Taffarel with Brazil in 2018
|Full name||Cláudio André Mergen Taffarel|
|Date of birth||8 May 1966|
|Place of birth||Santa Rosa, Brazil|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1993–1994||→ Reggiana (loan)||31||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Cláudio André Mergen Taffarel (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈklawdʒu tafaˈɾɛw]; born 8 May 1966) is a Brazilian retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper, and is the goalkeeping coach of the Brazil national team and Galatasaray. During an 18-year career he played professionally for five clubs, including Parma, Atlético Mineiro and Galatasaray.
The recipient of more than 100 caps for Brazil, Taffarel helped the national team win the 1994 World Cup, also appearing in other eight major international tournaments over the course of one full decade, most notably helping Brazil to second place in the 1998 World Cup.
Born in Santa Rosa, Rio Grande do Sul, Taffarel began his career playing for Sport Club Internacional but only appeared in 14 Série A games during his five-year spell, being however awarded the Golden Ball award for the 1988 season. In 1990, he moved abroad and joined Parma A.C. in Italy, freshly promoted to Serie A for the first time in its history; he proceeded to appear in all 34 league games in the following campaign, as the Emilia-Romagna side finished in sixth position and qualified to the UEFA Cup.
In 1993, Taffarel, now only a backup at Parma, signed for fellow Serie A team A.C. Reggiana 1919, where he was first-choice in a narrow escape from relegation. Afterwards, he returned to his home country and played three years with Clube Atlético Mineiro.
Aged 32, Taffarel returned to Europe and joined Galatasaray S.K., winning six major trophies during his three-year stint, most notably two Süper Lig titles and the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup, a 4–1 penalty shootout defeat of Arsenal where he was chosen Man of the match (0–0 after 120 minutes); He closed out his career at the age of 37 with former club Parma, after one-and-a-half seasons as second-choice and after having refused an offer from Empoli FC: his car broke while he was going to sign the contract, which he later described as a "sign of God".
Taffarel made his debut for Brazil on 7 July 1988 in the Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup, playing all four games and conceding two goals as his team won the tournament. He was also in goal for the following year's Copa América, which Brazil also won (during his ten-year career, he appeared in five editions of the latter tournament).
Taffarel was the starter for the nation during the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States, only allowing one goal in the first round and two in the knock-out phases, excluding two penalty kicks in the final. Four years later, in France, he helped the national team finish second, notably saving two penalties in the 4–2 shootout win over the Netherlands in the semi-finals.
Taffarel played 101 times with the Seleção. Upon his retirement in 2003, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira offered to arrange a farewell match but the player refused, stating that he was not interested in such fanfare; he did return to play alongside Romário in late 2004 against Mexico, to commemorate the 1994 World Cup victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian goalkeepers of all time, Taffarel was known to be a rational, consistent and effective keeper, with good fundamental goalkeeping technique, who favoured an efficient rather than spectacular playing style. His main attributes were his reflexes, positional sense, and composure in goal, as well as his penalty-stopping abilities; furthermore, he was known to be quick when coming off his line, and was also highly regarded for his skill with the ball at his feet. Due to his lack of height, however, he struggled at times when handling crosses.
During the 1998 World Cup, when the Brazilian national team was training at Trois-Sapins stadium in Ozoir-la-Ferrière, a suburb southeast of Paris, the town's mayor proposed renaming the stadium after him.
Nowadays he works as a goalkeeper coach for both Galatasaray and Brazilian national team.
Taffarel is a born-again Christian who has actively shared his faith in numerous venues. He was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 1988, and had 17 children, 15 of them adopted.
|Atlético Mineiro||1995||Serie A||22||0||—||—||22||0|
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