The Life and Times of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga

Early life of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga was born in Medellin on the 13th day of March 1967 by Darío Escobar. His father, a banker founded an organisation that gives young people the opportunity to play football instead of being on the streets. Andrés attended Colegio Calasanz and graduated from Instituto Conrado González.

While in school, he participated in school football teams before becoming a professional football player. He was a Colombian footballer and he played as a defender.In his lifetime, he played for Atlético Nacional, BSC Young Boys, and the Colombia national team. He was nicknamed The Gentleman for his clean style of play and calmness on the pitch.

Escobar scored an own goal in Colombia’s second group match against the United States during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. He was stretching to block a cross from American midfielder John Harkes when he deflected the ball into his own net. The United States took a 1–0 lead and ended up winning 2–1.

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Story of unfortunate death of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga

After the tournament, he returned to Colombia. On the evening of 1 July 1994, five days after the elimination of Colombia from the World Cup, Escobar went to a bar in the El Poblado neighbourhood in Medellín with his friends. Then they went to a liquor store. Shortly afterwards, they arrived at the El Indio nightclub. His friends split up. At about 3:00 the next morning, Escobar was alone in the parking lot of El Indio, in his car, when three men appeared. They began arguing with him. Two of the men took out handguns. Escobar was shot six times with a .38 calibre pistol.

It was reported that the killer shouted “Goal!” after every shot. He did this once for each time the South American football commentator said it during the broadcast. The group then drove away in a Toyota pick-up truck, leaving Escobar to bleed to death. Escobar was rushed to the hospital where he died 45 minutes later.

Aftermath of the death of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga

The murder was widely believed to be a punishment for the own goal. Escobar’s funeral was attended by more than 120,000 people. Every year people honour Escobar by bringing photographs of him to matches. In July 2002, the city of Medellín unveiled a statue in honour of his memory.

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga

Reports have it that Humberto Castro Muñoz, a bodyguard for members of a powerful Colombian drug cartel, was arrested on the night of 2 July 1994. He confessed the next day to the killing of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga. Muñoz also worked as a driver for Santiago Gallón, who had allegedly lost heavily betting on the outcome of the game. He was found guilty of Escobar’s murder in June 1995. He was sentenced to 43 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 26 years because of his submitting to the ruling penal code in 2001.

Humberto was released on good behaviour due to further reductions from prison work and study in 2005 after serving approximately 11 years. His three accomplices were acquitted.

As part of the 2009–2010 documentary series 30 for 30, ESPN broadcast “The Two Escobars”, by directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist. The beoadcast looked back at Colombia’s World Cup run and the relationship of association football and the country’s criminal gangs. Notable of them all is the Medellín Cartel run by Pablo Escobar (who was unrelated to Andrés). It is suggested in the program that, had Pablo Escobar still been alive, the Gallón brothers would not have targeted Andrés Escobar. It was widely known that Pablo Escobar was a fervent supporter of the Colombian national football team.

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Allegations of corruption on the case

There are also allegations that the Gallón brothers bribed the Prosecutor’s Office to redirect the investigation towards Muñoz as the triggerman – and the Prosecutor’s Office contends that Muñoz was simply following orders from the Gallón brothers – but prosecutors lacked credible evidence to convict them.

Pamela Cascardo, the girlfriend of Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga, believes that the accusation of the Gallón brothers’ bribery of government officials is supported by Muñoz’s having killed a national celebrity and serving only 11 years in prison.

In 2013, then-coach Francisco Maturana denied that Escobar’s murder had any connection to football or the World Cup. He said it rather was due to his being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” at a violent time in Colombia’s history. Escobar is still held in high regard by Colombian fans, and is especially mourned and remembered by Atlético Nacional’s fans.

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