God never left me alone

The FIFA World Cup 2022 will begin in Qatar on 20 November. There will be 32 teams competing across 64 matches. Brazil will be hoping to win the cup again. They are the only team to have competed in all 21 World Cup tournaments and have won it 5 times. In recent years some Brazilian players have made it known that they are Christians. When Brazil won the World Cup in 2002 three players, including Kaká and Lucio, knelt face down on the field to give thanks to God. Later the entire team knelt in prayer to give God the glory and on the winners’ podium several players sported shirts with slogans such as, “I belong to Jesus” and “Jesus loves you.”

Cláudio Taffarel is considered one of the greatest ever goalkeepers for Brazil. He played more than 100 times for the international team. Presently he is the goalkeeping coach for the Brazil national team and for Liverpool. He is married with 17 children, 15 of them adopted. He has been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 1988. He realises the pressures on footballers, especially the younger ones and seeks to come alongside them to help them.

Claudio experienced difficult times in his career. In 1993 he played in Italy for Serie A team Reggiana and was first-choice goalkeeper throughout a season when the team narrowly avoided relegation. In 1994 he was dropped from the first team and had no professional club in the run up to and following that year’s World Cup. Instead, he played at an amateur level for his local church team. However, he played for Brazil that year in World Cup in the United States. He saved two penalties in the final shootout against Italy enabling Brazil to win their fourth World Cup.

Cláudio says, “Since I invited Jesus Christ to live in my heart, I started to count on the strength, the love, and the power of God in the most important moments of my life. Not everything is a sea of roses in the life of a follower of Christ, and mine is no different. But in the tough time, in the time of betrayal between coaches and directors, in the time of missing the ball and the mockery of the fans, in the time when I lost my father or I saw my wife hanging between life and death, and in the time of catching the decisive penalty against Italy, I noticed the importance of not being alone. God never left me alone.”

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