Freddy Rincon Died
Photo: Akhbarkora

The former Real Madrid midfielder Freddy Rincon died on Wednesday in Cali after a road accident.

Colombia mourns Freddy Rincon: the former captain of the national team, who spent time with Real Madrid, died at the age of 55 on Wednesday in Cali (southwest), two days after a road accident.

Nicknamed “El Coloso” (“the colossus”), Rincon had been hospitalized Monday in critical condition and operated on urgently for three hours after a violent collision between a bus and the van in which he was traveling.

“Despite all the efforts made by our medical team, the patient Freddy Eusebio Rincon Valencia died today,” said in a statement from the Imabanaco Clinic in Cali, where he had been transferred seriously injured.

Rincon (84 caps, 17 goals) was one of Colombia’s stars at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, a full member of a golden generation that qualified for three co-consecutive World Cup finals (1990, 1994, and 1998), alongside Carlos Valderrama.

During his long career, the attacking midfielder wore the shirts of Real Madrid (Spain), Napoli (Italy), Palmeiras, and Corinthians (Brazil), winners with him as captain of the first Club World Cup in 2000. He also played for Santa Fe and America de Cali in his native country.

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Born in the port city of Buenaventura (southwest), Rincón remained in Colombian memories for his goal in the last minute of the match against Germany (1-1), future world champions, at the 1990 World Cup.

It was the first time Colombia qualified for the knockout stages of a World Cup after a 28-year absence from the finals.

The solid attacking midfielder also scored a memorable double against Argentina (5-0) in Buenos Aires, which helped send Colombia to the 1994 World Cup in the United States. It was the year of his first experience abroad, in Palmeiras, before leaving for Napoli and then attracting the attention of Real Madrid.

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But Rincon spent only one season in the White House, and in 2012, in an interview with the Spanish daily Marca, he spoke of the “very marked racism” he had suffered at Real Madrid.

He hung up the cleats in 2004, after the last season in the jersey of Corinthians, of which he had become an icon.

In August 2013, Rincón had already had a car accident, victim of several injuries, including one to the head.

The circumstances of Monday’s crash are not yet established, with some images suggesting that a traffic light was red and that there may have been speeding by the driver of the bus or van, according to Cali City Hall. But it’s not clear that Rincon was behind the wheel.

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