EXCLUSIVE: Former Colombia Goalkeeper Rene Higuita Hails Gianluigi Buffon As World's Best

The exciting former Colombian international spoke exclusively to Goal.com and discussed a myriad of topics...
Rene Higuita: just the name, incites memories. A whimsical player if there ever was one, Higuita was (and perhaps still is) a symbol for Colombia and throughout world football. Unable to stand between the posts for long periods, Rene loved to come out of his own penalty area and venture into the play with his dribbling. Those offensive guts made him famous - even if the outcome of these forays was not always positive (see Roger Milla of Cameroon score against him in World Cup Italia '90).

The former shot-stopper was generous enough to speak to Goal.com. He looked back on his career, examined the state of the current Colombia setup, and offered his opinion on the best goalkeeper in the world today.

Rene, are you still a player in business or have you hung up your boots for good?

I wanted to play up to 45 years of age, but now I have decided to stop.
I am 43-years-old and I think it's time to quit. I want to help my son Andres Rene, who is only 19-years-old but is a great talent. I think he will have a great career.

Maybe like his father?

I don't know.
I can only speak for myself. I only know that I have always worked hard to give the best of myself in goal, and when I ventured out of the net as well!

Sometimes things have not gone well, like in extra-time of Italia '90 against Roger Milla. Any goals to forget? 

We were at a World Cup, a fantastic thing.
The great thing about this sport is that you can remember with joy the moments that were even less fortunate.
What about the goal by Alberigo Evani, which caused you to lose Intercontinental Cup?

If I start thinking about all the goals that I have suffered in my career, then I would not be able to sleep at night.

How come someone like Rene Higuita has never broken through in Europe?

I played in Spain [with Real Valladolid] and I could have gone to Atletico Madrid, but then nothing came of it and I went back home.
I think that football in Europe is very practical - results count and no one would gamble on a goalkeeper who has been around for a long time.

Yet you have always been idolised by many, including the time you made the scorpion save against England.

I wanted to make a mark in football.
The scorpion save I had wanted to do for some time, but in an important game. In fact, in that match, I did it because I saw that the linesman had raised his flag and then, if I had missed the ball, the goal would still have been void.

As for goalkeepers, who is the best one out there? Gianluigi Buffon.

Will there ever be another Rene Higuita?

How can you say that?
There is [Colombia's] David Ospina [of Nice], who is already a second selection Colombian goalkeeper. He is very good, serious and interesting. Probably much smarter than I was at his age.
What do you think about the Colombian national team?

When we went to the World Cup, it was a celebration for the whole country.
I hope that the new recruits will be able to qualify for the World Cup. At the moment we are stuck, we have not been to the World Cup since 1998.

Last question: what team do you support, beyond the clubs you have played for?

Real Madrid, although I really like Inter, too.

We apologise, but are you sure you will never return to the field?

No. If I return, it will be my goodbye match to football.

Fabrizio Ponciroli, Goal.com Italia