The frenzy over the upcoming 21st FIFA World Cup football has already spread worldwide. This world event of football brings joy, pain, tension and madness. It is said that football occasionally plays with the emotion of people, gives pleasure, and stones them with grief. But can football take away people`s life?
Colombia`s Andrés Escobar is a tragic chapter of football. The consequence of this 27-year-old gentle player has darkened the majesty of the football. This Colombian star has been the victim of football frenzy and the millions of dollars gambling running behind it.
In 1994, the World Cup was held in the United States. Carlos Valderrama`s Colombia stepped in the US as the group champion after beating Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, in the World Cup Selection fixture. In that World Cup, many considered Colombia as of the top favorites. Colombians lost 3-1 in their first World Cup match against Romania in an unexpected way. Naturally, the pressure on this Latin team intensified for the knockout stage. The second match was against the hosts US. So the pressure on them was somewhat more than the other time.
June 22, 1994. In front of 93,689 spectators at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Colombia called on to play in their second match against the United States. But only 35 minutes after the start of the match Andrés Escobar scored a suicidal goal and that goal was enough to take his life away. After losing the match to the United States with a score of 2-1 Colombia got eliminated from the tournament and with this elimination Escobar`s fate was also determined.
July 2, 1994. One of the darkest days in the history of football. Escobar was killed in a short time after returning home. A group of Mafia murdered him in his hometown Medellín by shooting 21 bullets. Mafia Don Santiago Galen said that the gamblers incurred losses worth $ 7 million due to Escobar`s own goal.
The aftermath of this clean player`s murder was unaccountable. It tarnished the country`s image internationally. After hearing about Escobar`s fate, the Italian referee of that match Fabio Baldas also ended his career. Perhaps the tragedy stirred his heart.
The entire Columbia was stuck for a while. State mourning was announced on July 3, 4 and 5. Stoned with grief Colombian star player Carlos Valderrama, Faustino Asprilla retired from the national team. As a result, Colombia could not qualify for the four World Cups until the 2014 World Cup.
Andrés Escobar`s fate proves that behind the spectacular light of the world football there is pitch darkness which is capable of destroying one`s entire career and even taking one’s life.