Carlos Valderrama, the story of football’s blonde Gullit

Born in Santa Marta on the northern coast of Colombia in 1961, El Pibe is considered one of the brightest icons in the history of South American football and among the most famous players of world football ever.

Touch, vision of the game, hair

Some have compared him to Charles Bronson, star of American shooter movies of the 70s and 80s, with his stern face and brute strength. But the truth is Carlos Valderrama was not a strong player, what a rhythm. Wearing the number 10 jersey of Deportivo Cali from the Montpellier team of the Colombian national team, he drew football with the calm and soft tone that only South American playmakers know how to convey on the ball.

If true, it stands out to enthusiasts not only for its refined geometry, but especially for its hair is voluminous and blondeIt would be right to underline that Valderrama, who accompanied him throughout his career, is a real football player, not a social phenomenon.

Valderrama silhouette, Colombia flag

Who is Carlos Valderrama?

The great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano said that Francisco Maturana’s Colombia, of which Valderrama is the main axis, plays a kind of “helmet”. Ballad and primitive version of Barcelona tiki-taka. Galeano wrote that the “toque” or touch was “a unique way to play football, it was like dancing at a milonga in Bogota on a Sunday afternoon, the ball was not kicked, it was played like a guitar, every pass was a kick.” music”.

At work the lead musician of this extraordinary teamThe film, which earned little but was very entertaining and featured such extraordinary characters as goalkeeper René Higuita and attacker Freddy Rincon, also from Napoli, was Carlos Valderrama: director, captain, soul and point of the game. Public reference of Colombia in the 90s.

The concentration of metronome grace, the touches on the ball reduced to a minimum, the spectators drawing endless lines from one side of the pitch to the other, Like a painter adding color to the canvas. On the field, Carlos Valderrama embodied the sticky, gentle warmth of the Atlantic coast where he grew up.

Relieved, smiling, his A football made of joy and prideHe became a character in a time when there was no social media yet. The low socks, the colorful bracelets on his wrists, his entire appearance almost suggested that Valderrama was not even a football player, but a cumbia singer on loan to the football fields.

The lightness of being Valderrama

Carlos Valderrama was famous for something he always said at every opportunity, both in matches and in real life: everything’s okay, everything’s okay. A warning to calm down, “everything is fine”, which Valderrama uses above all to neutralize the impudent questions of journalists who besiege him after some disappointing results or who want him to give an account of his life full of fun and parties: todo bien, todo bien.

Valderrama was nominated with his jersey number 10 on his shoulders two-time South American player of the year: It happened in ’87 and then it happened again in 1993. At the time, Carlos was playing around the midfield and his creative shooting was a real tactical luxury in a physical and brutal football similar to that in Latin America in the 80s and 90s. With the ball at his feet, even when he didn’t have the ball, the Santa Marta boy moved into space, pressed and had no problem getting his leg into a hard tackle if necessary.

His ability to find hidden relay lines and communicate almost telepathically with his friends was miraculous. For example, Freddy Rincon’s assist in the ninety-third match between Colombia and West Germany of the Italy ’90 World Cup remains historic. The Colombians need at least one point against the Germans to advance to the group stage for the first time in their history. Valderrama played a sacrifice game by being subjected to physical aggression. cruel blows, Thomas BertholdThe defender, who was playing for Roma at that time, did not leave him even for a moment.

The match went badly and the Teutonic team took the lead a few minutes before the ninetieth minute. Powerful left foot from Pierre Littbarski.It is a thirty-year-old striker from Cologne who freezes Cafeteros. It looks like it’s over, but Maturana from the bench invites the Colombians to believe it. Two minutes pass and Valderrama pulls one of his inventions out of a hat.

He pulls Berthold close one last time, then sees this out of the corner of his eye: Freddy Rincon plays on the right wing and throws the ball deep, which lands perfectly on his teammate’s run: goal, 1 v 1, Colombia through to the last 16. Once again, Valderrama showed the world the serene madness of his supreme talent.

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