Carlos Valderrama was a celebrated Colombian Footballer of the 90s, and one of the most famous players to have come out of La Selección. He is a legend in his own country, as many consider him to be one of the best midfielders that ever played for Colombia. Currently he coaches at an Ligue 2 club, but he had a glorious playing career in France, from 1998 to 2003. He began his playing days with local giants Millonarios, where he spent two years. After two years with Millonalias, VV took his talents to Europe and signed for AS Monaco FC in the summer of 1998 for €4 million. At AS Monaco VV was not given much game time early on in his career due to Monaco’s star-studded midfield already consisting of Radamel Falcao, Emmanuel Petit and Sebastien Frey. However once Petit left for PSG VV became a regular fixture in the starting XI and even captained AS Monaco at times during this period. His time there also saw him win their Player of the Year award twice (1999 & 2000) as he really came into his own at the club under manager Didier Deschamps. In January 2003 after only 3 years with AS Monaco due to differences between player and club over contract renewal terms VV moved on to French rivals Toulouse FC where he would play until December 2007 before moving on again this time to Brazilian side Atlético
How did Carlos Valderrama play?
Carlos Valderrama was a midfielder who played just off the front two, meaning that he was a perfect attacking midfielder. He was known for his free-kick ability from which he scored many important and crucial goals for his club. He was also a very intelligent player who knew where to be to receive the ball and where to be to create space for his team-mates to get into the final third. He was also known for his positioning and his ability to read the game well, which enabled him to make many successful interceptions and tackles. In the early days of his career Carlos Valderrama played as a box-to-box midfielder, but as his career progressed he was often deployed as a defensive midfielder, which is where he played his best football. His height was also a useful asset for him in this position as he was able to win many headers and make dangerous tackles, which helped his team win many tackles and corners.
A love for the game
Carlos Valderrama did not play football just for the sake of it, he played football because he loved it. His love for the game was reflected in his play and he was always eager to learn new tricks and skills from his coaches and team-mates. he was also frugal with his time, training hard and being attentive to every single detail of his game. He was also a very good leader, showing his team-mates the passion that he had for the game, this is why he was so highly gifted.
Playing Career in France
Carlos Valderrama got his first taste of European football with AS Monaco FC in the 1998/99 season. After a great start to his career with Monaco he was signed by French champions, Olympique de Marseille in the summer of 1999 for €3.5m. Valderma was one of the most expensive players to have ever come out of Colombia that was why he was so highly valued by all the clubs he played for. As a player for OM he played in a variety of positions ranging from attacking midfielder to playmaker to number 10 and central midfielder. He played alongside top greats such as Didier Drogba, Stéphane Guivaneau, Youri Djorkaeff, Christophe Dugarry and Marcelo Zalayeta meaning that he was able to play under some great managers and play alongside some great footballers. Despite playing a wide range of positions for OM he was still not happy as he wanted a regular spot in the starting XI and be in the centre of the park where he could be more effective and make more of an impact. He was then then transferred to Toulouse FC in January 2003.
A legend on and off the pitch
A legend is someone who has left an impression on the world with their actions, words and deeds. This is certainly true of Carlos Valderrama, who left a lasting and indelible mark on the people of his native Colombia and the football world. He was a humble and honest man who always told the truth and was afraid of nothing. He was also extremely intelligent and was awarded a law degree. This was not just lip service, he used his degree in order to help him in his career, not just as a football player but also once he had retired from the game. After a turbulent career at Monaco and then at Toulouse FC Carlos Valderrama retired from football in December 2007 and returned to his home town of Bogota. He was so loved and admired in his home country and he did many charity and community work once he retired. He also worked with young footballers and helped them to succeed in their professional football careers by teaching them all the tricks and skills they should know, this meant that he was never truly retired from the game.
Post playing career: Return to Colombia and coaching career
Carlos Valderrama returned to his home town of Bogota after he retired from football and became a very successful football manager. He was appointed as the manager of Millonarios and he led them to many important titles and made them a dominant force in the Colombian league. He also coached the Colombian U-17 national team, who he led to victory at the 2011 U-17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago. His coaching career has not been limited to his native country, as he coached teams in Spain too. In Spain he coached Deportivo Alavés and then in 2015 he coached Cogolin in the Colombian second division. In Colombia he was appointed manager of his old club Atletico Nacional in 2017 and he is still currently in charge of his native side.
Carlos Valderrama was a truly gifted footballer who made his mark on the game with his skill, passion and hard work. He was a legend in his home country Colombia and he played alongside some of the best footballers in the world in France. He was a humble and honest man who always told the truth and would go down in history as one of the greatest Colombian Footballers of all time.