Leonel Álvarez

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Álvarez and the second or maternal family name is Zuleta.
Leonel Álvarez
Leonel a.jpg
Leonel Álvarez (right) with former Medellín mayor, Sergio Fajardo (left)
Personal information
Full name Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta
Date of birth (1965-07-30) 30 July 1965 (age 51)
Place of birth Remedios, Colombia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
He has no club (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1986 Independiente Medellín 189 (3)
1987–1989 Atlético Nacional 42 (0)
1990 América de Cali 0 (0)
1990–1992 Real Valladolid 35 (0)
1992–1995 América de Cali 115 (5)
1996 Dallas Burn 22 (3)
1997 Veracruz 20 (2)
1998–1999 Dallas Burn 48 (0)
1999–2001 New England Revolution 58 (2)
2002 Deportivo Pereira 25 (1)
2003–2004 Deportes Quindío 16 (0)
Total 570 (16)
National team
1985–1997 Colombia 101 (1)
Teams managed
2008–2010 Independiente Medellín
2011 Colombia
2012 Itagüí
2013–2014 Deportivo Cali
2015– Independiente Medellín
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta (born 30 July 1965 in Remedios, Colombia) is a former Colombian football defensive midfielder and he is not managing any club right now. He played 101 times for the Colombia national team between 1985 and 1995, making him the 3rd most capped player in Colombian international football.[1] He was also the head coach of Colombia national football team [1]. Alvarez is the only coach to become champion twice with his beloved DIM.

On the pitch, Leonel was known for his intense physical defense, which made him very popular among the Colombian fans.

Club career[edit]

Álvarez began his career with Independiente Medellín in 1983. In 1989 he was part of the Atlético Nacional team that won the Copa Libertadores in 1989. He won a Colombian league title with América de Cali in 1990 and another in 1995.

He has also played for Veracruz of Mexico and Real Valladolid of Spain.

Álvarez signed with Major League Soccer before the league's inaugural 1996 season, and was allocated to the Dallas Burn. In his first year with the team, Álvarez was clearly one of the league's best players, as he scored three goals and five assists for the team from a defensive midfield position, and was named to the MLS Best XI. Unfortunately for the Burn, Álvarez moved to Mexico for the 1997 season, where he played for Veracruz. He did not return until 1998, when he quickly recovered his starting position; Álvarez would be an extremely important player in the Burn's central midfield for the next two years, but near the end of 1999, was traded to the New England Revolution for Ariel Graziani. Álvarez would play for the Revolution through 2001, always an important starter, before the team decided not to renew his contract for the 2002 season.

Late in his career, he returned to Colombia football, where he played in Colombia for Deportes Quindío and for Deportivo Pereira.

International career[edit]

Álvarez appeared in a total of 101 games for the Colombia, making his debut 14 February 1985 against Poland. He appeared for Colombia in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, playing in a total of seven games. Additionally, he played in Copa América for his native country in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1995.

After retirement[edit]

Álvarez has maintained a low profile since retiring, but has been back in the limelight in appearances in Colombian reality shows such as "La Isla de los Famosos."

Coaching career[edit]

He has held the position of technical assistant at Deportivo Pereira, one of his former clubs. In 2008, he worked as the assistant coach at Independiente Medellín, the team he began his career with. Working as Santiago Escobar's understudy. After bad results Escobar was fired and finishing dead last Leonel was promoted and given his first head coach opportunity. In his debut season as a coach, he helped make DIM champions. In May 2010 he was named the assistant coach of the Colombia national team. In September 2011, he was appointed head coach of the team, following the resignation of Hernán Bolillo Gómez. He got off to a good start by crushing Bolivia, but was sacked on 14 December that year after the Colombian squad recorded a 1–1 draw with Venezuela and a 2–1 loss with Argentina in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Career statistics[edit]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results lists Colombia's goal tally first.[2]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 June 1987 Estadio Atanasio Girardot, Medellín, Colombia  Ecuador


  1. ^ rsssf: Colombia record international footballers
  2. ^ Mamrud, Roberto (13 March 2004). "Leonel de Jesús Alvarez – Century of International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 

External links[edit]