My All Time ‘Cult’ World XI – 9. Jorge Campos

The next offering in my all-time ‘cult’ footballers borders on the bizarre more than alternative. A colourful character, renowned for both stopping and scoring goals, he mesmerised us all with his wacky kits, silky skills and death defying acrobatic abilities. A miniature goalkeeper-cum-striker who succeeded at the highest level of international and domestic football and will go down in history for his breathtaking and eye-catching contributions. It is none other than the acrobatic, goalscoring, Bermuda short wearing, ‘El Brody’ from Acapulco; Jorge Francisco Campos Navarrete.


Jorge Campos


When someone mentions a goalscoring goalkeeper, most football intellectuals would instantly suggest José Luis Chilavert or Rogério Ceni; but in my opinion they could never back up their goalscoring records with world-class abilities between the sticks. Jorge demonstrated that ‘dynamite always comes in small packages’ as this diminutive fellow stood at a modest 5ft 6inches, only a few inches taller than my Grandma. Without a doubt he was the smallest goalkeeper ever to grace the football field. I will never forget his goal saving heroics in numerous World Cup’s and Copa America tournaments. His petite presence seemed to fool even the smartest of penalty takers into thinking Jorge had been replaced by a member of the under 12 youth team and the goal had grown to the size of Mexico. Unfortunately for them, his acrobatic ability defied the laws of the universe.

A regular risk taker, Campos considered himself an outfield player every bit as much as a goalkeeper. He regularly played as a striker, especially in his early club days at Club Universidad Nacional A.C (Pumas), where he scored an impressive 35 goals in 199 appearances. Due to limited opportunities in goal for the Pumas, he moved to Club de Fútbol Atlante where he finally achieved the role as first choice goalkeeper. He joined Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996 before playing for numerous clubs both north and south of the border.

Upon retiring, Jorge had amassed 38 goals in his career, although none came for Mexico where he gained 129 caps for ‘El Tricolor’. He was renowned for his choice of self designed attire and would regularly blind opposition strikers with his vivid selection of colours. Being ‘one-on-one’ with Campos required a health warning, particularly for players with a susceptibility to epileptic fits and former acid users. I suppose he was wholly responsible for some of the most shocking kit designs from the 1990’s. Being an avid surfer and self-appointed ‘cool dude’, he was notorious for customising a pair of Bermuda shorts with badges to compliment his garish outfits.  Here are some of the worst World Cup kits, with Jorge sitting proudly at number 4 (Number 1 is hilarious by the way)…

A manager’s delight due to his flexibility, he would normally wear an outfield kit beneath his goalkeeping attire for desperate circumstances where he would be required to play as a striker. He often found himself playing in the ‘libero’ role regularly taking on the opposition during forays into midfield. You could envisage him as a key player for the unbeatable cartoon team ‘The Hurricanes’ where every footballer appeared to have some obscure trait or bizarre talent, always to the detriment of rival manager Stavros Garkos.

I believe that his flexibility and commitment to entertain was atypical of football in the late 80’s and 90’s and something I doubt will ever return. Can you imagine Paul Robinson or Robert Green doing a ‘Campos’? They can barely goalkeep, let alone play football. I’m sure you will agree that Jorge was both an enigma and a cult legend, well worth his place in my all-time ‘cult’ world XI.

Here are some videos for your delectation, although take heed and turn the sound off…


About simpkins83

Port Vale FC. No Pyro, No Party. Detroit, Biddulph, Berlin : A Techno Alliance. North Staffs Junglists. Militant Liberal & Georgist.
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10 Responses to My All Time ‘Cult’ World XI – 9. Jorge Campos

  1. jonny burgess says:

    That picture of his kit is class. And what a belting reference to the hurricanes. That theme tune is now etched in my head for the foreesable

  2. Cultural Void says:

    The kits were stunning, visually, must have put strikers off giving em a migraine just looking at him.
    He could play football too!
    Initially thought “err dunno” but after dredging the grey cells, like it!

    • simpkins83 says:

      He was a true cult icon in the truest sense. Ok he did not market himself in europe but at that time football wasn’t as unequal between continents as it is today. 129 caps for a team as prominent as mexico deserves a mention in itself. Legend

  3. Tom Beech says:

    Impressive shirt, but you are wrong, Chilavert>Campos


  4. Baggio says:

    Bro, I have a vitally important question for you. Why do you think that Jorge Campos never play for top-flight European clubs such as Manchester United, Bayern, Ajax or Arsenal, or even playing in Europe, as talented and as good a goalkeeper he is?

    Your article about Campos is really great. I myself am a talented GK ( I’m from Malaysia btw ) who stood only at 170cm. However I left football when I was about 16 years old because I want to focus on my studies and succeed in the business world, what more with the pessimism about football as a career in Malaysia ( I know that the best I can achieve in football is at Asian level, perhaps playing for Asian clubs. There’s no possibility for me to play in Europe as long as my height is concerned. If Campos can’t make it to Europe, what’s the promise for me to achieve it? )

    Now I’m planning to return to football, at least on a part time basis ( I’m 27 years old this year ).

    Thanks once again for this great article about Campos.

    • simpkins83 says:

      Hello Ahmed (I like the screen name by the way, Baggio is a true legend)

      The best person to ask would be Jorge himself as I am sure that there is a personal, yet fundamental reason why he never got to play in the European scene. Maybe he thought that he would be more of a legend staying in the America’s? Maybe it made selection for Mexico team a lot easier?

      In the European scene, especially in England there is a huge reliance on physical attributes over technical ability which is one of the reason why the England national team fall short at every major tournament and why I believe the English game is becoming rather boring. It is a common misconception that a world class goalkeeper must be of a large stature with a dominant physical presence and this is where Jorge breaks down the stereotype and becomes a ‘cult’ legend. He defied the so called requirements and showed what true ability he had, regardless of his stature. In Europe he may never have had that chance? This is where other countries, like Brazil etc leave England behind as they nurture talent from an early age, regardless of someone’s physical ability as this becomes more prominant at a later stage in a persons development.

      There have been many players who did not prove themselves on the European stage but that does not detract from their overall qualities as world competition was must more varied and even until the mid to late 90’s where Europe became the dominant force in club football attracting talent from all across the globe. Which brings me back to your situation… Try to imagine what club football would be like on a world scale if footballers were encouraged to stay at their foundation clubs. The premiership would lag way behind many countries.

      I am sure that if you were given the opportunity to display your talents to a wider audience then you could have achieved your dream. There is a lot of competition out there as you probably know from your business experiences but unfotunately the ‘big’ boys always win… for now.

      Glad to hear you are back in the beautiful game and many thanks for subscribing.


  5. Baggio says:

    Hi, thanks for replying. Btw, I used to make homeworks about world-class short goalkeepers ( it’s obvious that I’m an avid fan of top-performing short goalkeepers, I used to plan on helping short youths who aspire to become top-performing goalkeepers ).

    This is one the best short goalkeeper of his era : František Plánička, who stands only at 172 cm. You may want to read an article about him here :

    In 1999, the IFFHS elected him as the best Czech goalkeeper – and ninth best overall – of the twentieth century. In 2003, he was catalogued as the greatest goalkeeper of his era. If I remember correctly, Jorge Campos stands at no 33 overall in the IFFHS award of the best goalkeeper of the twentieth century, which is won by Lev Yashin. ( obviously in IFHHS opinion this guy is better than Campos ).

    In replying to your statement, I have tried to contact Jorge Campos himself to conduct an online interview with him, to ask a few fundamental things that I’ve been yearning to ask all these years, but it’s of no avail. Maybe you can help me to contact him? 🙂 hahaha…All in-depth blog about him that I managed to find is in Spanish, and I’m not a Spanish-speaking guy.

    Thanks for the feedback btw 🙂

    • simpkins83 says:

      Not a problem, has been a pleasure to chat to you.

      Its funny you should mention František Plánička as he is a Slavia Prague legend. I have been over to the Czech Republic to watch them a few times and their fans are passionate to say the least. I loved the experience so much at Slavia that I am a bit of a fan believe it or not. They are very proud of their history and František is firmly etched into their ever expanding hall of fame.

      A selection of video’s here for you…

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