He was eventually killed in a 1993 raid by Colombia forces and United States DEA Agents. Citizens openly celebrated his death. While he was a philanthropist of sorts- he built schools, churches, parks and owned a local football team- Pablo Escobar was a ruthless killer who was determined to distribute his cocaine anyhow he chose and declared civil war on his country when authorities attempted to stop him.
In the same town, there was another Escobar- this one Andres, twenty years younger than Pablo. Both men were not related, only shared the same name. Andres’ only escape from the drug infested area he was from was football. He took it seriously and became one of the country’s best-known players.
Six months later, Andres was part of the highly rated Colombian team that was bound for the 1994 world cup in America. The team lost their first game 3-1 against Romania but had the opportunity to make things right in their subsequent encounter with the hosts the USA. They were clear favourites in that game but as any football fan should know, sometimes football is not an exact science.
After the tournament, many of his teammates announced their retirement. Andres headed home. Although Pablo Escobar was dead at this time, his death led to a proliferation of drug cartels all over the country. Cocaine organizations that were subservient to him during his life now openly controlled many areas of Medellin.
In the early hours of July 2 1994, Andres Escobar was sitting in his car in the parking lot of a nightclub. Three men were said to have walked up to him and started an argument. Before he knew it, one of them had opened fire. The killer shot him three times, reportedly shouting ‘Goal’ each time he fired before driving off. Bystanders rushed the 27-year-old footballer to the hospital where he died within the hour.
His death shook the country to its core. Here was another Escobar who unlike his namesake, was actually trying to bring the country together with his athletic gift. He had paid the price for an error in his duty with his life. More than 120,000 people showed up at his funeral. Till today, he’s still regarded as a hero in that country and a statue was erected in his honour in 2012.
It is commonly said that football should not be a matter of life and death. For Andres Escobar, it turned out to be exactly that- his own death.