Paraguayan goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert is a free-kick specialist who dreams of becoming the first netminder to score a goal in a World Cup. He just might do it, too. He missed by inches in Paraguay's first game, a scoreless draw against Bulgaria, and last Friday he took one free kick (and made numerous dramatic saves in goal) in a 0-0 tie with Spain. SI caught up with Chilavert last week in St. Etienne after a practice in which he spent more time working on free kicks than facing shots in goal.
Q: Why would a goalkeeper try so hard to score goals?
A: It's very simple. I want to do as much as possible for my team to win, so I try to take advantage of all of my talents.
Q: You have said that you're the best goalkeeper in the world. You're not very modest, are you?
A: You could say that I'm not known for my humility.
Q: I hear you like U.S. football. Given the chance, would you rather play in MLS or the NFL?
A: The NFL. I would love to be a placekicker, if I could get a good offer.
Q: Tony Meola already tried that, with the New York Jets. It didn't work.
A: I am not Tony Meola.
Q: So who's your favorite athlete?