Soccer Player Murdered for an Own Goal

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One among soccer’s darkest moments

Soccer is the preferred sport on the planet, however past that, it’s a lifestyle in lots of cultures. And, as Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga came upon, a approach of dying.

his respect and level-headedness

So, how did a participant nicknamed “The Gentleman” for his respect and level-headedness on the pitch and “The immortal Quantity Two” at his membership find yourself as a homicide sufferer after the 1994 World Cup? 

That is the story of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga: the Colombian soccer participant who was killed in chilly blood by a cartel member for one mistake.

Rising up

Escobar was born on March 13, 1967, in Medellín, now the third-most populated metropolis in Colombia. His father, Darío, was a banker that based a corporation that gave younger folks the prospect to play organized soccer as an alternative of getting sucked into a lifetime of poverty and crime on the streets.

Escobar grew up in a middle-class family and attended faculty all through school, the place he performed soccer your complete approach. After his commencement, he made the swap to full-time skilled soccer. 

His brother, Santiago, was additionally knowledgeable participant who later went into administration. 

Escobar loved a profitable enjoying profession as a central defender. He made 78 appearances throughout 4 years at Atlético Nacional, knowledgeable crew primarily based in Medellín, earlier than accepting a transfer to Younger Boys in Switzerland. He would solely make eight appearances in Europe, nevertheless, and moved again to Atlético lower than a 12 months later. 

Throughout his final 12 months in his first stint together with his native crew, Escobar performed an important half in serving to his squad win the 1989 Copa Libertadores, an annual worldwide competitors between the most effective groups in South America. They defeated Paraguayan facet Membership Olimipia on penalty kicks 2-2 (5-4) within the remaining to win the primary of two Copa Libertadores titles within the membership’s historical past. It additionally made them the primary Colombian crew to ever win the competitors.

Gaining worldwide recognition 

Escobar made his debut for the Colombian nationwide crew in 1988 at 21 years outdated in a 3-0 win in opposition to Canada. He additionally scored the one objective of his profession in a 1-1 draw in opposition to England in his first look in a national-level worldwide competitors in the course of the 1988 Rous Cup. 

In 1990, Colombia received its World Cup qualifying group with Escobar on the coronary heart of the protection. It then received a play-in match it was pressured to take part in due to its low factors complete and secured a spot within the 1990 World Cup. 

On the World Cup, Colombia was thrust into an unfavorable group with eventual champion West Germany, alongside Yugoslavia and the U.A.E. Colombia solely completed third within the group with three factors (a win was value two factors on the time) with a +1 objective differential, however nonetheless certified for the Spherical of 16.

Escobar appeared in each match and cemented himself as a good starter at simply 22 years outdated.

Colombia’s run by means of the knockout didn’t final lengthy, because it was eradicated 2-1 in further time by Cameroon within the first spherical. Escobar appeared in each match and cemented himself as a good starter at simply 22 years outdated.

The younger defender made seven appearances in the course of the Copa América the following 12 months, however was not concerned within the 1994 World Cup qualifying squad. Proper round that point, he was reportedly supplied a contract by Italian giants A.C. Milan, who had received the Supercoppa Italiana three years on the trot and went on to win the 1994 European Tremendous Cup 2-0 over Arsenal.

With a rising worldwide repute, he was introduced again into Colombia’s 1994 World Cup crew. Unbeknownst to him, that will be step one towards his tragic dying.

The World Cup incident

The ‘94 World Cup was hosted by the USA who, alongside Romania and Switzerland, have been dropped in Group A with Colombia. 

The South American representatives misplaced their opening match 3-1 to Romania and took on the USA 4 days later. Within the thirty fifth minute and with the rating knotted at 0-0, Escobar discovered himself backpedaling within the heart of the pitch throughout a USA assault. 

American midfielder John Harkes drilled a low cross about ten yards exterior of the penalty field from the middle-left facet of the pitch; Escobar stretched out to intercept the go however inadvertently directed the ball towards the middle of his personal objective. Goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba had already dedicated to charging out, considering that Escobar wouldn’t have the ability to attain the ball, and was unable to cease his momentum and get again in place.

The ball squirted into the again of the online and gave the Stars and Stripes the breakthrough objective. They later scored one other within the 52nd minute and received the match 2-1 to place them on 4 factors by means of two matches (wins have been modified to 3 factors by this time).

Colombia received its remaining match in opposition to Switzerland, however completed final within the group and was despatched residence from the match. Escobar had the chance to go to household in Las Vegas, Nevada, however opted to return residence to Colombia. 

Shortly after the World Cup ended, Escobar was quoted in a newspaper as saying “[The World Cup has] been a most superb and uncommon expertise. We’ll see one another once more quickly as a result of life doesn’t finish right here.”

Little did he know that his resolution to return residence was about to show him fallacious.

A deadly finish

5 days after his nation was eradicated from the World Cup, Escobar and some pals determined to exit and benefit from the Medellín nightlife. They started their night time at a bar and later visited a liquor retailer earlier than ending up at El Indio nightclub. 

At round 3am and after an evening of partying, Escobar discovered himself in his automotive within the El Indio parking zone. His pals had already dispersed and he was on their lonesome.

A bunch of three males abruptly appeared out of the darkness and surrounded Escobar’s automotive. An argument ensued, and two of the surprising guests raised .38 caliber pistols. A couple of moments later, a helpless Escobar was shot six occasions.

the killer allegedly shouted “¡Gol!” (“Purpose!”) between each shot

Accounts from witnesses present that the killer allegedly shouted “¡Gol!” (“Purpose!”) between each shot, referencing the variety of occasions the Colombian announcer shouted “¡Gol!” after Escobar’s gaffe in opposition to the USA. The boys then piled right into a automotive and drove off, leaving the 27-year-old to bleed out.

Escobar was found and rushed to a hospital, the place he was pronounced lifeless 45 minutes later. Humberto Castro Muñoz, a bodyguard for an area drug cartel, was arrested the following day and confessed to the homicide.

A part of Castro’s nefarious actions noticed him work as a driver for Santiago Gallón, the chief of the Gallón gang. Gallón allegedly misplaced a big sum of cash betting on Colombia within the match in opposition to the USA, which established a motive for the homicide.

Greater than 120,000 folks confirmed up for Escobar’s funeral in Colombia. In 2002, he was honored with a statue in his hometown of Medellín.

Following the homicide of Andrés Escobar

Castro was discovered responsible of Escobar’s homicide in 1995 and was initially sentenced to 43 years in jail, however had his sentence diminished to 26 years in 2001. He was then launched from jail in 2005 due to a change to jail work and examine guidelines.

Common rumors counsel that the Gallón brothers bribed the prosecutors to heart their case on Castro, who allegedly was finishing up orders from Santiago Gallón. The prosecutors have been finally unable to supply credible proof that tied Gallón to the homicide. Pamela Cascardo, Escobar’s fiancée, believes that the allegations of bribery are true due to the comparatively temporary sentence.

In 2013, Francisco Maturana, a Venezuelan former Atlético Nacional participant and supervisor, mentioned that Escobar’s homicide had nothing to do with the 1994 World Cup and was a byproduct of being in a harmful space late within the night time. 

Andrés Escobar is broadly beloved by Colombian soccer followers. He’s remembered for bringing a picture of cleanliness and stoicism in a time when the nation was marred by crime and poverty.


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