pamela. He also has a daughter, Cindy Carolina, from a previous marriage.
Higuita was imprisoned in 1993 after getting involved in a kidnapping. Acting as a go-between for the drug barons Pablo Escobar and Carlos Molina, he was largely responsible for securing the release of Molina's daughter by delivering the ransom money. He received $64,000 for his services, which breaks Colombian law as it is an offence to profit from a kidnapping. He was incarcerated for seven months before being released without charge. Commenting on the case, he has stated that "I'm a footballer, I didn't know anything about kidnapping laws." In the documentary The Two Escobars however, it was claimed he was imprisoned due to a personal visit to Pablo Escobar, in prison due to the fact that they questioned Higuita only about Pablo Escobar rather than the kidnapping itself.
Because of the term in prison Higuita was not fit for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. In another scandal, he tested positive for cocaine on 23 November 2004 while playing for "Aucas", an Ecuadorian football club.
In 2005, Higuita participated in the reality TV program La isla de los famosos: Una aventura pirata ("The Island of the Famous: A Pirate Adventure"), a show similar to Survivor. Also in 2005, he underwent plastic surgery to completely change his appearance.
As of November 2009, his son Cristian Andrés Higuita was playing for Asociación Deportivo Cali and represented Colombia at the Sudamericano Sub-15. He was also set to represent Colombia at the U-20 South American Championship for 2013 but suffered an injury thus playing a small appearance in only 1 match.
Higuita has expressed the wish to become more politically active.
- Atlético Nacional:
- "René Higuita and the Scorpion kick". YouTube. 31 January 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Off The Ball (18 November 2011). "Goalkeepers who belied their size". FIFA.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Name * (6 September 2012). "What happened to Rene Higuita's career?". FootballFanCast.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Higuita returns to football
- Tormann René Higuita geht nicht mehr auf Torjagd
- The legacy of Rene Higuita
- On Sky Sports 1's Goals on Sunday, 29 October 2006 at 1246 GMT, Jamie Redknapp stated that it was a cross not a shot.
- Shaw, Phil (16 February 1998). "Schmeichel slices into fixture". The Independent.
- "Colombia 'scorpion kick' keeper Higuita runs for mayor". BBC News. 19 March 2011.
- René Higuita, nuevo preparador de porteros en elvalladolid.com
- René 'el Loco' Higuita leads Ecuador's keepers – FIFA.com 22 September 2004
- "The Two Escobars HD (esp/eng) ESPN 6 of 11". YouTube. 28 December 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "The Two Escobars HD (esp/eng) ESPN 7 of 11". YouTube. 28 December 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Two of the best
- (Spanish) Inconforme René Higuita por cambio físico a que fue sometido (El Universal)
- Colombia inicia con goleada su participación en Torneo de Las Américas
- "Cristian Higuita se lesionó y se perderá el debut de la Sub-20 | Suramericano Sub 20". Futbolred.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Higuita wants to return to Colombia's national team". Colombia Reports. 1 April 2008. Archived from the original on 25 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
Media related to René Higuita at Wikimedia Commons
- René Higuita at National-Football-Teams.com
- International statistics at rsssf
- FIFA interview with René Higuita
- BBC SPORT Tim Vickery The legacy of Rene Higuita
- René Higuita clips: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4