Time to pay your debts: Goalkeeper’s Day is here

On June 12 Argentines honor football’s least glamorous position, remembering River Plate and Argentina legend Amadeo Carrizo

An old Argentine adage says that when a debt is likely to go unpaid, the creditor will get their due “on goalkeeper’s day.” Since 2011, however, Argentines have had a calendar date to collect: June 12 is the day Argentines honor the last line of defense on a football pitch. But who does it honor — and is there any way of escaping your debts?

In Argentina, Goalkeeper’s Day is celebrated on June 12 for a simple reason: it’s Amadeo Carrizo’s birthday. Born in 1926 in Rufino, Santa Fe province, Carrizo debuted at River Plate in 1945 and remained at the club until 1968, leaving a Millonario and Argentina national team legend.

Across his 24 seasons, he played a total of 552 games, becoming the player with the most games for the club. Part of River’s legendary La Máquina (literally, the machine) team, he won seven titles between 1945 and 1957, as well as the 1945 Aldao Cup, a predecessor to the Copa Libertadores.

Amadeo Carrizo
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Carrizo — who retired as a player aged 44 with Colombian side Millonarios — was also credited with a revolutionary style, often stepping outside his own box as modern goalkeepers do, to help the side keep the ball and intercept opposition attacks. In 1999 he was chosen by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics as the South American Goalkeeper of the Century.

The law making his birthday Goalkeeper’s Day in Argentina was introduced in 2011 by Rio Negro senator Jorge Banicevich. “This project aims to be a deserving tribute to Don Amadeo that he can enjoy, not just for his sporting achievements but also his qualities as a man and citizen,” said the bill. Carrizo died in March 2020, aged 93.

But why did people claim Goalkeeper’s Day would never come? Despite the prestige of Carrizo and others like World Cup winners Ubaldo Filliol and Nery Pumpido, goalkeepers haven’t been the biggest stars in Argentine football. Even the late Diego Maradona once said that “all goalkeepers are fools.” 

In a country with a plethora of talented playmakers, deadly strikers and feisty defenders, goalies were often a bit of an afterthought, but you can’t run away from your debts anymore.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald