Rumours tell that a Real Madrid fan once sent a video to the club with highlights of Edwin Congo’s performances in the Colombian League. The club directors did some research, saw that he had scored 30 goals and decided to pay 5.5 million euros to bring Congo from Once Caldas in 1999.
That is probably an exaggeration, but having a look at Congo’s record after signing for Los Merengues, most Real fans would support that story.
The 23-year-old arrived to join a squad where Raul Gonzalez, Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Morientes and Ronaldo filled the forward line and didn’t play a single official match for Los Blancos. Thus, he left on loan to Valladolid, Vitoria de Guimaraes and Toulouse until Real decided to keep him in the squad for the 2001/02 season.
Congo won a Champions League that year without having played a single minute in the season. And he would never play for Real Madrid. That summer he signed for Levante, where he spent four seasons becoming a fans idol. He helped to bring the Valencian team to the first division, where they played one season, with Congo playing 22 games and scoring two goals.
In the summer of 2006 he moved to second division side Sporting Gijon, where he had the best performance of his career with 11 goals in 34 appearances. That convinced first division club Recreativo Huelva to sign him, but he would only play six matches before leaving.
After that, a 31-year-old Congo was unable to get a professional contract and started playing for amateur teams in the Valencia area, such as Olimpic Xativa, la Benissa and Paiporta. He had to combine football with a job as odontologist, which is his profession.
Edwin Congo, the business-man
Congo played 17 games for Colombia national team, scoring three goals, but everybody remembers him as one of the biggest failures in the history of football. At the end of his career, he and his brother Fabio decided to open a Caribbean restaurant in Valencia called Blue Marlin. Their mother was the cook and Fabio the manager.
In 2012 they had to close after the property owner made a complaint for non-payment of the rent. Congo still owes the landlord 12.000 euros. “I always felt bad when asking them for the Money, because I know the crisis affects us all, but they lied to me, they never paid”, she told El Mundo.
Congo left for Colombia without having paid his debt. He returned to his hometown Manizales, where he tried to find a team, start new businesses and even investing in his first club, Once Caldas.
Imagine you are a dentist and an amateur football player who signs for Real Madrid after Florentino Perez watches a few of your goals in Youtube. Imagine you arrive to Santiago Bernabeu and, despite never playing an official match, you are proclaimed winner of the Champions League. A dream come true? Well, don’t stop dreaming, because Edwin Congo story tells that can actually happen.