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Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:00 UK

My First World Cup: Miguel Pinto

Miguel Pinto
Pinto is known as "Kryptonite" to his team-mates

By Ben Sutherland

Chile goalkeeper Miguel Pinto has told the BBC that he hopes he will one day be better than one of the modern greats, Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, as he looks to make his name at South Africa 2010.

Pinto vies with national team captain Claudio Bravo for the goalkeeper's jersey, and will be looking for a chance to prove himself in Group H - against Honduras, Spain and Switzerland.

And the Universidad de Chile player is not short on confidence - as he indicated when asked who he would most like to meet.

"I could meet Buffon it would be great - if he accepted, I would swap gloves with him," Pinto told BBC Mundo.

"Obviously I would say that he is a great goalkeeper - but in a few years I'm going to be better."

Faith and optimism

Nicknamed Kryptonite, Pinto demonstrated the scale of his ambition when he refused to go to the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela after only being selected as third choice for Chile.

A further indication of his confidence is perhaps his following in the tradition of two of South America's most iconic keepers - Mexico's Jorge Campos and Paraguay's Jose Luis Chilavert - of designing his own goalkeeper jerseys.

BBC My First World Cup XI
11 players making their debut on the World Cup stage at South Africa 2010

"I've always focused on the goalkeepers," he said.

"I remember Taffarel in Brazil, and his free style of play. They were players who attracted my attention, the goalkeepers who played like that."

And Pinto recalled too how Chile had been transformed by the national team's performance at France '98, when three impressive draws, including one against Italy that they were unlucky not to win, took them into the last 16.

"Chile did a fantastic job - starting with the qualifiers," he said.

"France '98 grew the country into a football giant. The country was in total ecstasy.

"I was just - how old? - 12 or 13 years old, and it was a wonderful thing."

And Pinto added he now wanted to write his own name into his country's World Cup history.

"You do not have much time as a footballer, so for so many players the World Cup is an opportunity that you have to go into smart, with total maturity," he explained.

"I have complete faith and complete optimism. I want to make it a World Cup of great achievement for us. In our minds, we're going for something big."

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see also
Cereceda dropped from Chile squad
02 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Chile set to keep World Cup place
27 Nov 09 |  World Cup 2010
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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