South American football legend Carlos Valderrama is set to visit India later this month. The former Colombian national icon is set to be the guest be the guest of honour on “Mohun Bagan day” which is celebrated on 29 July every year.
Valderrama is slated to be arriving in the city on the 25th this month. While he is yet to get his visa cleared for arrival, sources close to the situation suggest that it won’t really be a problem. He is currently in the United States, where he was commentating during the 2016 Copa America.
The former international is set to visit Basirhat on the 28th to help raise money for Mohun Bagan supporter Bapi Maji and East Bengal supporter Late Alip Chakraborty, who have suffered the wrath of cancer.
The legend will then return the next day to Kolkata to take part in the Mariners’ annual festivities. Mohun Bagan day is celebrated as a remembrance of the Mariners’ famous victory in the 1911 IFA Shield when the Indian side made history defeating the British side Yorkshire Regiment to shock the ruling British regime.
The victory is remembered to be one of the many events that helped build up the nationalist movement that helped India gain independence a few decades later.
One of the greatest ever
The former Colombian number ten enjoyed a stellar career that spanned over two decades, making more than 600 appearances for various clubs. His only forays into Europe remained with Montpellier and a brief spell in La Liga with Real Valladolid. He was also capped 111 times by hi national side, scoring 11 goals during his time.
He was also part of Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996 when he was signed up by Tampa Bay Mutiny.
‘El Pibo’ (The Kid), as he is nicknamed dazzled the world not only with his play but also his dazzling hairstyle.
Known for his technically sound footballing abilities, Valderrama was never the prototypical number 10. Instead, he enjoyed playing as a deep-lying playmaker and one of the best in the world during his time.
For his footballing excellence, he was named as the South American Footballer of the year in 1987 and 1993. He was also named amongst the FIFA 100, a list of player designated to be the 125 best players to have played the game in FIFA's first hundred years of existence.
Valderrama has refused to take any monetary compensation to take part in the noble cause of cancer aid.