Mexican football legend Antonio Carbajal, known as “La Tota,” has passed away at the age of 93.
Carbajal was the first footballer to play at five World Cups, an achievement that was later matched by four other players, including two of his compatriots.
Carbajal played for Mexico at the Brazil 1950, Switzerland 1954, Sweden 1958, Chile 1962, and England 1966 World Cup tournaments, winning a total of 48 caps for his country, 11 of which came at World Cups.
He also made 409 appearances at club level, with the majority of his 18-year playing career spent at Mexican side Club Leon, where he played 364 games during a 16-year stay.
Carbajal’s record of playing at five World Cups was unmatched for 32 years until it was equalled by Germany’s Lothar Matthaus in 1998. In total, five players have matched Carbajal’s historic achievement, including two of his compatriots.
Rafael Marquez became the second Mexico player to do so in 2018, while Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado played at his fifth World Cup in Qatar last year.
Carbajal was known as “El Cinco Copas” after his achievement of playing at five World Cups, and his legacy will be remembered by Mexican football fans.
Club Leon announced that it would open the doors to its stadium to allow fans to pay their respects to Carbajal in the company of his family.
The club said, “Don Antonio, legends never die. We will always follow your hand. It is an honour to be your team.” The club also urged supporters to say their last goodbye to the “emerald legend” with honour, respect, and love.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino expressed his condolences to Carbajal’s family and Mexican fans, saying, “It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Antonio Carbajal, the first player to star in five Fifa World Cups.”
Carbajal’s contribution to Mexican football will always be remembered, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of Mexican footballers.