Leonel Álvarez (footballer, born 1965)

Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta (born 29 July 1965 in Remedios, Colombia) is a former Colombian football defensive midfielder. He played 101 times for the Colombia national team between 1985 and 1997, making him the third most capped player in Colombian international football.[1] He was also the head coach of Colombia national football team [1]. Alvarez is the only coach to have been champion twice with Independiente Medellín.

Leonel Álvarez
Leonel a.jpg
Leonel Álvarez (right) with former Medellín mayor, Sergio Fajardo (left)
Personal information
Full name Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta
Date of birth (1965-07-29) 29 July 1965 (age 55)
Place of birth Remedios, Colombia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1986 Independiente Medellín 189 (3)
1987–1989 Atlético Nacional 42 (0)
1990 América de Cali 0 (0)
1990–1992 Real Valladolid 35 (0)
1992–1995 América de Cali 115 (5)
1996 Dallas Burn 22 (3)
1997 Veracruz 20 (2)
1998–1999 Dallas Burn 48 (0)
1999–2001 New England Revolution 58 (2)
2002 Deportivo Pereira 25 (1)
2003–2004 Deportes Quindío 16 (0)
Total 570 (16)
National team
1985–1997 Colombia 101 (1)
Teams managed
2007 Deportivo Pereira (assistant)
2008–2009 Independiente Medellín (assistant)
2009–2010 Independiente Medellín
2010–2011 Colombia (assistant)
2011 Colombia
2012 Once Caldas
2012 Itagüí
2012–2014 Deportivo Cali
2014 Veracruz
2015–2017 Independiente Medellín
2017–2018 Cerro Porteño
2018–2019 Club Libertad
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Club careerEdit

Álvarez began his career with Independiente Medellín in 1983. In 1989, he was part of the Atlético Nacional team that won the Copa Libertadores in 1989. He won a Colombian league title with América de Cali in 1990 and another in 1995.

He has also played for Veracruz of Mexico and Real Valladolid of Spain.

Álvarez signed with Major League Soccer before the league's inaugural 1996 season, and was allocated to the Dallas Burn. In his year with the team, Álvarez he scored three goals and five assists for the team from a defensive midfield position, and was named as part of the MLS Best XI. Álvarez moved to Mexico for the 1997 season, where he played for Veracruz. He returned to Dallas Burn in 1998, where he recovered his starting position; Álvarez would be an extremely important player in the Burn's central midfield for the next two years, but near the end of 1999, he was traded to the New England Revolution for Ariel Graziani. Álvarez played for the Revolution throughout 2001 before the team decided not to renew his contract for the 2002 season.

Late in his career, he returned to Colombian football, where he played for Deportes Quindío and for Deportivo Pereira.

International careerEdit

Álvarez appeared in a total of 101 games for the Colombia, making his debut on 14 February 1985 against Poland. He appeared for Colombia in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, playing in a total of seven games. Additionally, he played in the Copa América for his native country in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1995.

Coaching careerEdit

He began his coaching career as technical assistant at Deportivo Pereira, one of his former clubs. In 2008, he worked as the assistant coach at Independiente Medellín, the team he began his career with, working as Santiago Escobar's understudy. After Escobar was fired Álvarez was promoted and given his first head coach opportunity. In his debut season as a coach, he helped make Medellín champions. In May 2010 he was named the assistant coach of the Colombia national team. In September 2011, he was appointed head coach of the team, following the resignation of Hernán Bolillo Gómez. He got off to a good start by beating Bolivia, but was sacked on 14 December that year after the Colombian squad recorded a 1–1 draw with Venezuela and a 2–1 loss with Argentina in the World Cup qualifying campaign. In July 2012, he was appointed as Itagui's new coach.

Career statisticsEdit

International goalsEdit

Scores and results lists Colombia's goal tally first.[2]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 June 1987 Estadio Atanasio Girardot, Medellín, Colombia   Ecuador


  1. ^ rsssf: Colombia record international footballers Archived 30 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Mamrud, Roberto (13 March 2004). "Leonel de Jesús Alvarez – Century of International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 7 August 2014.

External linksEdit