Ochoa at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
|Full name||Francisco Guillermo Ochoa Magaña|
|Date of birth||13 July 1985|
|Place of birth||Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2004||→ San Luis (loan)||1||(0)|
|2016–2017||→ Granada (loan)||38||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 October 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:15, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Francisco Guillermo Ochoa Magaña (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡiˈʝeɾmo oˈtʃo.a]; born 13 July 1985), commonly referred to as Memo, is a Mexican professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Liga MX club América and the Mexico national team.
Ochoa made his senior-level professional debut for Club América in 2004 in a Mexican league match against Monterrey. He won his first league title in 2005 and was the club's first-choice goalkeeper up until 2011, making over 200 appearances for América. That summer Ochoa was transferred to Ajaccio in France. He spent three seasons with the club until their relegation from Ligue 1. In 2014, Ochoa joined Málaga but failed to establish himself in the team. In July 2016, he joined Granada on a season-long loan. In July 2017, he joined Standard Liège.
A Mexican international since 2005, Ochoa received his first cap at age 20 in a friendly match against Hungary. He has been included in the squads for the 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 FIFA World Cups, the 2013 and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2007 Copa América, the Copa América Centenario, the 2007, 2009, 2015, and 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and was originally in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup before being suspended from the competition due to false doping allegations.
Guillermo Ochoa made his debut with América during the Clausura 2004 tournament against Monterrey, being only 18 years old when called up by head coach Leo Beenhakker. Ochoa quickly demonstrated his skill and talent in goal, and the young goalkeeper was thrust into the spotlight to replace injured veteran Adolfo Ríos. He would then share the starting job with Ríos after he recovered from his aforementioned injury.
When the Apertura 2004 tournament began, Ochoa was thought to be the heir apparent to Ríos, who had retired. However, new head coach Oscar Ruggeri brought new goalkeepers with him, among them Argentine Sebastián Saja. Ruggeri's stay at the club was marred by controversy and unpopular decisions. He was fired after only six games into the season and Ochoa was soon reinstated by new coach Mario Carrillo. Thereafter, he started every game for Club América save for incidents involving injuries or national team duty. Under Carrillo, Ochoa won his first championship with América following the Clausura 2005 season. He also won the 2005 Campeón de Campeones cup and the 2006 CONCACAF Champions' Cup with América.
Ochoa would start 2008 in impressive form, helping América win the InterLiga tournament with excellent performances, most notably in the group match against Monarcas Morelia, where he saved a late penalty kick, and América's 1–0 lead.
In the winter of 2010, there was much speculation by various sources in England as to where Ochoa would move to for the 2011–12 season. English newspaper Metro reported Manchester United were keen on signing Ochoa. It was also reported by The Daily Mail Ochoa was handed a trial with Fulham. This was later denied by Fulham manager Mark Hughes, and Club América later issued a statement saying the deal collapsed because of conditions set by Fulham.
On 4 July 2011, Ochoa signed a three-year contract, with an additional one-year option, with French club Ajaccio, recently promoted to Ligue 1. He played in his first two friendlies with Ajaccio against Bordeaux and Real Sociedad, losing 1–2 and 0–4 respectively.
Ochoa made his official club debut on 5 August 2011 against Toulouse, losing 0–2. On 18 and 21 December, Ajaccio won two games in a row, with Ochoa keeping two consecutive clean-sheets, his third clean-sheet in total of the season. Ochoa also contributed in 3–0 victory against Étoile Fréjus Saint-Raphaël in the Coupe de France. On 14 January 2012, he helped Ajaccio with a 2–1 victory over Auxerre, and on 21 January, he played against Valenciennes in a 2–1 victory which put Ajaccio out of the relegation zone since the start of the season. Ajaccio won its sixth game with Ochoa in a 2–1 home win against Dijon. For the last game of the season, Ajaccio needed a win against Toulouse to escape the relegation zone. Ochoa started and played 90 minutes against Toulouse and helped Ajaccio win 2–0 to stay in Ligue 1. Ochoa finished his first season with 8 cleansheets, 43 saves and 151 blocks. Unfortunately he also finished the Ligue 1 season with 59 goals conceded, making him—along with Caen goalkeeper Alexis Thébaux—the most scored-on keeper of the season.
On 1 July, Ajaccio club president Alain Orsoni announced Ochoa would stay for the 2012–13 season amidst rumoured interest from clubs such as Fenerbahçe and Sevilla, but neither the clubs nor Ochoa's manager could come to a solid agreement.
On 11 August, Ochoa started and played against Nice in a 1–0 away win for their first game and win for the season. On 19 August, Ochoa played in Ajaccio's 0–0 draw at home against Paris Saint-Germain, in which he played a big part by keeping a clean sheet. In the third match of the season, Ochoa played 60 minutes against Valenciennes in which he had to be substituted out due to a collision with a teammate. Ajaccio lost the match 0–3. Ochoa finished the season with 12 clean sheets.
Ochoa started in Ajaccio's first game of the season on 11 August 2013 against Saint-Étienne. Ajaccio lost 0–1. On 18 August, Ochoa played all 90 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes, with Ajaccio taking an early 1–0 advantage, though an Edinson Cavani goal in the 86th minute cost Ajaccio a famous victory, instead having to settle for a 1–1 draw. Ochoa's performance was praised, with many noting the Mexican had saved 12 of PSG's 39 total shots.
On 18 January 2014, Ochoa played his 100th match in Europe in Ajaccio's 0–2 away loss to Nice. Following a 1–2 defeat to Bastia on 20 April, Ajaccio were officially relegated to Ligue 2 after spending three years in the top flight. Ochoa played his final match with the club on 17 May in a 1–3 defeat to Saint-Étienne. After officially announcing his departure, the club bid farewell to Ochoa in an open letter on social media.
Ochoa signed a three-year contract with Spanish La Liga club Málaga on 1 August 2014. Despite having participation with the club during the pre-season, Ochoa had not made any league appearances, with Carlos Kameni being manager Javi Gracia's first-choice goalkeeper. On 3 December, Ochoa played his first competitive game for Málaga, in a 1–1 Copa del Rey draw against Deportivo de La Coruña. In the following league match against the same team, three days later, he was again back on the substitutes' bench.
By early November, media speculation linked Ochoa with a possible January transfer to Liverpool in a £4 million deal. While rumours continued to flourish, and Mexico manager Miguel Herrera expressed displeasure with his first-choice goalkeeper receiving limited playing time, no move had materialized by the end of the January transfer window, with Málaga expressing they were pleased to retain Ochoa, adding the player had been "a professional".
Ochoa was ranked seventh in the International Federation of Football History & Statistics' list of the world's best goalkeepers for 2014.
On 5 March 2016, Ochoa made his debut in La Liga in Málaga's 3–3 draw with Deportivo La Coruña, replacing Carlos Kameni due to injury in the 36th minute. It was Ochoa's first league appearance in over a year.
On 22 July 2016, Granada announced they had acquired Ochoa on a season-long loan. He made his league debut on 20 August in a 1–1 draw against Villarreal. It was reported in April 2017 that Ochoa was set to be a free agent at the end of the 2016–17 season due to the expiry of his contract with Málaga.
On 13 May, Ochoa broke the record for the most goals conceded in a single La Liga season when he conceded his 79th and 80th goals in a loss to Osasuna. The record, set by Salamanca goalkeeper Ignacio Aizpurúa in 1995–96, had previously stood at 78 goals for a single campaign. However, Ochoa was also the goalkeeper with the most saves across the top five leagues in Europe with 162. He ultimately conceded 82 goals as Granada were relegated to the Segunda División, having only won four matches in the season.
On 9 July 2017, it was announced Belgian club Standard Liège had signed Ochoa from Malága on a two-year contract. He became the club's first choice for the goalkeeper position and in his first season played 38 out of 40 league games including playoffs.
The following season, Ochoa played in every league match with Standard, including eight matches in the Europa League, and he was named the club's Player of the Season. In May 2019, Ochoa suggested that he would leave Standard Liège.
On 5 August 2019, Club América announced the signing of Ochoa from Standard Liège. Though details of the transfer were undisclosed, it was reported that Ochoa will be the highest-paid Mexican player in the Liga MX, earning US$4.4 million annually.
On 14 December 2005, at age 20, Ochoa made his debut for the Mexico national team in a friendly match against Hungary, which Mexico won 2–0. Ochoa was called-up by coach Ricardo La Volpe for the 2006 FIFA World Cup as the third-choice goalkeeper.
After the World Cup, newly appointed manager Hugo Sánchez called Ochoa into the national side as a deputy to Mexico's then-number one, Oswaldo Sánchez. Ochoa was a part of the squad which finished runner-up at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He also played for Mexico at the Copa América that same summer, being praised for his performance in the 2–0 victory over Brazil.
Ochoa won the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup with Mexico. He started in every match, including the final against the United States. He made his 2010 World Cup qualification debut on 28 March 2009 against Costa Rica. Ochoa made the final 23-man cut for the 2010 World Cup, but was controversially named back-up goalkeeper to veteran Óscar Pérez by coach Javier Aguirre.
During the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Ochoa—along with four other members of the Mexico national team—tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol and were withdrawn from the team's tournament squad. All players were later acquitted by the Mexican Football Federation and the results were blamed on contamination of meat, with the ingestion of clenbuterol considered non-intentional. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to request a ban. On 12 October 2011, WADA withdrew the request after the full file was available for them.
On 9 May 2014, Ochoa was named in Mexico's 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup. He started in Mexico's opening match against Cameroon on 13 June, which ended in a 1–0 victory. The match was Ochoa's debut in a World Cup, having been called-up for the previous two tournaments but failing to appear in a match.
On 17 June, in the second group stage match against hosts Brazil, Ochoa made four notable saves, including one following a powerful header from Neymar that helped secure a 0–0 draw, immediately drawing comparisons to Gordon Banks' famed 1970 World Cup save against Pelé. Ochoa was named man of the match, earning praise from many, including Brazilian head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Ochoa himself commented on his performance, saying, "It was the match of my life. To do it in a World Cup, in front of all the fans, it's incredible."
Ochoa conceded one goal in the group stage, in the 3–1 victory against Croatia that qualified Mexico for the round-of-16. Ochoa started in Mexico's knock-out match against the Netherlands, in which he made several crucial saves to hold on to Mexico's 1–0 advantage. However, the Dutch ultimately won 2–1 through a penalty scored in the 91st minute. Ochoa's performance was praised, and he was named man of the match for a second time.
In May 2018, Ochoa was named in the squad for the 2018 World Cup. In Mexico's opener against Germany, Ochoa made a total of nine saves, notably pushing a goal-bound Toni Kroos free-kick onto the crossbar, and ultimately securing a cleansheet in the 1–0 victory. He went on to play in all four of Mexico's games, making a total of 25 saves, more than any other goalkeeper in the tournament with the exception of Belgium's Thibaut Courtois, who managed 27 saves in seven games.
Ochoa was included in Tata Martino's preliminary roster for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and was subsequently included in the final list. In the quarterfinal match against Costa Rica, Ochoa proved to be decisive as he contributed to various saves to send the game tied 1–1 game to a penalty shoot-out, where he also made the critical stop in the shooutout to send Mexico to the semifinal. His contributions won him the Man of the Match award. As Mexico defeated the United States in the final, he was included in the tournament's Best XI along with winning the Golden Glove Award.
Karla Villegas Gamas of Bleacher Report has described him "proven to be a save keeper, with confidence and leadership. Despite [then] being 28 years old, Ochoa knows how to organize the defense and push his teammates toward perfection; it's no wonder why he wore El Tri's captain armband last March . His experience is vast, and that is why he knows how to handle pressure. Paco Memo has played in some of the most important tournaments in world football, such as the Confederations Cup, Gold Cup and Copa America. Ochoa’s aerial game is enviable. He can catch a cross or a shot, but he can also deflect them with high dives with the top hand and punches. But those are not his only assets. His reflexes are so sharp that he can perform a collapse dive with one hand with ease, even if he has just rejected a shot. When the rivals made it past the defense, Ochoa knows how to work inside the box to cover his goal as much as possible by narrowing the angle."
After his move to France, Ochoa began dating Mexican model Karla Mora. On 8 February 2013, the couple gave birth to a girl, Lucciana, in Corsica. The couple welcomed their second child, a son, on 1 April 2015, one day after Ochoa's national team teammate Andrés Guardado's son was born. They were married in Ibiza, Spain on 8 July 2017. The couple's second daughter was born in May 2019.
Ochoa plays internationally with shirt number 13. The number is reference to his birthday which is on 13 July.
|Granada (loan)||2016–17||La Liga||38||0||1||0||—||39||0|
|Standard Liège||2017–18||Belgian First Division A||38||0||0||0||—||38||0|
|Mexico national team|
Thirteen is anything but unlucky for Guillermo Ochoa. Born on the 13th of July and the wearer of the No13 jersey, the Mexico goalkeeper now has another reason to regard the number with affection. Today, on Friday 13 June, he finally made his FIFA World Cup debut.
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