15 Greatest Colombian Football Players of All Time

Who is the best Colombian footballer of all time?

In addition to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay; Colombia is one of the greatest South American countries in the world of football. This country won the Copa America and several times participated in the World Cup tournament. Not only that, some Colombian players even have claimed great achievements both at club level and at national team level.

I'm sure that the majority of football fans are familiar with some Colombian footballers such as Carlos Valderrama, Rene Higuita, Radamel Falcao, and Ivan Cordoba. The question is, among them, who deserves to be called as the best Colombian football player of all time? This is the question that I'd like to answer by writing this article.

15. Cristián Zapata

Cristian Zapata is a defender who spent most of his career in the Italian League, playing for Udinese and AC Milan. Zapata left and right legs are equally strong, and he could be positioned as a wing-back or center-back. His debut with the Colombian national team occurred in 2007. Zapata also underwent a pretty brilliant career with the Colombian U-20 national team, where he won the South American Youth Championship tournament in 2005.

14. Leonel Álvarez

Leonel Alvarez is a retired defensive midfielder who played for Colombian national team in the 1985-1995 period. Throughout his career, he capped 101 times for his country. While he was still active, Alvarez was known as an energetic midfielder with a strong physical ability and high stamina. His achievements at club level was also quite good and his greatest feat is winning the Copa Libertadores in 1989 at Atletico Nacional.

13. Luis Amaranto Perea

Luis Perea is a defender who played for Atletico Madrid for eight years in the period 2004-2012. He is known as a tough defender, quick, and can be played as a center-back as well as a right-back. During his career at Atletico, he won two Europa League trophies and a UEFA Super Cup trophy. With a total of 289 appearances, Perea becomes foreign player with the most caps at Atletico Madrid.

12. Faryd Mondragón

Faryd Mondragon is one of the most dedicated goalkeepers in the world who played for his country for more than ten years. Mondragon made his debut at the level of the national team in 1993 and became the number-one goalkeeper of Colombia in the 1998 World Cup tournament. Not only that, he also has high experiences having career in the Europa League, where he joined Galatasaray for six years and played for FC Koln for three years.

11. Fredy Guarin

Fredy Guarin is one of the most successful Colombian players in the European League. The golden period of his career occurred when joining FC Porto from 2008 to 2012, where he won ten major trophies, one of them is the Europa League trophy. Guarin is known as a balanced central midfielder. He is able to attack and defend equally well. He is also praised for his good set-piece taking ability.

10. Víctor Aristizábal

Victor Aristizabal is one of the most important players who helped Colombia win the Copa America 2001. In the event, he did not only perform brilliantly, but also managed to be the top scorer of the tournament. His goal-scoring ability is indeed very great, as Aristizabal holds the record as the top scorer of all time of Atletico Nacional and became the most-scoring foreign player in the Brazilian League.

9. Oscar Cordoba

Although he is not as popular as Rene Higuita, statistically Oscar Cordoba is the best Colombian goalkeeper of all time. This player made a remarkable record where he didn't concede even a single goal during the Copa America 2001 and helped his country win the tournament. Oscar Cordoba also underwent a career in various clubs around the world, such as Boca Juniors, Besiktas, Perugia, and Once Caldas. Throughout his career, he won a Turkish League title, three Argentine league titles and two Copa Libertadores trophies.

8. Freddy Rincón

Freddy Rincon was part of a golden generation of Colombia national team in the 1990s. Together with Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla, Rincon helped his country beat Argentina 5-0 in a 1994 World Cup qualification. Throughout his career, Rincon played in several European clubs such as Napoli and Real Madrid, but failed to get a place in the first team. His best achievement at club level is winning three Brazilian league titles and one FIFA Club World Cup trophy in 2000 at Corinthians.

7. Mario Yepes

Yepes is a charismatic defender who has been trusted to be the captain of Colombian national team since 2008. He is dubbed as "Super Mario" and has been playing for various European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Nantes, and Chievo. Yepes can play as a center back, sweeper, as well as a wing-back equally well. In addition to helping Colombia win the Copa America 2011, Yepes also won a Serie A title, two Argentine League titles, and one French Cup trophy.

6. Arnoldo Iguarán

Arnoldo Iguaran is a former striker who holds the record as the all-time top scorer of Colombian national team with a total of 25 goals. Iguaran played for his country in the period 1979-1993 and spent his entire club career playing in Colombian League. The best period of his career occurred at Millionarios, where Iguaran won two Colombian League titles. One of his best performances at the national team level was when he scored a goal that helped his country defeat Brazil 2-0 in the 1991 Copa America tournament.

5. Faustino Asprilla

Together with Carlos Valderrama and Freddy Rincon, Asprilla was a mainstay of the Colombian offense line in the mid 1990s. The striker is known to be a very fast, talented, and prolific in scoring goals from set-pieces situations. His best career period at club level was when he played for Parma, where he won a Winners' Cup trophy and two UEFA Cup trophies. In total, Asprilla scored 20 goals in 57 appearances for Colombia national football team.

4. Rene Higuita

Rene Higuita is often named as one of South America's best goalkeepers of all time. Higuita was often discussed by football pundits because of his eccentric playing style. He was not only good at goalkeeping, but also took a role as a libero, even sometimes ran into the opponent's defense and scored goals. Throughout his career, Higuita scored 41 goals. Most of his goals were mostly scored from free-kicks and penalty-kicks.

3. Ivan Cordoba

Considering the number of trophies that were achieved, Ivan Cordoba is the most successful Colombian player in the European League. The player became the mainstay of Inter Milan's defense line in the period 1999-2012. In that 13-year period, Cordoba presented five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia trophies, one Champions League trophy, a FIFA Club World Club trophy. Although he is only 173 centimeters tall, Cordoba is known as a reliable central defender, especially in anticipating the opponents' attack and intercepting their passing flows.

2. Radamel Falcao

Needless to say, Radamel Falcao is one of the best strikers in Europe at this time. He is an example of a perfect target-man; strong, effective, fast, and has high work-rate. During his career at Atletico Madrid in the 2011-2013 period, Falcao won a Copa del Rey trophy, a Europa League trophy and UEFA Super Cup trophy. He also became the top scorer of the Portuguese league and won the competition when he played for FC Porto in the 2009-10 season.

1. Carlos Valderrama

Carlos Valderrama is one of South America's most influential footballer in the 1990s. The playmaker is often aligned with big names such as Maradona and Romario. In addition to the frizzy hair that became his trademark, Valderrama also impressed football fans with his accurate passing, high creativity, and smart-play. He played for Colombia national team from 1985 to 1998 and holds the record for the most appearances with a total number of 111 caps. Valderrama's best individual achievement is winning South American Footballer of the Year in 1987 and 1993.

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