Enkhuizer Jan Ruiter stopped a penalty from Pelé: “Kept a clean sheet”

On the day that the football world says goodbye to the Brazilian football god Pelé, Jan Ruiter dives into his own unique past. As goalkeeper of the Belgian Anderlecht, De Enkhuizer played twice against perhaps the best player ever and stopped penalties from Pelé and Eusebio in a gala match. “I don’t think anyone else can say that.”

Jan Ruiter (right): the zero against Pelé – NH News

The death of the Brazilian brings Ruiter’s thoughts back several times these days to the 1970s. A period in which the Enkhuizer flourishes in Brussels, under the bar at top club Anderlecht. These are also the years in which Santos, Pelé’s club, plays many matches against European clubs. Also against Anderlecht.

World squad

In 1972, the world star comes to Brussels. It will then be Ruiter’s first season at Anderlecht. “Everything was new to me. Playing against such a world team, we never did that at my previous club FC Volendam. I remember that the stadium was packed. Officially 33,000 people could enter, but there were 38,000. And then there were still thousands of people outside the stadium. They could easily have sold out the stadium again. It was a event to see such a world star play in real life, even though he was already in his twilight years.” The Brazilian does not score against Ruiter, it remains 0-0.

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Three years later, the Enkhuizer looks Pelé in the eye again. In a gala match, in honor of the Belgian Paul van Himst, Anderlecht will play against a world team, including Cruijff, Eusebio and… Pelé. Coach is Rinus Michels. “It had rained a lot and the field was dramatic. Normally it would have been cancelled, but the game had to go on.”

Not exactly the surface for quick Brazilian feet to excel. Where Anderlecht accelerates hard, the world stars slither through the Brussels slush. “I gave a small show there, I felt great that evening,” says Ruiter now. Halfway through it is already 4-1 for the Belgians.

Ruiter: “Paul van Himst said to me at halftime: ‘Hey Tall Hendrik, let a few pass through later. To keep it fun’. But I immediately said that I would not start that. I’m not wired like that.”

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Pelé in the Brussels blubber – Thevintagefootballclub

This is also the experience of the greatest players. Rider is barely passable. Both Pelé and the Portuguese Eusebio see their penalty kick saved by the goalkeeper. In the end, Anderlecht won 8-3. “And not that they were rollers, eh. With that penalty from Pelé I had to stretch to the corner. But he couldn’t get it in. I think I’m the only one in the world who has a penalty from Pelé and Eusebio in one game stopped.”

Kept zero

It is one of the absolute highlights of the career of the single international. However, there are hardly any images or photos of this unique achievement. “My son has already scoured the internet, but there is little to find. A single photo. Too bad. I did cut out a newspaper report at the time, for a scrapbook. But that’s about it. Ah, the memory is nice . I just kept a clean sheet against Pelé.”

Jan Ruiter: “A nice memory” – NH News

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