Carlos Valderrama

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Carlos Valderrama
Valderrama2010.JPG
Valderrama in 2010
Personal information
Full name Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio
Date of birth (1961-09-02) September 2, 1961 (age 52)
Place of birth Santa Marta, Colombia
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1984 Unión Magdalena 94 (5)
1984 Millonarios 33 (0)
1985–1988 Deportivo Cali 131 (22)
1988–1991 Montpellier 77 (4)
1991–1992 Real Valladolid 17 (1)
1992–1993 Independiente Medellín 10 (1)
1993–1995 Atlético Junior 82 (5)
1996–1997 Tampa Bay Mutiny 43 (7)
1998-1999 Miami Fusion 22 (3)
1999–2001 Tampa Bay Mutiny 71 (5)
2001–2002 Colorado Rapids 39 (1)
Total 619 (54)
National team
1985–1998 Colombia 111 (11)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkarlos alˈberto βaldeˈrama paˈlasjo];[1] born September 2, 1961 in Santa Marta, Colombia), also known as El Pibe ("The Kid") is a former Colombian football player. His mass of blond afro hair, coupled with his flamboyant technique on the ball, made him one of Colombia's most recognizable footballers, and arguably, one of the most recognizable footballers around the globe historically.

Valderrama was well known during his time in Major League Soccer. Perhaps one of the most noticeable foreign players to ever grace MLS, he played a huge role in the uprising of the league itself during the 1990s; most noticeably by becoming a pioneer that inspired a wave of Colombian (as well as general foreign) footballers to play their talents in the league causing a huge influence of increasing both the popularity and strength of the league itself. To this day, he is an icon as one of the most decorated playmakers to ever play in the MLS.[2][3][4][5]

Valderrama was a member of the Colombia national football team in the 1990s. Between 1985 and 1998 he represented Colombia in 111 full internationals and scored 11 times, making him the most capped player in the country's history. Valderrama was known for the accuracy of his passing and assisting, his tactical brain which allowed him to have a strong presence without the necessity of running as much as it would be expected, his exquisite technique on the ball, and his ability to provide assists that were very immaculate.[6][7] Valderrama played a huge role during the golden era of Colombian football during the 1990s. In 2004, Valderrama was included in the FIFA 100, a list of "greatest living footballers" chosen by Pelé to celebrate the 100th anniversary of FIFA.

Career[edit]

Valderrama began his career at Unión Magdalena of the Colombian First Division in 1981. He also played for Millonarios and Deportivo Cali before joining Montpellier of the French First Division in 1988. He then went on to play for Independiente Medellín and then Atlético Junior, for whom he won the Colombian championship in 1993 and 1995. In 1996, he went to the US to play for the Tampa Bay Mutiny (1996–97, 2000–01), Miami Fusion (1998–99), and Colorado Rapids (2001–02). While a member of the Mutiny, the team would sell Carlos Valderrama wigs at Tampa Stadium. In Major League Soccer, Valderrama scored relatively few goals (16) for a midfielder, but is the league's second all-time leader in assists (114) after Steve Ralston (121), a former teammate. In 2005, he was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI. He was also named one of the top players of the 20th century by Pelé in 1999.[8]

As a player, Valderrama was known for his excellent field vision and elegance on the ball.[citation needed] He captained Colombia's national football team to victory in the 1994 Fifa World Cup CONMEBOL qualifiers. He always wore the number 10 jersey, and was a complete free kick specialist.

MLS career[edit]

Valderrama began his Major League Soccer career with the Tampa Bay Mutiny in the league's inaugural year of 1996, and won its first Most Valuable Player award. In 2000 Valderrama recorded the only 20+ assist season in MLS history—ending the season with 26—a record that remains intact today, and which MLS itself suggested was an "unbreakable" record in a 2012 article.[9] Valderrama remained in the league until 2002, playing for the Mutiny, Miami Fusion, and the Colorado Rapids in his eight-year American soccer career.[10]

Retirement as player[edit]

In February 2004, Valderrama ended his 22-year career in a tribute match at the Metropolitan stadium of Barranquilla, with some of the most important football players of South America, such as Diego Maradona, Enzo Francescoli and José Luis Chilavert.

Valderrama has since become assistant manager of Atlético Junior. On November 1, 2007, Valderrama accused a referee of corruption by waving cash in the face of Oscar Julian Ruiz when the official awarded a penalty to América de Cali. Junior lost the match 4–1, which ended the club's hopes of playoff qualification.[11]

Playing Style[edit]

Valderrama was well known for being a specialist towards the traditional number '10' playmaking role throughout his career.[12][13][14] Valderrama's passing was highly accurate to the point where he held a consistent rate of assists and getting involved in plays that often related to goals. This also involved free kicks, whether supporting his teammates, or attempt on goal. His creativity made him very influential, to the point where he became a known legend throughout South America, and eventually throughout the world of football.[15][16][17]

Aside from his passing talents, Valderrama held very precise ball-control and dribbling abilities that was supported by quick reactions, and his disciplined mindset. This allowed him to perform impressive plays that have been highlighted throughout his career.[18][19][20] Overall, Valderrama had proven to be an extremely selfless player for both club, and nation.[21][22][23]

One of his most impressive moments, was during the 1990 FIFA World Cup last group stage match against Germany. In a game where Colombia needed at least a draw to survive into the next round, Pierre Littbarski scored what appeared to be the winning goal in the 88th minute. However, within the last seconds of extra time, Valderrama made a crucial pass to Freddy Rincon who equalized immediately and saved Colombia into the next round.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Valderrama is married and has three children.[citation needed] Valderrama was the only Colombian to feature in FIFA's 125 Top Living Football Players list in March 2004. He is currently a coach for a football soccer academy in Clearwater, Florida.

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Montpellier HSC
Atletico Junior
Tampa Bay Mutiny

Individual[edit]

Other recognition[edit]

A statue of Valderrama outside Estadio Eduardo Santos in Santa Marta.

Valderrama appeared on the cover of International Superstar Soccer Pro 98. In the Nintendo 64 version, he is referred to by his nickname, El Pibe. A 22-foot bronze statue of Valderrama, created by Colombian artist Amilkar Ariza, was erected outside Estadio Eduardo Santos in Valderrama's birthplace of Santa Marta in 2006.

Statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Colombia League Cup Total
1981 Unión Magdalena
1982
1983
1984 Millonarios
1985 Deportivo Cali
1986
1987
France League Coupe de France Total
1988–89 Montpellier Division 1 24 1
1989–90 18 1
1990–91 35 2
Spain League Copa del Rey Total
1990–91 Real Valladolid La Liga 17 1
Colombia League Cup Total
1992 Independiente Medellín
1993 Atlético Junior 35 4
1994 18 1
1995 29 0
USA League Open Cup Total
1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny Major League Soccer 23 4
1997 20 3
1998 Miami Fusion Major League Soccer 18 2
1999 4 1
1999 Tampa Bay Mutiny Major League Soccer 27 3
2000 32 1
2001 12 1
2001 Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer 12 0
2002 27 1
2003 0 0
Total Colombia
France 77 4
Spain 17 1
USA 175 16
Career total

References[edit]

  1. ^ Colombian Spanish pronunciation.
  2. ^ http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=1614638.html
  3. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/03/08/colombians-mls-stability-status-influence-recent-shift
  4. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/sep/19/mls-colombia-colombians-portland-timbers-diego-chara
  5. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/1110/major-league-soccer/2010/10/19/2172421/colombia-makes-an-impact-on-major-league-soccer
  6. ^ http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/news/newsid=1451394.html
  7. ^ http://www.fifa.com/newscentre/features/news/newsid=1619243/index.html?intcmp=newsreader_news_box_4
  8. ^ FIFA 100
  9. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/video/2012/06/22/power-5-unbreakable-records-valderramas-26-assists-2000
  10. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/players/carlos-valderrama
  11. ^ AP (2007), Valderrama expelled from match for taunting referee with cash, USA Today, 1 November 2007, usatoday.com. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  12. ^ http://www.fifa.com/world-match-centre/news/newsid/201/764/4/index.html
  13. ^ http://www.fifa.com/newscentre/features/news/newsid=1619243/index.html?intcmp=newsreader_news_box_4
  14. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7A5smuVFs8
  15. ^ http://www.fifa.com/world-match-centre/news/newsid/145/139/4/index.html
  16. ^ http://www.fifa.com/classicfootball/news/newsid=2167928/index.html
  17. ^ http://www.fifa.com/classicfootball/news/newsid=2167928/index.html
  18. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCpLicqLvOA
  19. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp7vf5So3_k
  20. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp7vf5So3_k
  21. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7A5smuVFs8
  22. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/03/08/colombians-mls-stability-status-influence-recent-shift
  23. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7A5smuVFs8
  24. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ami5tGXM0VU

External links[edit]