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Antonio ‘La Tota’ Carbajal, first ever footballer to play in 5 World Cups, dies in Mexico

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2023. 11:52 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Antonio Carbajal, the historic goalkeeper of Mexico and a football icon, died on Tuesday at 93 years old. Carbajal, also known as ‘La Tota’ or ‘El Cinco Copas’ (five cups), was the first player to participate in five FIFA World Cups from Brazil 1950 to England 1966.

He held that record alone for 32 years until he was matched by Germany’s Lothar Matthäus in France 1998. His countryman Rafael Márquez also equaled the feat in Russia 2018. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also attended five World Cups from France 1998 to Brazil 2014 but didn’t play in his first World Cup in France 1998.

“I always wanted to be someone and I seem to have managed it. I played my last World Cup a little over 50 years ago but people still call me and remember who I am. That tells me something,” Carbajal said some time ago.


Carbajal played for 18 years as a professional goalkeeper, mostly for León, with whom he won four Mexican league titles. He also played for Club España and for the Mexican national team, earning 48 international caps. After his retirement, he became a coach and led several teams, including Atlético de Morelia for a decade until his retirement in 1995.

“It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Antonio Carbajal, the first player to star in five FIFA World Cups,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a message to the Mexican Football Federation.

“I send our most sincere condolences to his family and to all the Mexican fans who mourn his loss.”

Some of ‘La Tota’ Carbajal’s achievements are:

Club Level:

•          He played 409 official matches

•          He spent 16 years with León, playing 364 matches

•          He also played 45 matches for Club España

•          He coached 722 matches, including 10 years with Atlético de Morelia (1985-1995)

Mexican National Team

•          He played 48 matches with Mexico

•          He debuted in the 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil against Brazil

•          He was part of Mexico’s first FIFA World Cup win against Czechoslovakia in Chile 1962

•          He played 11 FIFA World Cup matches in total


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