Until Italy 90, say Colombia it was to say Willington Ortiz. He was all human and divine in Colombian football. But then a generation was born which, although born in this country, became continental: Valderrama, Iguarán, Álvarez, Asprilla, Rincón. The big corner. the colombian icon Freddy Rincon worries world football after suffering a serious accident that puts his health at risk. Today we will remember his most memorable moments in the Colombian national team and his great friendship with Roberto ‘Chorri’ Palacios.
Talk about Freddy Rincon is to go back in time and remember the World Cup in Italy 90 and that Colombian selection which thrilled everyone. The team led by pacho maturana Yes ‘Bolillo’ Gomez faced the German team in the last game of the group stage, after playing against the United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia, adding a win and a loss.
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This meeting was crucial since it was a question of reaching the knockout stages of a World Cup after 28 years of absence. The Germans, under Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann, were favorites to win the World Cup. This July 19 at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan lives on in the memory of an entire generation. “The first great emotion that Colombian football gave me was Freddy Rincón’s goal with a pass from Pibe Valderrama against Germany in the 90 World Cup in Italy”tells us Rafael Castillo, editor-in-chief of El Heraldo de Barranquilla.
A goal from Pierre Littbarski puts the Europeans on the scoreboard, ending the coffee growers’ hopes. Colombia continued to attack and already in stoppage time a superb play by ´Pibe´ Valderrama resulted in an assist for Rincón, who took advantage of the departure of German goalkeeper Bodo Illgner and scored the equaliser. A goal that was shouted by all of South America.
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Without a doubt, Rincón’s goal against Germany, which will be crowned champions a few days later, is one of the most important goals in the history of Colombian football. During the 2014 World Cup, after James’ goal against Uruguay, the debate opened in Colombia on which of the two goals had been the most important, according to Pablo Romero, journalist for the newspaper El Tiempo in Bogotá. Moreover, he adds that “Freddy Rincón’s celebration of that goal is one of those we remember the most. His photograph from the front with his arms in his fists and shouting that goal, was the cry of the whole country”.
Freddy Rincon Together with Asprilla, Valderrama and Higuita, they sum up the golden generation of Colombian football of the 90s who managed to participate in three consecutive world championships and dazzled the whole world with their excellent game. Today, Colombians speak with pride of those footballers who filled them with joy. “For those of my generation, having been able to see these players is something that still moves us”Castle adds. Also keep in mind that Rincón wasn’t the best known or most popular player in Colombia but this goal against Germany made him a symbol of his country.
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For his part, Romero tells us that if it is true that Colombian team he had ‘Pibe’ Valderrama as a genius, he also had Rincón as a fundamental piece for the deployment of this team. “The ‘Pibe’ did not play alone in the midfield of ColombiaHe had by his side Corner who went up and down, in addition to playing very well. They helped Colombian football improve. Which team helped make Colombia look better? Them, then. made famous by Colombia”says ‘Chorri’ Palacios, a great friend of Rincón.
After the euphoria of the World Cup in Italy 90, a new and difficult South American Qualifiers were about to begin in preparation for the USA ’94 World Cup. On August 29, 1993, the fifth meeting will be played against Colombia and Peru in El Metropolitano. Maturana’s team would win 4-0 with goals from Iván René Valenciano, Freddy Rincón, Alexis Mendoza and Wilson Pérez, putting the “Tricolore” at the top of the group after the draw between Argentina and Paraguay. A week after, Colombia would qualify for the World Cup beating the albiceleste 5-0 at the Moumental stadium with two goals from Rincón, two from Asprilla and the closure of the party Adolfo Valencia, leaving the Argentines on the verge of elimination.
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Rincón’s strong performance quickly caught the attention of major European teams. After great displays in Brazilian football, Napoli signed him and took him to Italy for his first experience on European soil, where he played 28 games and scored seven goals. In 1995, Jorge Valdano, then manager of Real Madrid, set his sights on Rincón and asked for his signature in exchange for 4 million euros, a fortune at the time. In this way, Freddy Rincón became the first Colombian player to join the ranks of the Spanish team.
A year later, Real Madrid landed in our capital to face Alianza Lima, in a friendly match as part of their South American tour. On June 12, 1996, the two teams will face each other at the National Stadium. A Real Madrid full of stars and among them Freddy Rincón. The triumph would finally be for the white club with a goal from Snaider.
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After his European experience, Rincón returned to Brazil determined to continue his great career and prepare for the Qualifiers of France 98, this is where he would coincide with ‘Chorri’ Palacios, who arrived in Cruzeiro in 97. A friendship that started in the short but it lasts until today. “That’s where the friendship started to grow because just because we’re from different countries doesn’t mean we can’t be friends,” says ‘Chorri’.
A friendship that for Palacios is very important to this day, since they came out of the field to share a program called “The Football Corner” that touches different parts of the world. El ‘Chorri’ describes Rincón as a great person, “incredible human quality, no one can doubt that and a great friend of mine. As a commentator he was direct, confrontational, he didn’t hide anything,” he says.
Today, the delicate state of health of Freddy Rincón worries not only a country but a whole generation of football fans around the world, who hope for his speedy recovery and look back with anticipation on those glorious days of a team that made a whole country dream.