Mario Yepes

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Mario Yepes
Mario Yepes 02.JPG
Yepes in 2013.
Personal information
Full name Mario Alberto Yepes Díaz
Date of birth (1976-01-13) 13 January 1976 (age 38)
Place of birth Cali, Colombia
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current club Atalanta
Number 33
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1997 Cortuluá 76 (7)
1997–1999 Deportivo Cali 93 (11)
1999–2002 River Plate 76 (6)
2002–2004 Nantes 73 (2)
2004–2008 Paris Saint-Germain 115 (8)
2008–2010 Chievo 63 (1)
2010–2013 Milan 38 (1)
2013– Atalanta 22 (0)
National team
1999– Colombia 95 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 April 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 March 2014

Mario Alberto Yepes Díaz (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾjo ˈʝepes]; born 13 January 1976) is a Colombian professional footballer who currently plays as a defender for Serie A club Atalanta.[1] Yepes was well-known for his time in Paris Saint-Germain where he was considered to be one of the best defenders at the time dubbing him as 'Super Mario' before moving to Chievo.[2][3] He has also been the captain of the Colombian national team since 2008. Yepes is one of the last of the original members of the Colombian golden generation during their dying years where they won the 2001 Copa America. Thus, with the current golden generation, he's played in both the '90s golden generation (that ended in 2002) to the present golden team, along with Faryd Mondragón.[4][5][2]

Club career[edit]


1994–1997 seasons[edit]

When Mario Yepes started his playing career in 1994 with Cortuluá, he was playing as a forward before Cortulua's coach converted him to a libero (sweeper).

Deportivo Cali[edit]

1997–1999 seasons[edit]

Yepes career really took off after he signed for his home town club Deportivo Cali in 1998. He won a Colombian championship with Deportivo Cali. He was part of the squad of Copa Libertadores 1999.

River Plate[edit]

1999–2002 seasons[edit]

In 1999, Yepes joined River Plate in Argentina, where he became a star and won two Argentine Primera championships.


2002–2004 seasons[edit]

In spite of the fact that several Italian and English clubs wanted to recruit Yepes, he signed for FC Nantes Atlantique in January 2002 where his nickname was “El Rey.”. After a difficult adaptation to the European style of playing (French in particular,) marked by a very aggressive play uncommon for Nantes (numerous red cards), he slowly adapted to the league. He became arguably one of the best defenders in the league when his team adopted an unconventional three-defender formation.

Paris Saint-Germain[edit]

2004–2008 seasons[edit]

Yepes became one the best central defenders of the French first division and joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2004, where his nickname was "Super Mario" as a reference to his defensive abilities and fitness levels.

Chievo Verona[edit]

2008–2010 seasons[edit]

In 2008, Yepes joined Chievo Verona of Italy. He signed a new contract in summer 2009.[6]


In March 2010, Chievo team-mate, Sergio Pellissier, confirmed that Yepes would join Milan in the summer, when his contract ran out.[7]

Yepes in action for A.C. Milan in 2012

On 1 July 2010, Milan delegate administrator Adriano Galliani declared that Yepes is a big player to replace Giuseppe Favalli who became a free agent on the same day.[8]

2010–2011 season[edit]

Yepes got to Milan in the 2010–2011 season but was quickly deployed as a substitute due to the starting centre-back being Thiago Silva. Yepes played few games in the Italian Serie A, but participated in the UEFA Champions League. Yepes was close to scoring with Milan in the UEFA Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur, in which he had two clear chances of scoring with a header, but was denied twice by Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes.

2011–2012 season[edit]

Yepes scored his first goal for AC Milan on the 23 October 2011, where he finished off a remarkable Milan comeback against U.S. Lecce, scoring the 4th and winning goal for Milan in the 83rd minute to drive Milan to a 4–3 victory, with Kevin-Prince Boateng scoring a hat-trick to level the scores after a 3–0 losing position.

2012–2013 season[edit]

On 12 May 2012, Yepes signed a one-year extension contract with A.C. Milan, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2013.[9] With barely any appearances, Yepes stated that he would not sign a new contract with the club despite being offered the chance, expressing that he needed more 'guaranteed' playing time in order to better prepare himself for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He later confirmed that A.C. Milan would not offer him as such and his reason for departure.[10][11][12]

International career[edit]

Yepes has played over 80 games for the Colombian national team since his debut in 1999.[13] He was part of the Colombia squad that won the Copa América in 2001.[14] He was also in the squads for three other editions of the tournament in 1999,[15] 2007[16] and 2011.

Due to his age during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Yepes expressed his passion for the national team and wanting to retire either after the world cup qualifiers or during the 2014 world cup. Jose Pekerman promised to meet with his retirement request.

In the final match of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay, Yepes scored 2 goals in a 1-2 victory, following Fredy Guarin's expulsion with a red card.

On December 17 2013, Yepes announced that he would retire after the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[17]

Career statistics[edit]





  • South American XI (1): 2001

Personal life[edit]

Mario Yepes is married to a Colombian woman, Carolina Villegas.[21] Yepes and his wife have three children, his son Luciano Yepes was born in May 2002,[22] his second son Valentino Yepes was born on 23 September 2012, and his daughter Miranda Yepes was born in April 2005.[22]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^, ed. (17 July 2013). "Mario Yepes ha raggiunto l'Atalanta in ritiro (italian)". Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Mario Yepes offered - Chronicle". Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Passato glorioso di Super Mario Yepes". Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Yepes: We’ll be raring to go". 15 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mario Yepes será el capitán de Colombia". (in Spanish) (Terra Networks, S.A.). 8 October 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "MARIO YEPES ANCORA IN GIALLOBLU'" (in Italian). 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-07-18. [dead link]
  7. ^ Vince Masiello (2010-03-30). "Chievo Captain Sergio Pellissier Confirms That Mario Yepes Will Join Milan'". Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  8. ^ "ONE GOES, ANOTHER COMES". AC Milan. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Yepes signs one-year extension with AC Milan". 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ rsssf: Colombia record international footballers
  14. ^ rsssf: Copa América 2001
  15. ^ rsssf: Copa América 1999
  16. ^ rsssf: Copa América 2007
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Colombia – M. Yepes". Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "Yepes, Mario". National Football Teams. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Mario Yepes "La muralla"". (in Spanish). 10 March 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2013. , "Querido, te sigo donde vayas". (in Spanish). Olé. 10 July 2000. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "[Milan] Noticias". (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 February 2013. 

External links[edit]