Carlos Valderrama, the man with the frizzy hair
Carlos Valderrama, also known as El Pibe (The Kid) turns 60 today!
Valderrama isn’t widely known by todays younger generation for anything more than being a Legend on Fifa Ultimate team or/and being the footballer with the frizzy afro. However, he saw great success on the pitch and off it which is very offtern overshadowed by some of the more ‘household’ names we recognise today.
Valderrama was born in Santa Marta, Colombia on 2nd September 1961. He spent his youth and early career playing at the top level of Columbia for Unión Magdalena, Millonarios & Deportivo Cali until 1988. In 1987 he was picked for the South American Team of the year and also won the South American Footballer of the year award during his time with Deportivo Cali.
His impressive performances during his time in his home country also earned him his call up to the national team before a move to Europe and Montpellier in 1988 where he went on to make 77 appearances. During his time in France he helped Montpellier win the Coupe de France during the 89/90 season.
He then made the move to North America and Tampa Bay Mutiny where they participated in the relatively new MLS league. Valdermma was considered a super star at this part in his career and his roll at Tampa Bay Mutiny and later on Miami Fusion & Colorado Rapids really helped promote the football game into America. His eye catching skills, flair, natural technique and Afro caught the eye of many sports fans and got them watching the MLS in numbers far greater than had previously been seen!
Valdermma success on the international stage saw him make 111 appearances for his home country, a then record (only to have since been beaten by David Ospina with 113). He was a pivotal player in the ‘Golden era’ for Columbian football during the 90’s. He represented his country in 3 world cups and 5 Copa América tournaments before his international retirement in 1998.
He went on to play a further 4 years in America before finally hanging up his boots in 2002. In total he made 619 competitive appearances scoring 54 goals.