Top 10 Best Colombian Players in History

Best Colombian Players in History

Best Colombian Players in History: Colombia is a country that lives and breathes soccer with great passion. Unlike its neighbors, the coffee-growing country has always felt a weakness and an almost unique connection towards football, therefore, it has been the cradle of some of the best players not only in the history of its country, but some of the best a continental level.

Currently, the Colombian team enjoys success and a global recognition never seen before. This, thanks to a large group of players who have managed to stand out at a very high level not only at the national level, but on the big stages of the best clubs in America and Europe. Therefore, they are currently in the 15th position in the FIFA ranking of national teams, reaching 10th place until very recently.

However, summarizing Colombian football with mere current events is an injustice for a country that has enjoyed having players of unmatched quality. Therefore, it is necessary to make a ranking in which we will highlight 10 races.

Best Colombian Players in History

These, for us, are the ten most deserving and outstanding careers in the entire history of Colombian football, so, in our opinion, these are the 10 best players in the history of Colombia.

However, the debate will always be open and you can leave your opinion in the comments section: who have we left out? Who is for you the best in history? We look forward to your reactions and opinions to discuss this exciting football topic with respect!

10. David Ospina:

  • Full Name: David Ospina Ramírez
  • Date of Birth: 31 August 1988
  • Place of Birth: Medellín, Colombia
  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Goalkeeper

To begin with, we have one of the most consistent goalkeepers who have maintained a high level in the history of Colombia. David Ospina is a player who already knows what it is like to play for the best clubs in the world, since he has been through clubs such as Arsenal, Napoli or Atlético Nacional.

He is currently the second player with the most games in the history of the Colombian national team with 105 games, only 6 games away from matching Pibe Valderrama’s mark.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
2007– Colombia 1210

9. Mario Yepes:

  • Full Name: Mario Alberto Yepes Díaz
  • Date of Birth: 13 January 1976
  • Place of Birth: Cali, Colombia
  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
  • Position(s): Centre Back

The ninth place is for Mario Yepes, a defender and captain of those who no longer exist. This great player is well known for his good participation in the 2014 World Cup, however, his illustrious career goes beyond that since he is one of the players who won the 2001 Copa América and is the third player with the most participations in the history of the Colombian national team.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1999–2014 Colombia 1026

8. Leonel Alvarez:

  • Full Name: Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta
  • Date of Birth: 29 July 1965 (age 56)
  • Place of Birth: Remedios, Colombia
  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Position(s): Defensive Midfielder

Leonel Álvarez is the player who takes eighth place in this ranking. This talented pivot and current coach stood out mainly for his good work in South American football, being a figure in the two teams of Antioquia, Deportivo Independiente Medellín and Atlético Nacional.

At the national team level, he is the fourth player with the most games in the history of the Colombian national team. He played a total of 101 games in which he scored just one goal, but his good game and legacy will last forever in the memory of his soccer fans.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–1997 Colombia 1011

7. Rene Higuita:

  • Full Name: José René Higuita Zapata
  • Date of Birth: 27 August 1966
  • Place of Birth: Medellín, Colombia
  • Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
  • Position(s): Goalkeeper

The seventh place in the ranking of the best Colombian players is for another goalkeeper. Rene Higuita was a player who stood out mainly for his peculiar appearance and his particular way of stopping the balls. He is famously remembered for one of the best saves in football history, in which he made a punt with a scorpion kick.

However, his risks and constant games led him to make big mistakes that ended up conditioning his career a bit. However, it would be crazy to make a ranking of the best without adding the best known goalkeeper in the history of the national team.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–1998683

6. Freddy Rincon:

  • Full Name: Freddy Eusebio Rincón Valencia
  • Date of Birth: 14 August 1966
  • Place of Birth: Buenaventura, Colombia
  • Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
  • Position(s): Midfielder

The sixth place goes to Freddy Rincón, a player with a unique talent who unfortunately did not stand out so much in Europe. At the South American level he was one of the best players at the local level and at the international level after passing through various Brazilian clubs.

Mainly his power, career and punching stood out, a characteristic that allowed him to score 169 goals at club level. This Colombian star went through Real Madrid, being one of the pioneers in this until the arrival of James Rodriguez.

However, he did not stand out so much in the merengue club or in his time at Napoli, where he barely reached twenty games. At the national level, he is the fifth highest scorer in history, as well as being the eighth player with the most appearances in the history of the Colombian National Team.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–19988417

5. Willington Ortiz:

  • Full Name: Willington Alfonso Ortiz Palacio
  • Date of Birth: March 26, 1952
  • Place of Birth: Tumaco, Colombia
  • Position(s): Midfielder

Willington Ortíz is the player who takes fifth place in our ranking. This talented forward played mainly in the 70s and is popularly recognized as one of the best Colombians in history.

He is the 12th player with the most goals in the history of the Colombian national team and one of the main references for América de Cali. The runner-up of the Copa América of ’75 has been the highest achievement at the national team level achieved by this player.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–19984912

4. James Rodriguez:

  • Full Name: James David Rodríguez Rubio
  • Date of Birth: 12 July 1991
  • Place of Birth: Cúcuta, Colombia
  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking Midfielder, Winger

The fourth place in our ranking goes to a player who is still active and who continues to amaze the world with one of the best left-handers on the international scene. James Rodriguez is a player who little by little was building his career with a very low profile and a lot of work. This led him to be the figure of the 2014 World Cup, finishing as the top scorer of the tournament.

Thanks to his great performance at Porto, Monaco and his good first season at Real Madrid, James Rodriguez established himself as one of the best players of his generation. However, disagreements with his coach, Zinedine Zidane, ended up hindering James’ career at Real Madrid.

He is currently in the Premier League astonishing Everton fans with his magical left foot. At the national team level, James is the 3rd historical scorer and the 9th player with the most games in the history of the coffee team.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–19988223

3. Faustino Asprilla:

  • Full Name: Faustino Hernán Asprilla Hinestroza
  • Date of Birth: 10 November 1969
  • Place of Birth: Tuluá, Colombia
  • Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
  • Position(s): Forward
  • Attacking: Midfielder

Third place in our ranking goes to a player who is well remembered for his extra-sporting anecdotes and good humor, as well as being a forward with talent and an unbeatable punch. We refer, how could it be otherwise, of Tino Asprilla. This talented player was one of those cases where a poorly furnished head and poor decisions did nothing to build a player who could be the best of all.

Tino stood out mainly at Parma, a club in which he won 5 titles and was an indisputable figure in the Italian club’s successes. However, he is well remembered for an anecdote for which he is fondly remembered at Newcastle: that Hat-Trick against FC Barcelona.

At the national team level, Tino is the fourth historical scorer with his 20 goals in 57 games and was part of that wonderful Colombian team in which figures such as Valderrama, Rincón and Higuita stood out.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–19985720

2. Radamel Falcao:

  • Full Name: Radamel Falcao García Zárate
  • Date of Birth: 10 February 1986
  • Place of Birth: Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Height: 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

Radamel Falcao is a player that every fan of world football knows very well. This talented forward stood out mainly at Porto, who managed to conquer the Europa Legue and then make the leap to Atlético de Madrid, a club in which he was considered the best 9 in the world for many years.

The punch of Tigre Falcao is well remembered in all the places where he played, and the fury and claw with which the balls touched the net made him one of the most sought-after forwards of the moment. However, the big mistake of his career was when he decided to change Atlético de Madrid for Monaco, a club that supposedly would have higher claims than the capital club.

A knee injury ended up weighing down the career of the Colombian 9, who continued to play in the elite of Europe, but never without reaching his best level. He is currently the top scorer of the coffee team and one of the best strikers in the history of the South American country.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–19989735

1. Carlos Valderrama:

  • Full Name: Carlos Alberto Valderrama Palacio
  • Date of Birth: 2 September 1961
  • Place of Birth: Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Height: 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Midfielder

The player who receives the gold medal in our ranking is Carlos “el Pibe” Valderrama. This Colombian midfielder gained his worldwide fame thanks to his great talent and his peculiar appearance. That yellowish mane that was fought on the fields of great teams in Europe and America is one of the symbols of a football of yesteryear that is remembered with great affection.

This player stood out mainly in Deportivo Cali and Junior de Barranquilla, where he played in more than 200 games between both clubs. However, he is well remembered in Spain for his time at Real Valladolid and the funny misunderstanding he starred in with Michel, as well as for his great football performance.

He was recognized as one of the best players on a continental level in 1987 and 1993, and was also the figure in the ’87 Copa América. Pelé recognized him as one of the 100 greatest players in history on his “FIFA 100” list. Possibly one of the most fondly remembered Latin American football legends.

In terms of talent, it is undeniable that Pibe Valderrama is one of the best players in the history of South American football. For this reason, in addition to all the recognitions for his great career, we have made the decision to grant the talented midfielder the first place in our ranking.

National Team Statistics:

YearsMatchesGoals
1985–199811111

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