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Carlos Valderrama
Personal information
Full name Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio
Date of birth September 2, 1961 (1961-09-02) (age 48)
Place of birth Santa Marta, Colombia
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981-1983 Unión Magdalena
1984 Millonarios
1985-1987 Deportivo Cali
1988-1990 Montpellier 77 (5)
1990-1991 Real Valladolid 17 (1)
1992 Independiente Medellín
1993-1995 Atlético Junior 82 (4)
1996-1997 Tampa Bay Mutiny 43 (1)
1998 Miami Fusion 22 (3)
1999-2001 Tampa Bay Mutiny 71 (5)
2001-2002 Colorado Rapids 39 (1)
National team
1985–1998 Colombia 111 (11)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio (born September 2, 1961 in Santa Marta, Colombia), also known as El Pibe, is a former Colombian football player. His mass of blond, permed hair made him one of Colombia's most recognisable footballers. Valderrama captained the Colombia national football team in the 1990s during the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups. Between 1985 and 1998 he represented Colombia in 111 full internationals and scored 11 times, making him the most capped player in the country's history. He was the most famous soccer player in Colombia in the team of Rene Higuita, Faustino Asprilla, Freddy Rincon, Adolfo Valencia, Leonel Alvarez, Andrés Escobar and others.



Valderrama began his career at Unión Magdalena of the Colombian First Division in 1981. He also played for Millonarios and Deportivo Cali before joining Montpellier of the French First Division in 1988 to play for Independiente Medellín and Atlético Junior from 1993–96, for whom he won the Colombian championship in 1993 and 1995. In 1996, he went to the US to play for the Tampa Bay Mutiny (1996–97, 2000–01), Miami Fusion (1998–99), and Colorado Rapids (2001–02). While a member of the Mutiny, the team would sell Carlos Valderrama wigs at Tampa Stadium. In Major League Soccer, Valderrama scored relatively few goals (16) for a midfielder, but is the league's second all-time leader in assists (114) after Steve Ralston (121), a former teammate. In 2005, he was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI. He was also named one of the top players of the 20th century by Pelé in 1999.[1]

As a player, Valderrama was known for his excellent field vision.[citation needed] In a match against Germany in the 1990 World Cup, Valderrama assisted Freddy Rincon for a goal which tied the match at 1-1 and sent Colombia to the second round for the first time in its history.

Retirement as player

In February 2004, Valderrama ended his 22-year career in a tribute match at the Metropolitan stadium of Barranquilla, with some of the most important football players of South America, such as Diego Maradona, Enzo Francescoli and José Luis Chilavert.

Valderama has since become assistant manager of Atlético Junior. On November 1, 2007, Valderrama accused a referee of corruption by waving cash in the face of Oscar Julian Ruiz when the official awarded a penalty to América de Cali. Junior lost the match 4-1, which ended the club's hopes of playoff qualification.[2]

Personal life

Valderrama is married and has three children.[citation needed] Valderrama was the only Colombian to feature in FIFA's 125 Top Living Football Players list in March 2004.




France Montpellier HSC

Colombia Atlético Junior

United States Tampa Bay Mutiny


Other recognition

Statue honoring 'Carlos "el pibe" Valderrama' in Santa Marta, Colombia

Valderrama appeared on the cover of Nintendo 64 and Konami game International Superstar Soccer '98, as well as in the PlayStation conversion. In the N64 game, the player based on him is the only one whose name is not similar to the real-life counterpart; instead, he is called "El Pibe". He was also in the computer game "Backyard Soccer 2001".

In 2006 a 22-foot tall bronze statue of Valderrama was placed by the Eduardo Santos stadium in his hometown Santa Marta, created by Colombian artist Amilkar Ariza.


Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Colombia League Cup Total
1981 Unión Magdalena
1984 Millonarios
1985 Deportivo Cali
France League Coupe de France Total
1988-89 Montpellier Division 1 24 1
1989-90 18 1
1990-91 35 2
Spain League Copa del Rey Total
1990-91 Real Valladolid La Liga 17 1
Colombia League Cup Total
1992 Independiente Medellín
1993 Atlético Junior 35 4
1994 18 1
1995 29 0
USA League Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Total
1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny Major League Soccer 23 4
1997 20 3
1998 Miami Fusion Major League Soccer 18 2
1999 4 1
1999 Tampa Bay Mutiny Major League Soccer 27 3
2000 32 1
2001 12 1
2001 Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer 12 0
2002 27 1
2003 0 0
Total Colombia
France 77 4
Spain 17 1
USA 175 16
Career Total


  1. ^ FIFA 100
  2. ^ AP (2007), Valderrama expelled from match for taunting referee with cash, USA Today, 1 November 2007, Retrieved 10 July 2008.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Antonio Alzamendi
South American Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Rubén Paz
Preceded by
South American Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Major League Soccer MVP Award
Succeeded by


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