Wednesday, June 18, 2014 8:04 pm
By Guillermo BARROS
SANTOS – Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said he was “flattered” to be compared to former England great Gordon Banks after his man-of-the-match performance against Brazil.
Ochoa, who is without a club after leaving Ajaccio at the end of last season following their relegation from the French top flight, made four crucial saves to earn Mexico a 0-0 draw in Fortaleza.
But the first of those, a sprawling one-handed save to deny a powerful downward Neymar header, was reminiscent of a famous save Banks made to thwart Pele at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
That was known as the “save of the century” and Ochoa was delighted to have his compared to it.
“Of course I know that save, I’ve seen it many times,” said Ochoa. “It’s considered the best save in history. It’s a true honour that people say mine was similar.
“I really feel very flattered.”
Although Ochoa said he hoped not to need to be his country’s saviour in every match.
“Of course I’d rather have less work,” he quipped.
While Ochoa may not have been a household name before that match, and that save, watched my millions of people around the world, he certainly will be now.
But his teammates said his performance came as no surprise to them.
“It was incredible. Maybe people don’t know him very well because he was playing in a little club, but for those who work with him every day, it really wasn’t a surprise,” said centre-back Hector Moreno.
Midfielder Andres Guardado added: “Sometimes you get the feeling that it doesn’t matter how many times they shoot, nothing will get past.”