Oswaldo Javier Sánchez Ibarra (Spanish   ; born September 21, 1973) is a former Mexican footballer, who played as a goalkeeper. Sánchez is highly regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in Mexican football history. He has 100 caps for Mexico. He was on the cover of the North American edition of FIFA Football 2005.[3]

Club career

Early career

Oswaldo Sánchez debuted as a substitute when the starting keeper was injured with Club Atlas at the age of 20 on October 30, 1993 against CD Veracruz where the teams tied the game at 1–1. Two years after his debut, he was a starter on the team and led Atlas to the Quarterfinals where they were eliminated by CD Veracruz. In the summer of 1996, Sánchez was transferred to Club América. The following season, Sánchez was benched and replaced as goalkeeper by Hugo Pineda. Sánchez played three out of 19 games, including the quarterfinals where América was eliminated by Monarcas Morelia. The following season, Sánchez went back into the starting line-up and led América. In the summer of 1999, Sánchez left América for rival Chivas de Guadalajara.

C. D. Guadalajara

At Guadalajara, Sánchez became the team's captain. Sánchez became a key player to Chivas along with other players. This was during the time when Guadalajara were at their best. Sánchez's extraordinary goalkeeping skills and leadership helped Guadalajara reach the finals of the Clausura 2004 season, but Chivas ultimately lost to UNAM via penalty-shootout. Eventually, Sánchez captured his long-awaited league title with Guadalajara during the Apertura 2006 season. Sánchez scored a goal in the 2000 Copa Merconorte match against Club Deportivo El Nacional of Ecuador.[4]

Santos Laguna

In 2007, he signed a contract onto Santos Laguna and he has played against his ex-team and ex-team members Chivas de Guadalajara in a 3-2 loss. In the first season with Santos, he led them to the Quarterfinals of the Clausura 2007 tournament. He also led his team to 2nd place in the both Apertura and Clausura 2010. Sanchez led the team to win the Clausura 2008 championship and Clausura 2012.

After 21 years, Sánchez retired after the Apertura 2014 season winning the Copa MX in his final season.

In 2016, Santos Laguna erected a statue of Oswaldo Sánchez.

International career

Mexico

Sánchez played for the Mexican Youth National team in 1993's international FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia Coached by Juan de Dios Castillo. Sánchez has also constantly been called up to play for the Mexico national team since his debut in 1996, against Bolivia. He has been part of three FIFA World Cups, in France 1998, 2002 and 2006. Argentine Coach Ricardo La Volpe called up Sánchez once again on April 2, 2006, to be the starting goalkeeper for Mexico in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. During preparation for the 2006 World Cup, Sánchez' father died of a heart attack on June 7, age 56. Sánchez flew home to Guadalajara, but he returned to Germany in time for the team's first game against Iran, which they won by a score of 3-1.[5]

In 2007, he was called up once again by new coach Hugo Sanchez to play for Selección de fútbol de México (Mexico national team) in the Gold Cup and 2007 Copa América. Sánchez was selected to represent Mexico in friendlies against Ghana national team and China national team, his first callup since the 2007 Copa América.

Sanchez was not called up to the World Cup 2010 and did not play a single match for the Mexico national team in 2010. He played his 99th and last international match for Mexico on October 11, 2011 in a 2–1 loss to Brazil. He was substituted by Alfredo Talavera in the 88th minute, marking his official national football retirement.

Honours

Guadalajara
Santos Laguna

International

Individual

  • Footballer with most appearances in Primera División de México, (701).
  • Footballer with most penalty shots saved in Primera División de México, (25).
  • Primera División de México Best Goalkeeper, (7): 1995/96, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2005
  • Primera División de México Best Player, (2): 2003/2004, 2005
  • CONCACAF Gold Cup 2003: Best Goalkeeper
  • FIFA Confederations Cup 2005: Best Goalkeeper
  • CONCACAF Champions League 2012-2013: Best Goalkeeper