Freddy Rincon was the first Colombian to play for Real Madrid. He arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu from Napoli in the 1995/96 season. Defined as one of the rising stars in international football, there was a lot of expectation surrounding him.
However, his transfer has always been remembered by Real fans as one of the biggest failures in the history of the club. After one year in which he played 19 games and scored two goals, he was sold to Brazilian Palmeiras.
After that, he would have a long career in Brazilian football, playing for Corinthians, Santos and Cruzeiro, even beating Real Madrid in the 2000 FIFA Club World Cup to win the trophy for Corinthians.
Apart from his stay at Real, he had a successful career, winning two Colombian leagues, one Colombian Cup and four Brazilian league titles. Plus, he was the leader of one of the greatest generations of Colombia national team that qualified for three World Cups in a row.
But, what happened to him after he retired in 2004?
Well, things have not been easy for him outside football. In 2007, he was linked to Pablo Joaquín Rayo Montano’s organization, one of the biggest drug dealers in South America.
After Montano’s detention in Brazil in 2006, investigations by Panama’s public prosecutor’s office revealed that Rincon could have been involved in a crime of money laundering.
Interpol’s international arrest order against Rincon
Interpol issued an international arrest order against him and Rincon was sent to jail in Brazil. He was released after 123 days, having given proof of his properties and businesses.
However, Panama’s public prosecutor didn’t stop investigating him. The court absolved 20 of the 96 people accused in the case, but Rincon was one of the 76 still waiting for a new trial.
After a new trial this year, Rincon’s implication in the case was confirmed and a new arrest order was released.
He never denied his friendship with Montano, but has always maintained that all his wealth and properties come from his earnings as football players and from bank credits.
He is now living with his family in Cali at a friend’s house, while his apartment is being remodelled. He is still in constant talks with his lawyers to try to resolve his problems with Panamanian justice.