Idol Freddy Rincón died tragically in a Colombian vehicle accident. With remarkable performances for Corinthians in the late 1990s, the former midfielder left his imprint on Brazilian football at the age of 55.
As a tribute to the Colombian’s legacy, we recall some of his most memorable moments in Brazilian football, when he helped construct one of the strongest teams in recent decades and won FIFA’s first global championship. Take a look!
Reinforcement sponsored by Parmalat
Rincón started his professional career with Independiente Santa Fe in 1986, after playing for Atlético Buenaventura, an amateur club from his birthplace. After that, he went to América de Cali, where he played from 1990 until 1993.
His football career in Brazil began in 1994, when he was announced as a signing for Palmeiras, which was sponsored by Parmalat at the time. With the titles of Paulistão and Brasileirão in 1994, he was a success at the club due to a combination of his physical and technical abilities. Rincón made history by being the first Colombian to score for a Brazilian team.
In the same year, he moved to Napoli, Italy, where he excelled before joining Real Madrid. However, his stay in Europe would be brief, and in 1996 he would return to Palmeiras.
Idol in Corinthians
Rincón was revealed as a reinforcement of Corinthians, in cooperation with Banco Excel, after a frustrating journey through Europe and championships with Palmeiras. He had a significant career shift at the time: in addition to playing for the opponent, he was also removed to play as a defensive midfielder.
Rincón unquestionably reached the pinnacle of his career at Timão. The period between 1997 and 2000 was brief, but it was sufficient to establish his name in the annals of Corinthians. He created one of the finest midfielders of his time with Vampeta, Ricardinho, and Marcelinho, and is still recognized by fans.
He stood out in his new position not just for his ability to assist the defence with his excellent ball protection, but also for his incredible ability to move out and emerge in the attack as a surprise element.
Important titles in Timão
Rincón was a member of four major trophies for Corinthians during one of the most successful times in the club’s history. The list starts with the 1998 and 1999 Brazilian championships, as well as the triumph of Paulistão in 1999. The victory in the Club World Cup, the first staged by FIFA, in 2000 was a highlight.
Freddy Rincón had the privilege of hoisting the cup as team captain in front of more than 35,000 Corinthians supporters at Maracanã. Because he switched to Santos in February of that year, it was one of his final outings wearing the club’s jersey. At any case, his name was spelled out in Parque Sao Jorge.
End of career in Santos and Cruzeiro
Rincón performed the same manoeuvre as previously when he left Corinthians to play for a rival, but this time he did not shine in Santos. The Colombian was already 33 years old and couldn’t match his former team’s performance.
Finally, he was still shown on Cruzeiro, but the ticket had been removed as well. He was out of the game for three years until returning to Corinthians in 2004. The hero opted to put up his boots and focus on his coaching career the same year.
He expressed a wish to play for América de Cali, where he starred in the 1990s, in 2013, at the age of 46. The midfielder played a friendly game that represented (for the time being) his last appearance on the field.
He has previously managed various tiny clubs in Brazil and served as an assistant coach at Atlético-MG in 2010, although his time as a coach was short-lived.
Generation that marked an era in Colombia
Rincón has represented Colombia in three World Cups outside of Brazil. Along with Carlos Valderrama, Leonel Alvarez, and other notable personalities, he was part of a group that qualified for the World Cups in 1990, 1994, and 1998.
Colombia were one of the favourites for the 1994 World Cup, however they underwhelmed and were ousted in the group stage. In 1990, the midfielder scored a goal that is still remembered by his compatriots. The squad needed a point against West Germany, and in the 43rd minute of the second half, they surrendered a goal.
Rincón, on the other hand, took advantage of a beautiful play including Valderrama and Fajardo to get in front of goalkeeper Bodo Illgner at 47′. He was cool enough to place a tiny touch between the opponent’s legs and score the qualifying goal at the age of 24.
Rincón’s legacy in football, whether in Colombia or Brazil, will go on forever.