Andrés Escobar

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Andrés Escobar
Andrés Escobar.jpg
Escobar playing for Colombia in 1994 FIFA World Cup vs. United States
Personal information
Full name Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga
Date of birth (1967-03-13)13 March 1967
Place of birth Medellín, Colombia
Date of death 2 July 1994(1994-07-02) (aged 27)
Place of death Medellín, Colombia
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
1985–1986 Atlético Nacional
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1989 Atlético Nacional 78 (0)
1989–1990 Young Boys
1990–1994 Atlético Nacional 144 (0)
Total 222 (0)
National team
1988–1994 Colombia 51 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga (13 March 1967 – 2 July 1994), commonly known as Andrés Escobar, was a Colombian footballer who played as a defender. He played for Atlético Nacional, BSC Young Boys, and the Colombia national team.[1]

Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín, and the common belief is that his death was due to his own goal in the 1994 FIFA World Cup against the United States two weeks earlier, which supposedly had caused gambling losses to several powerful drug lords of the time.[2][3] However, many, including personal friends, teammates, and former coach Francisco Maturana, believe that his death had more to do with the general climate of lawlessness within Colombia at the time, and that the own goal played only an incidental role.[4]

Escobar is still held in the highest regard by Colombian fans, and is especially mourned and remembered by Atlético Nacional's fans. Escobar is known for his famous line "Life doesn't end here".[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

Escobar was born in Medellín on 13 March 1967. He grew up in a middle-class family.[7] He attended Colegio Calasanz and graduated from Instituto Conrado González. He participated in school football teams before becoming a professional football player.[8] Prior to his death, Escobar was engaged to his girlfriend of five years, Pamela Cascardo, a dentist. Escobar was killed one month before their wedding was to take place.[9]

His father is Darío Escobar, a banker who founded an organisation that gives young people the opportunity to play football instead of being on the streets. After the Andrés's death, his family founded the Andrés Escobar Project to help disadvantaged kids learn to play football.[10] His brother, Santiago, is a former footballer who played alongside Andrés at Atlético Nacional before moving into team management in 1998.

Club career[edit]

Escobar was a defender throughout his career. Escobar became a professional football player in 1987 at the age of 20. He was notable by scoring goals with his head. His jersey number was 2, and was known by the nicknames "El Caballero del Fútbol" ("The Gentleman of Football") and "The Immortal Number 2". In his club career, he played for Colombian club Atlético Nacional and Swiss club Young Boys.[11] He helped Nacional to win the 1989 Copa Libertadores.[2]

Prior to the 1994 World Cup, Andres was set to join a club in Milan, although it is not clear which club in particular (A.C. Milan/Inter Milan) offered him the contract.[12]

International career[edit]

He made his debut for the Colombia national team on 30 March 1988, in the 3–0 win against Canada. The first appearance of Escobar in an international competition took place at the 1988 Rous Cup, where he also scored the only goal of his international career in a 1–1 draw against England.

He played 4 matches at the 1989 Copa América, when 22 years old. The team was eliminated in the first round of the tournament. The same year he also played at the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification. The team was the winner of the Group 2, but had to play the Intercontinental Play-off due to obtain the worst record among the group winners. Colombia won 1–0 on aggregate and qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Escobar played all the matches during the World Cup. The team reached the Round of 16 where it was eliminated with a 2–1 defeat against Cameroon.

Escobar was called for the 1991 Copa América squad, where he made 7 appearances. He didn't participate in any games of the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification, however he was called for the World Cup.

Own goal incident[edit]

Escobar's infamous own goal occurred in a match against the United States on 22 June, in the second match of Colombia at the 1994 World Cup. Stretching to cut out a pass from American midfielder John Harkes, he deflected the ball into his own net. USA won the game 2–1. Soon after his return to Medellín, Escobar was killed by Humberto Castro Muñoz, a bodyguard of members of a Colombian cartel.[13]

Career statistics[edit]


This table is incomplete, thus some stats and totals could be incorrect.

Club performance League Cup Continental Other Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Colombia League Cup South America Other[n 1] Total
1986 Atlético Nacional Campeonato Profesional 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1987 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 21 0
1988 42 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 42 0
1989[n 2] 12 0 0 0 1+ 1 1 0 14 1
1990 Atlético Nacional Categoría Primera A 26 0 0 0 - 0 0 0 26 0
1991 37 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 46 0
1992 49 0 0 0 3+ 2 0 0 52 2
1993 21 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 23 0
1994 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 0
Total Colombia 222 0 0 0 15 3 1 0 238 3
Career total 222 0 0 0 15 3 1 0 238 3


International appearances[edit]

Team Year Apps Goals
Colombia 1988 6 1
1989 16 0
1990 5 0
1991 8 0
1992 2 0
1993 1 0
1994 13 0
Total 51 1

International goals[edit]

International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 1988-05-24 Wembley Stadium, Wembley, England  England 1–1 1–1 1988 Rous Cup


After the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Escobar decided to return to Colombia instead of visiting relatives in Las Vegas, Nevada.[2] On the evening of 2 July 1994, six days after the elimination of Colombia from the World Cup, Escobar called his friends, and they went to a bar in the El Poblado neighbourhood. Then they went to a liquor store. Shortly afterwards, they arrived at the "El Indio" nightclub. His friends split up. At approximately 3 a.m., Escobar was alone in the parking lot of "El Indio" bar, in his car, when three men appeared. They began arguing with him. Two of the men took out handguns.[3] Escobar was shot 6 times. It was reported that the killer shouted ¡Gol!" (imitating South American football commentators).[14] The killer shot Escobar with a .38 caliber pistol.[8] The group then took off in a Toyota pickup truck. Escobar was escorted to the hospital and was pronounced dead 45 minutes later.[3][15]

The murder was widely believed to be a "punishment" for the infamous own goal.[16] It is not clear whether the murderer was connected to one of the gambling syndicates who had bet large amounts of money on Colombia to qualify for the second round. In the UK, the BBC issued a public apology after its football pundit Alan Hansen commented during the match between Argentina and Romania that "the Argentine defender warrants shooting for a mistake like that", on 3 July, a day after the murder of Escobar.[17]

Escobar's funeral was attended by over 120,000 people. Every year people honour Escobar by bringing photographs of him to matches. In July 2002, the city of Medellín unveiled a statue in honour of his memory.[18]

Humberto Castro Muñoz, a bodyguard for members of a powerful Colombian cartel, was arrested on the night of 2 July 1994, confessing the next day the killing of Escobar.[19] Muñoz also worked as a driver for Pedro and Juan Gallón, who allegedly bet heavily on the Colombian team and was upset at having lost.[20] He was found guilty of Escobar's murder in June 1995. He was sentenced to 43 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 26 years because of his submitting to the ruling penal code in 2001. Humberto was released on good behaviour due to further reductions from prison work and study in 2005 after serving approximately 11 years. His three accomplices were absolved.

30 for 30[edit]

In 2009 and 2010 ESPN broadcast 30 for 30, a series of sports-themed documentaries timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the network. The Two Escobars, by directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, looked back at Colombia's World Cup run and the relationship of association football and the country's criminal gangs, notably the Medellín Cartel run by Pablo Escobar (that is unrelated to Andrés).[21][22]

It is suggested in the program that, had Pablo Escobar still been alive, the Gallón brothers would not have targeted Andrés Escobar, as it was widely known that Pablo Escobar was a fervent supporter of the Colombian national football team and was a friend of many players on the national team. Escobar had personally funded the construction of many of the football fields that exist in the poorer regions of Medellín and had indirectly funded many of the costs associated with training the Colombian players and preparing the national team for international play. The players visited him in prison prior to beginning their 1994 World Cup qualifying run.

There are also allegations that the Gallón brothers bribed the Prosecutor's Office to redirect the investigation towards Muñoz as the triggerman – and the Prosecutor's Office contends that Muñoz was simply following orders from the Gallón brothers – but prosecutors lacked credible evidence to convict them. Pamela Cascardo, the girlfriend of Andrés Escobar, believes that the accusation of the Gallón brothers' bribery of government officials is supported by the fact that Muñoz killed a national celebrity and only received 11 years in prison as punishment.


Atlético Nacional
Runner-up (3): 1988, 1990, 1992
Runner-up (1): 1989


The murder of Andres Escobar was a dark moment in Colombian history, tarnishing the image of the country internationally.[24] Ironically, Andres was well-known for promoting a more positive image of Colombia. Because of this, he still regarded with respect throughout the country.[25] The aftermath caused many of the golden generation of the national team's star players to quit, feeling unsafe/lacking freedom in their lives, for more security was always present.[26]


  1. ^ Includes Intercontinental Cup.
  2. ^ This season was cancelled before ending, however the appearances and goals are counted for statistical reasons.


  1. ^ "Andrés Escobar's profile". 
  2. ^ a b c Bonk, Thomas (3 July 1994). "Fallen Star Happiest at Home in Medellin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Case of the Fatal Goal". Time magazine. 11 July 1994. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Maturana: "Lo de Andrés pudo pasarle a cualquier colombiano"". (in Spanish). 11 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Davison, Phil (4 July 1994). "Medellin mourns its murdered sports star". The Independent (London). 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Almond, Elliott (3 July 1994). "World Cup USA '94: Unforgivable". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Andres Escobar" (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "The Martyr's Own Goal" (in Spanish). Semana. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Darling, Juanita (17 July 1998). "In Memory of Slain Soccer Player, Boys Set Their Goals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Andrés Escobar's profile". 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Fensom, Michael, J. "Own goal at 1994 World Cup still connects slain Colombian Andres Escobar, former U.S. midfielder John Harkes". Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  14. ^ " World Cup Hall of Fame – Andrés Escobar". CNN. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "Gunmen Killed Player Who Erred". Orlando Sentinel. 3 July 1994. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Drezner, Daniel (4 June 2006). "The Soccer Wars". Washington Post. p. B01. 
  17. ^ Weaver, Paul (1 April 2001). "World Cup can wait – Sven has an election to win". London: Guardian. 
  18. ^ "The Own Goal that Meant a Death Sentence" (in Spanish). 6 July 1994. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Ambrus, Steven (4 July 1994). "Mourning Fills Colombia : Shooting: Alleged gunman arrested in slaying of Escobar as nation tries to come to terms with latest violence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "3 Who Argued With Escobar Face Weapons, Drug Charges". Los Angeles Times. 6 July 1994. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  21. ^ Hinckley, David (21 June 2010). "'Two Escobars' draws parallel between football star Andres Escobar's murder, drug lord Pablo Escobar". New York Daily News. p. 2. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  22. ^ Riley, Daniel (21 June 2010). "Remember The Colombian Soccer Player Who Got Killed After Scoring An Own Goal? Well, They Made An Incredible Documentary About Him and Pablo Escobar". GQ. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "Andrés Escobar's profile". BDFA. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links[edit]