Colombia has a rich history of producing some of the most talented and skilled football players in the world. In this article, we will take a closer look at the five best soccer players from Colombia, examining their careers, achievements, and impact on the game.
René Higuita is a former professional football goalkeeper from Colombia who is widely regarded as one of the most eccentric and innovative goalkeepers in the history of the sport. He was born on August 27, 1966, in Medellin, Colombia.
Higuita's professional career spanned from 1985 to 2010, during which he played for several teams in Colombia, Spain, Mexico, and England. He is best known for his time playing for the Colombian national team, where he made 68 appearances and became known for his unique playing style and his ability to score goals.
Higuita was known for his flamboyant and risky playing style, which involved him leaving his goal line to dribble the ball past opposition players and launch attacks from the back. This led to him being nicknamed "El Loco" (the Madman) by fans and teammates.
Higuita's most famous moment came in a friendly match against England at Wembley Stadium in 1995, when he executed a “Scorpion Kick Save” to deny a shot from Jamie Redknapp. The save was widely regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport and earned Higuita international recognition.
Throughout his career, Higuita played for several clubs, including Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medelln in Colombia, Real Valladolid in Spain, and Veracruz in Mexico. He won several titles with Atlético Nacional, including the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup in 1989.
Higuita stopped playing football professionally in 2010, and since then he has worked as a TV commentator and pundit. He is still well-known in Colombian football, and people remember him for his unusual style of play and memorable moments on the field.
Carlos Valderrama was born on September 2, 1961, in Santa Marta, Colombia, and was given the nickname "El Pibe" (The Kid) due to his youthful appearance and playful personality.
Valderrama's professional career spanned from 1981 to 2002, during which he played for several teams in different countries. He started his career with Unión Magdalena in Colombia, where he quickly established himself as a talented midfielder with superb ball control, vision, and passing ability.
In 1988, Valderrama moved to the French club Montpellier, where he spent three seasons before moving to Spain to play for Real Valladolid. He later played for teams in different countries, including Deportivo Cali and Atlético Junior in Colombia and Tampa Bay Mutiny and Colorado Rapids in the United States.
Valderrama played Major League Soccer toward the end of his career after spending the majority of his time playing club football in South America and Europe. He joined the league in its inaugural year. He was one of the most well-known players in the league when it first started, and in the second half of the 1990s, he contributed to its growth in popularity. He remains a legend and is regarded as one of the most decorated MLS players in history; in 2005, he was included in the league's All-Time Best XI.
Valderrama is best known for his time playing for the Colombian national team, where he made 111 appearances and scored 11 goals. He captained the team during the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups, helping Colombia reach the Round of 16 in the 1990 tournament.
Valderrama was also named the South American Footballer of the Year in 1987 and 1993. He is remembered for his distinctive appearance, with his curly blond hair and mustache, as well as his exceptional skills on the ball and his leadership qualities on and off the pitch.
James Rodríguez was born on July 12, 1991, in Cúcuta, Colombia, and he began his professional career with Envigado FC in Colombia before moving to Argentina to play for Banfield in 2008. He later played for several European clubs, including Porto, Monaco, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Everton.
Rodríguez is best known for his performances with the Colombian national team, where he has made over 80 appearances and scored more than 20 goals. He first gained international recognition during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he scored six goals to help Colombia reach the quarterfinals.
Throughout his career, Rodríguez has won several individual awards, including the FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year in 2014 and the Golden Boot for being the top scorer in the 2014 World Cup. He has also been named to the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season twice and was named the Best Midfielder of the Year in La Liga in 2014.
Rodríguez is known for his exceptional vision, passing ability, and technical skills on the ball. He is capable of playing in multiple positions in midfield and attack and is particularly effective in the number 10 role as a playmaker. Despite recent injury issues and inconsistency in form, Rodriguez remains one of the world's most talented players and a key player for both his club and country.
Andrés Escobar was a professional football player from Colombia. Nicknamed "The Gentleman," he was known for his clean style of play and calmness on the pitch. He was born on March 13, 1967, in Medellín, Colombia.
Escobar began his professional career with Atlético Nacional in Colombia, where he quickly established himself as a talented central defender. He helped the team win several domestic titles, as well as the Copa Libertadores in 1989, where he was named the tournament's best defender.
Escobar also played for the Colombian national team, where he made 51 appearances and scored one goal. He was a key player in Colombia's squad for the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where the team was considered one of the favorites to win the tournament.
However, Colombia's campaign ended in tragedy when they were eliminated from the tournament after losing 2-1 to the United States in the group stage. Following the defeat, Escobar was shot and killed outside a bar in Medellín in what is widely believed to have been a revenge killing related to his own goal in the match against the United States.
Escobar's death shocked the football world and led to widespread condemnation of the violence and drug-related crime that plagued Colombia at the time. People remember him as a talented and hardworking player, and his legacy has been honored in a number of ways, such as by naming stadiums and scholarships after him.
Even though Escobar died in a tragic way, his career and accomplishments on the field show how talented and skilled he was as a football player. Fans of Atlético Nacional and the Colombian national team still remember him fondly.
Radamel Falcao was born on February 10, 1986, in Santa Marta, Colombia. Nicknamed "El Tigre", because of his predatory instincts and aggressive playing style on the field, "El Tigre" means "the tiger" in Spanish, and the nickname was given to him early in his career when he was playing for River Plate in Argentina.
Falcao began his professional career with Lanceros Boyacá in Colombia before moving to River Plate in Argentina in 2008. He later played for several European clubs, including Porto, Atlético Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, and AS Monaco.
Throughout his career, Falcao has been a prolific goal scorer, known for his clinical finishing, heading ability, and movement in the penalty area. He has won several individual awards, including the UEFA Europa League Golden Boot in 2011 and 2012 and the Portuguese Primeira Liga Player of the Year in 2011.
Falcao is also known for his performances with the Colombian national team, where he has made over 100 appearances and scored more than 35 goals. He was a key player in Colombia's squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he scored in the team's group match against Poland.
Falcao is still a respected and admired player and is thought to be one of the best Colombian footballers of all time, even though he has had some injury problems and a drop in form in recent years.