Zapata playing for Milan in 2013
|Full name||Cristián Eduardo Zapata Valencia|
|Date of birth||30 September 1986|
|Place of birth||Padilla, Colombia|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 September 2015.
Cristián Eduardo Zapata Valencia (born 30 September 1986 in Padilla, Cauca) is a Colombian professional footballer. He currently plays for Serie A club Milan as a defender, usually as a centre back. He can also play at full-back on either side as he is comfortable with both feet, although naturally right footed. In May 2013, Zapata signed a contract with his current club, Milan, until 2016.
Zapata was signed by Udinese on 31 August 2005 from Deportivo Cali, along with team-mate Abel Aguilar. Both of them were scouted by Udinese while playing at the U-20 World Cup. On 18 September 2006, Zapata signed a new five-year contract. That season he started 35 Serie A games. Cristián Zapata employed Claudio Pasqualin (of P.D.P. srl) as his agent on 21 February 2006, but fired him on 9 July 2007. In 2009 the Tribunale Nazionale di Arbitrato per lo Sport awarded Pasqualin eligible to receive €38,900 as agent fee that Zapata owed Pasqualin (5% of annual salary times 2 seasons, 2006–07 and 2007–08).
In June 2008, Zapata was injured and missed 6 months.
In the 2009–10 season, Zapata usually played as central defender, partnered with Andrea Coda.
After the 2010–11 season, Cristián Zapata claimed that many top European clubs were interested in signing him. He has since stated "I do not know what to say, I can say that I am very close to a deal happening". Zapata signed for Villarreal CF on 12 July 2011. On Wednesday 17 August 2011, in the 2011–12 season, Cristián Zapata made his debut against Udinese in a Champions League qualifier.
Zapata made headline news in the Champions league against Spanish giants Barcelona. With Milan's opening in a 2–0 victory of the first leg, the ball was deflected on to his hand and landed in front of Kevin-Prince Boateng who scored a goal soon afterwards. The referee did not judge it an attempted touch of the ball but allowed Boateng's goal to be counted while Zapata was credited with an 'assist'. The replay showed the ball making contact with his face. In his first Milan derby against Inter Milan, Zapata was praised for his defending and for playing a key role in counter-attacks. In 2013, Zapata signed a contract with Milan until summer 2016.
In January 2015, Zapata suffered an injury keeping him sidelined for two months. Upon recovery, he featured as an unused substitute.
Zapata was a member of Colombian U-20 team that won the 2005 South American Youth Championship and the team that played at 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, who lost to Argentina in the round of 16. Zapata was unavailable in the first 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification match.
In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification match, Zapata finally got his first spot chance since under new coach Jose Pekerman against South American leaders Argentina. In the 26th minute, while defending the ball inside Colombia's box from Gonzalo Higuaín, Higuain fell to the side while losing balance and kicked the thigh of Zapata in anger. In reaction, Zapata questioned him and kicked him back, resulting in receiving a red card along with Higuain. Zapata was later criticized for not controlling himself and allowing the referee to give Higuain the red card while simply walking away, which would have allowed Colombia an 11 men advantage over a 10 men Argentina.
Zapata's aunt Limbaina Zapata was kidnapped on 1 May 2013. The kidnappers demanded $150 million in ransom. The following day, the National Police of Colombia located the thieves in Miranda, Cauca, Colombia, and Limbaina Zapata was released with no harm.
- Colombia U-20
- "Avv. Claudio Pasqualin – Sig. Cristian Eduardo Zapata Valencia" (PDF). TNAS of CONI (in Italian). 28 July 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- "Udinese prolunga 4 contratti a 2012" (in Italian). ANSA. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2009.[dead link]
- "CALCIO, UDINESE: IN QUATTRO RINNOVANO FINO AL 2012". la Repubblica (in Italian). 12 October 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
- "Zapata, serio infortunio in Nazionale" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
- Milan humbled Barcelona. Goal.com. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Liberan a tía del jugador Cristian Zapata (in Spanish). rcnradio.com. 1 May 2013.
- Aunty of AC Milan’s Cristian Zapata kidnapped in Colombia. fanatix.com. 1 May 2013.
- "Colombia - C. Zapata". soccerway.com. Soccerway. Retrieved 23 May 2015.