Bryan Ruiz is a key player in Costa Rica’s Cinderella story at this year’s World Cup as the captain and leading goalscorer in the games leading up to the quarterfinals. Watch the video above to see some of his best goals.
Here’s what you need to know about the talented striker:
1. He is the Captain of the Costa Rica National Team
Ruiz played his first game for Costa Rica 9 years ago at the 2005 CONCAAF Gold Cup against China.
This is his second World Cup on Costa Rica’s 23 man roster. In 2010 in South Africa, he scored 6 goals during qualifying games and 3 goals in the 2014 World Cup.
Ruiz is known for his kind heart and leadership skills which led to him captaining the Costa Rica national team this year.
He told media:
Maybe in a few months this will all sink in, but for right now we’re just trying to enjoy what we’re living.”
2. He Got Costa Rica Through the Round of 16
Ruiz shocked the world when he scored the only goal of the game during the first half against Italy to knock them out of the tournament.
The victory marked the first time in history that a country in Central America has won their first two games in the tournament to advance to the Round of 16.
Ruiz carried his team through the Round of 16 with a goal against Greece that tied the game at 1-1 until it came to a shoot out. In the shoot out, Costa Rica won 5-3 with one of the goals contributed by Ruiz. The video above was Ruiz’s famous goal against Greece.
Ruiz’s goal against Greece was considered “one of the most-accurately placed goals of the 2014 World Cup.”
3. He Was the Highest Paid Athlete in His Country in 2011
Bryan Luiz was the highest paid athlete in Costa Rica as of 2011 according to a list compiled by ESPN. He signed a contract with Fulham F.C. that year and is paid $1.72 million as his annual salary after a $13.5 million transfer fee.
4. He’s On a Loan to PSV Eindhoven
Ruiz joined PSV for the 2013-2014 season.
He said in an interview with PSV TV:
I will give my all for PSV. I vividly remember the exciting games I played with FC Twente against PSV. They could go ether way. I cherish the memories with FC Twente, but I’m a professional football player and will now give my best for PSV.”
When the opportunity arose, I was interested in a loan switch from Fulham to PSV and I am really looking forward to joining my new team mates in full training. It’s true that I didn’t have much playing at Fulham lately. This is a great opportunity for me to get my confidence back, help PSV finish as high as possible and prepare for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I am fully motivated to play for PSV and will help the side improve on their current standings in the Eredivisie.”
Ruiz said that the loan deal was an opportunity, not a ‘solution.’
5. He Got Married a Month Before the World Cup
Feliz añoooo! Mucho amor, salud y paz en este 2014. Manejen con cuidado! pic.twitter.com/RekNz0UyJm
— Carolina Jaikel (@caro_jaikel) January 1, 2014
Ruiz wed his wife Carolina Jaikel on May 24, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Costa Rica a year after their engagement.
Jaikel is a lawyer from San Jose, Costa Rica.
(Translation for below: I am very proud!)
Es mucho el orgullo! pic.twitter.com/dRHwjDHMKc
— Carolina Jaikel (@caro_jaikel) June 21, 2014