Masterclass: Valderrama vs. Hagi

The group stage match between Colombia and Romania at the 1994 World Cup featured Carlos Valderrama and Gheorghe Hagi, two of the late 20th century’s outstanding playmakers. Hagi, nicknamed the Maradona of the Carpathians, was explosive and precise, assisting on Romania’s first goal, scoring the winner, and then assisting on the third in the 89th minute.

Valderrama, meanwhile, was always at the center of Colombia’s possession.

The two players were on opposite career trajectories. Hagi, boosted by an excellent tournament, was on his way to Barcelona by summer’s end. Valderrama would play a final season for Atlético Junior in Barranquilla before returning to the United States to join the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer.

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