The gol that cost him his life

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This is a a true story that happened in Colombia, Medellin in the early 90's when Cocaine was at its peak, and drug cartels had infinite power. A tragedy will happen that will shake the world and change soccer forever.

Cartel bosses in Colombia loved to purchase teams and use them like toys for illegal gambling where millions of dollars where often gambled, but mainly to do money laundering. It was the smartest and best way to do money laundering for one main reason and that is because all tickets that were sold had to be paid in cash, so it was very easy to lie on the books. In one game night they made one million dollars, but instead they lied and recorded two million dollars instead and that way that extra million dollars will be legal money for them to spend without problems. Pablo Escobar owned a team called Nacional de Medellin, Gonzalo Rodriguez a friend and partner in business owned Millonarios from Bogota, and the America de Cali owned by Miguel Rodriguez from the Cartel de Cali the rival cartel.

They needed a way to flip the money around and change it from being illegal money to legal money. Soccer in Colombia was a its highest level, there were so many great players from Colombia and also manyplayers from all over the world. The Cartel bosses had the money to keep the players happy with a high pay so that they would stay, and not take any offers from other teams especially from foreign teams. Andres Escobar played in Nacional de Medellin, he was a player like no other respectful, honest, generous, and humble. In many occasions he will mention to his family that he was not in favor of what Pablo Escobar was doing. Andres Escobar was one of the best players Colombia will ever have, he was part of the team that won one of the most prestigious cups in the world, the Copa Libertadores de America. Andres Escobar also played in the Colombian Nacional Team where he played like no other. The national team in 90's was one of the favorites to win the world cup, because in the South America Playoffs to qualified to enter the world cup, they had to play top teams like Brazil, Argentina, and many others. They played 26 games before going to the world cup and out of those 26 games they only lost one. Andrez Escobar was the captain of the team, who led the team like a true captain.

The national team made it to world cup the first game was against Romania; a game that they lost 3-1. This lost put the Colombian National Team on the floor they felt very sad and confused, but the worst part was that they received dead threats back in Colombia from the drug cartels for loosing the game. The cartels had already killed a brother of one of the players from the Colombian National team, and received more threats if they played certain players for the next match, and if they lost the game as well. The next game was against the United States Colombia had to win to stay and move to the next round, if they lost that game they will be disqualified and go home. The players went into the field scared and hopeless. Many decided that it will be the last time they would play soccer. The team played a great team but it was not enough to win they lost 2-1 against USA with an own goal made by Andres Escobar that was a complete accident it could have happened to anyone. The team devastated after the loss returned to Colombia, all players were threatened by cartels. All the players were very scared of the cartels, and scared to die. All the players stood home and barely went out, but Escobar did not want to be locked up in his house all the time. One night he decide it to go out to a club with some friends, many of his family members told him to stay but he did not listen. That night some guys had being teasing him about the own goal that he scored on his own team. Escobar had a couple of drinks, he was usually calm but he drank he was more outgoing and was not scared to answered back to the insults. All of the sudden one of the guys that he was arguing with pulls a gun and shots him and kills him. Andres Escobar died for scoring a goal against his own team. Many players after this incident decided not to play ever again. The whole world was in shock no one could believe what had happened and the reason why he was shot. Colombia's soccer would never be the same after his Death.

1 Comment

Yes,the enormous potential for making money from under-regulated or illegal gambling by cartels definately creates incentive for these groups to try and influence the outcome. For example I am from Kenya, and whenever our low-rated National Footbal team is about to play the big match, the players get promised alot of money from people in gambling if they win the match and thus beat the odds.

The story in your post is quite sad but I find it interesting that the logic of the groups was that putting extra pressure on an already incredibly pressure-filled situation (The World CUP!!) would somehow help them perform better. I know that certainly would not be the case for me.

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