Jorge Campos, the Mexican icon who became famous around the world without even playing in Europe

Jorge Campos at a FIFA event in Los Angeles, California last May.  (Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Jorge Campos at a FIFA event in Los Angeles, California last May. (Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Jorge Campos became a football celebrity in a time without social networks. And the whole world learned about his talent, without even having to play in European football, which, like yesterday, was still the best showcase for players who wanted to be in the global spotlight. His myth was forged entirely in Mexico, beyond a brief stint in MLS. But that was enough for him to become a historic goalkeeper, who even today, draws praise from every corner wherever he stands.

And the latest evidence is the invitation that was extended to him for the exhibition’Fashion and sports: from one catwalk to another‘In the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, France. The collection showcases one of Mexico’s classic phosphorescent uniforms, including outfits worn by celebrities such as Serena Williams, Zinedine Zidane and Naomi Osaka. Campos traveled to be part of the experience and provided another example of how his legacy has extended around the world.

Previously, when foreign league matches were not followed in real time, there were players who could only be enjoyed every four years. Undoubtedly, Campos delighted all the fans in Mexico, both fans of the teams where he played, and rivals. But in the world they were able to enjoy it only in the World Cup held every four years. Their multicolored uniforms, which once divided opinion (they continue to do so today, although no one can deny that they are iconic), He had natural charisma and an unusual ability, for the time, to play outside his zone.

The equation was perfect when talking about him. He had all the qualities to be an exciting goalkeeper. In Mexico, you could also see his skilled role as a forward, which was a different spectacle: he started the game as a goalkeeper, asked for a change, and took off his sweater and gloves to become a field player. Given. And not just any field player: true to his style, he loved to perform bicycle kicks and bomb shots past goalkeepers, who certainly knew him well.

That duel was destroyed by FIFA, which implemented a rule prohibiting goalkeepers from changing positions during matches. But Campos continued to forge a unique path. At each international match, the attention of the whole world was focused on the goalkeeper who was small (1.68), but with incredible agility, able to reach fierce balls and, of course, always with the flame of his colorful uniform. WhyOr something like Nike chose him to take part in the famous ‘Match in Hell’ advertisement alongside heroes like Ronaldo, Cantona, Maldini and Figo.

His quality was shown at the World Cup, the highest test of demand, so he could have had at least an opportunity in European football, but everything was more complicated due to the limit (only three) of foreign players at the time. Anyway, Campos had a proposal, as he revealed to his partner Luis García’s YouTube channel in 2019. “Let me give you a heads up: They offered me $5 million at that time. I’m not going to tell the team, I’m not going to tell the name. It is there, with great respect, but it came to me in fax, the goalkeeper recalled.

19 years have passed since his retirement as a professional football player (2004), but this does not prevent his memories from remaining fresh not only among Mexican fans: but also throughout the world they regard him as a living legend. I recognize. It is common to see him interacting with world-class celebrities, such as Ronaldo or Lothar Matthäus, and they often invite him to FIFA events. More than a national figure, Campos has become a kind of ambassador of Mexico to the world. He achieved his fame naturally, timeless and against all odds. Today he enjoys it like no one else.

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