Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio, known as El Pibe, is a Colombian former professional footballer and sports commentator for Futbol de Primera, who played as an attacking midfielder.
23 Facts About Carlos Valderrama
Carlos Valderrama won the South American Footballer of the Year award in 1987 and 1993, and in 1999, he was named one of the top 100 players of the 20th century by World Soccer.
Carlos Valderrama represented Colombia in 111 full internationals and scored 11 times, making him the second-most capped player in the country's history, behind only David Ospina.
Carlos Valderrama played a major role during the golden era of Colombian football in the 1990s, representing his national side in three FIFA World Cups and five Copa America tournaments.
Carlos Valderrama joined Deportivo Cali in 1985, where he played most of his Colombian football.
Carlos Valderrama struggled to adapt to the less technical and the faster, more physical, and tactical brand of football being played in Europe, losing his place in the squad.
Carlos Valderrama then returned to Colombia in 1992 and went on to play for Independiente Medellin, and subsequently Atletico Junior in 1993, with whom he won the Colombian championship in 1993 and 1995.
Carlos Valderrama began his Major League Soccer career with the US side Tampa Bay Mutiny in the league's inaugural 1996 season.
Carlos Valderrama remained with the club for the 1997 season, and spent a spell on loan back at Deportivo Cali in Colombia, before moving to another MLS side, Miami Fusion, in 1998, where he remained for two seasons.
Carlos Valderrama returned to Tampa Bay in 2000, spending two more seasons with the club; while a member of the Mutiny, the team would sell Carlos Valderrama wigs at Tampa Stadium.
In 2001, Carlos Valderrama joined the Colorado Rapids, and remained with the team until 2002, when he retired; his American soccer league career spanned a total of eight years, during which he made 175 appearances.
Carlos Valderrama was a member of the Colombia national football team from 1985 until 1998; he made 111 international appearances, scoring 11 goals, making him the most capped outfield player in the country's history.
Carlos Valderrama represented and captained his national side in the 1990,1994, and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and took part in the 1987,1989,1991,1993, and 1995 Copa America tournaments.
Four years later, Carlos Valderrama led his nation to qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France, scoring three goals during the qualifying stages.
In February 2004, Carlos 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, Ivan Zamorano, and Jose Luis Chilavert.
In 2006, a 22-foot bronze statue of Carlos Valderrama, created by Colombian artist Amilkar Ariza, was erected outside Estadio Eduardo Santos in Carlos Valderrama's birthplace of Santa Marta.
Carlos Valderrama was the only Colombian to feature in FIFA's 125 Top Living Football Players list in March 2004.
Carlos Valderrama appeared on the cover of Konami's International Superstar Soccer Pro 98.
Carlos Valderrama has appeared in EA Sports' FIFA football video game series; he was named one of the Ultimate Team Legend cards in FIFA 15.
Besides his link to videogames, Carlos Valderrama has been present in sports media through his work with Futbol de Primera, Andres Cantor's radio station.
Since retiring from professional football, Carlos Valderrama has become assistant manager of Atletico Junior.
On 1 November 2007, Carlos Valderrama accused a referee of corruption by waving cash in the face of Oscar Julian Ruiz when the official awarded a penalty to America de Cali.
Carlos Valderrama later served as a coach for a football academy called Clearwater Galactics in Clearwater, Florida.