Andre Escobar

Football, Drugs and Escobars of Colombia : Craziest Moments in the History of the World Cup

Escobar was a name that instilled fear among the Colombian Government and people. Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria known for his drug trafficking and ruthless murders was always on the hitlist of CIA and DEA. But the people from Medellin(Escobar’s hometown) worshiped him for his philanthropic deeds and Pablo for his part gave them houses and jobs. He was the head of the Medellin drug cartel one of the busiest drug gangs in the world making him the seventh richest man of the time. Escobar loved football as much as his drugs .He owned Atlético Nacional they went on to win Copa Libertadores a club championship of South America.He built Practice pitches in the town and a lot many footballers who turned out to play for the National side used to train there. Pablo would occasionally join them in a match. He is said to have been a left-footed player and preferred playing in the right wing. Escobar also invested in Nacional’s city rivals, Deportivo Independiente Medellin (DIM), and was regularly in the stands for games at their shared Estadio Atanasio Girardot. The budget bonanzas were mirrored elsewhere, too, as fellow drug lords saw the value. Pablo’s associate Jose Gacha (‘El Mexicano’) ploughed funds into the Bogota-based Millionaires, while Escobar’s rival Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, head of the Cali cartel, bankrolled America de Cali.
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Colombian football reached new heights under the money which kept their players from moving elsewhere. Escobar was eventually killed by the National Police of Colombia.There were other Drug groups and Vigilantes that conspired behind tracking Pablo like the Los Pepes “Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar”(“Persecuted by Pablo Escobar”) who shot down Pablos’s men. Pablo hunted down from all the sides finally was shot at the hands of the Colombian police. Colombia had a great run in qualifying for the 1994 USA World cup. They defeated Argentina 5-0 in the last match which received appreciation even from the Argentinean crowd. Going into the World cup Colombia had huge expectations from their home fans .They lost their First match to USA. An own goal from the deflection of captain Andres Escobar proved to be costly rather fatal as Colombia lost 1-0.They lost the next match against Romania and their last against Switzerland bowing out of the tournament. A huge disappointment of course but things were about to get worse.
“At full stretch in an effort to cut out a low, curling John Harkes cross into the penalty area from the inside left, Escobar made contact with the ball and sent it rolling past the hopelessly wrong-footed Córdoba and into his own goal. Following a few seconds of quiet reflection as he lay flat on his back with his head in his hands contemplating the first own goal of his professional career, the stony-faced Escobar rose to his feet, glanced to his right and walked slowly towards the halfway line.”
“He had to make a play on the ball and unfortunately it went in,” said midfielder Alexis Garcìa. “I saw Andrés’s face and felt deep pain. It was like a premonition.”
On his return to Colombia, Andres wrote a column titled “Life doesn’t end here”on El Tiempe a newspaper in Colombia. Andres wrote:
“Life doesn’t end here. We have to go on. Life cannot end here. No matter how difficult, we must stand back up. We only have two options: either allow anger to paralyze us and the violence continues, or we overcome and try our best to help others”
One night five days later from his return to Colombia when he was at a bar venting out a group of men which later came to identified as the Gallon Brothers shot him down.
The gallon Brothers were former members of Medellin Cartel who later switched sides o the Pepes. Colombia lost their second Escobar. Many Colombian people attended his final procession demanding Justice. There were many speculation about the the murder but one of Gallon’s men was arrested and was imprisoned for 43 years which later reduced to 11 years owing to good conduct.Nevertheless the Gallon brothers were released of the charges. Andres Escobar to date is remembered for scoring the fatal own goal that cost him his life.It took an another 16 years for Colombia to qualify for the World Cup Finals. They have come a long way from the fatal death and the team looks good as ever now with the likes of James Rodriguez, Falcao, David Ospina, Carlos Bacca, Cuadroda in their ranks, one can expect Colombia to put up a stellar performance this year.  
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