Escobar playing for Colombia in 1994 FIFA World Cup vs. United States
|Full name||Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga|
|Date of birth||13 March 1967|
|Place of birth||Medellín, Colombia|
|Date of death||2 July 1994(aged 27)|
|Place of death||Medellín, Colombia|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Early life and education
Escobar was born in Medellín on March 13, 1967. He grew up in a middle-class family. He attended Colegio Calasanz and graduated from Instituto Conrado González. He participated in school soccer teams before becoming a professional soccer player. 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 have taken place.
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. His brother, Santiago, is a former footballer who played alongside Andrés at Atlético Nacional before moving into team management in 1998.
Escobar was a defender throughout his career. Escobar became a professional football player in 1987 at the age of 20. He was notable for 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. He helped Nacional to win the 1989 Copa Libertadores.
He made his debut for the Colombia national team on March 30, 1988, in a 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 he was 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 Group 2, but had to play the Intercontinental Play-off since it had 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 seven appearances. He did not participate in any games of the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification, however he was called for the World Cup, where he captained the team.
Own goal incident and subsequent murder
Escobar's infamous own goal occurred in a match against the United States on June 22, 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. The United States won the game 2–1.
After the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Escobar decided to return to Colombia instead of visiting relatives in Las Vegas, Nevada. On the evening of July 1, 1994, five days after the elimination of Colombia from the World Cup, Escobar called his friends, and they went to a bar in the El Poblado neighborhood in Medellín. 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. the next morning, 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. Escobar was shot six times. It was reported that the killer shouted ¡Gol!" (imitating South American football commentators). The killer shot Escobar with a .38 caliber pistol. The group then took off in a Toyota pickup truck leaving Escobar to bleed to death. Escobar was rushed to the hospital where he died 45 minutes later.
The murder was widely believed to be a punishment for the own goal. 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 July 3, a day after the murder of Escobar.
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.
Humberto Castro Muñoz, a bodyguard for members of a powerful Colombian drug cartel, was arrested on the night of 2 July 1994, confessing the next day to the killing of Escobar. Muñoz also worked as a driver for Santiago Gallón, who had allegedly lost heavily betting on the outcome of the game. 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 acquitted.
As part of the 2009-2010 series of documentaries, 30 for 30, ESPN broadcast The Two Escobars, by directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, which 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 (who was unrelated to Andrés). 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.
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 served 11 years in prison.
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".
After Escobar's death, his family founded the Andrés Escobar Project to help disadvantaged children learn to play football.
This table is incomplete, thus some stats and totals could be incorrect.
|Colombia||League||Cup||South America||Other[n 1]||Total|
|1986||Atlético Nacional||Campeonato Profesional||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|1990||Atlético Nacional||Categoría Primera A||26||0||0||0||-||0||0||0||26||0|
|1||1988-05-24||Wembley Stadium, Wembley, England||England||1–1||1–1||1988 Rous Cup|
- Atlético Nacional
- Runner-up (1): 1989
- Includes Intercontinental Cup.
- This season was cancelled before ending, however, the appearances and goals are counted for statistical reasons.
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- Drezner, Daniel (4 June 2006). "The Soccer Wars". Washington Post. p. B01.
- Weaver, Paul (1 April 2001). "World Cup can wait – Sven has an election to win". London: Guardian.
- "The Own Goal that Meant a Death Sentence" (in Spanish). Marca.com. 6 July 1994. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- 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.
- "3 Who Argued With Escobar Face Weapons, Drug Charges". Los Angeles Times. 6 July 1994. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Hinckley, David (21 June 2010). "'Two Escobars' draws parallel between football star Andrés Escobar's murder, drug lord Pablo Escobar". New York Daily News. p. 2. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- 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.
- Sobral, Vitor (2014-02-14). "Ivory Coast, Colombia keen to shake up World Cup order | SBS News". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "Los Dos Escobar - The Two Escobars". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- Davison, Phil (4 July 1994). "Medellin mourns its murdered sports star". The Independent (London).
- Darling, Juanita (17 July 1998). "In Memory of Slain Soccer Player, Boys Set Their Goals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Andrés Escobar's profile". BDFA.
- Andrés Escobar at National-Football-Teams.com
- Andrés Escobar – FIFA competition record
- Andrés Escobar's profile at Soccerway.com