The shocking story behind Colombian soccer player who was killed after he scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup

For most players, getting to represent their country at the World Cup is a career-defining moment that they’ll get to look back on with joy for the rest of their lives.

But for Colombia captain Andrés Escobar, his performance in 1994’s World Cup sealed his fate.

Back in the early 90s, Andrés joined his teammates on the pitch as they faced off against the US, ultimately losing the match 2-1.

America only actually scored once on 22 June, though. The first goal of the match was an own goal netted by Andrés, a mistake that outraged Colombia’s football fans.

After returning home, Andrés responded to the backlash in a statement, which – according to The Guardian – read: “Life doesn’t end here. We have to go on. Life cannot end here. No matter how difficult, we must stand back up.

“We only have two options: either allow anger to paralyse us and the violence continues, or we overcome and try our best to help others. It’s our choice. Let us please maintain respect.

“My warmest regards to everyone. It’s been a most amazing and rare experience. We’ll see each other again soon because life does not end here.”

Tragically for Andrés, his life did soon end.

On 2 July 1994, at around 3am, Andrés was sitting alone in his car after having hit up a few bars with friends in the Colombian city of Medellín.

Colombia captain Andrés Escobar’s performance in 1994’s World Cup sealed his fate. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

An argument between Andrés and three men that approached him ensued and the footballer was ultimately shot six times before being rushed to hospital where he was soon pronounced dead.

The Sun reports that for every shot fired, the assailant would shout ‘goal!’, once for every time the World Cup game’s commentator had shouted the word as the own goal was broadcast.

The paper also reports that upon his return to Colombia, Andrés had been warned by friends to ‘stay low’ because of the anger people felt towards him, however, he is said to have insisted: “I must show my face to my people.”

The day after Andrés’ murder, Humberto Castro Muño – a drug baron bodyguard – was arrested for the killing and confessed to the crime.

It’s thought around 120,000 people attended Andrés’ funeral and the anniversary of his death is marked annually at Columbian football matches.

In 2002, a statue of André was unveiled in the city of Medellín and his legacy lives on to this day.

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