Antonio Carbajal has been described as the "hands which lead us" ©Getty Images

Legendary Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal, the first man to play in five FIFA World Cup final tournaments, has died at the age of 93.

"It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Antonio Carbajal, the first player to star in five FIFA World Cups," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

"I send our most sincere condolences to his family and to all the Mexican fans who mourn his loss."

Antonio Carbajal's World Cup career began in 1950 and ended in 1966 ©Getty Images
Antonio Carbajal's World Cup career began in 1950 and ended in 1966 ©Getty Images

The Mexican domestic side Club Leon, where he made 364 appearances over 16 years as a player, are to open their stadium tomorrow to allow mourners to pay their respects.

"Don Antonio, the legend will never die," a message said. 

Carbajal had been part of Mexico’s squad at the 1948 London Olympics but did not play in their only match, a 5-3 defeat against South Korea at Dulwich Hamlet.

It was for his longevity at the FIFA World Cup that he became an internationally renowned figure.

Known as "La Tota", Carbajal was also known as "El Cinco Copas" (five cups) in recognition of his appearance in five final tournaments from 1950 to 1966, an unprecedented achievement.

Carbajal made his full international debut in Mexico’s first match of the 1950 World Cup, a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil in the Maracana in Rio.

At the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, he played in a 3-2 defeat at the hands of France.

By the 1958 tournament in Sweden, he was captain of the side and led them in a 1-1 draw against Wales.

It was the first time Mexico had gained a point at the World Cup finals.

At the 1962 tournament in Chile, he played in Mexico’s first win, a 3-1 victory over eventual finalists Czechoslovakia in a group match at Vina del Mar.

Earlier, he had been beaten by a memorable effort from Pelé in a 2-0 win for Brazil at the same stadium.

Carbajal’s international swansong came at the 1966 World Cup in England where he played in the 0-0 draw against Uruguay and kissed both goalposts at the end of the match.

He was then 37 years old.

Carbajal later became a coach, most notably in a decade with Atlético de Morelia in central Mexico.

Germany’s Lothar Matthaus equalled Carbajal’s feat of appearances at five World Cup finals in 1998.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both achieved the milestone in 2022.

Two other Mexicans, Rafael Marquez and Andres Guardado have also done so.