Pablo Escobar (1949 – 1993) was a notorious Colombian drug lord with immense wealth and political power. "The King of Cocaine", was considered to be the wealthiest criminal in history, and among many of his excesses was fanatical about Colombian football. El Mágico (The Magician) had a passion for the game and regularly played 5-a-side football with his associates. Socially, he built football pitches in poor areas and sponsored children's football teams all the while engaging in violence and drug-trafficking. It is also reported at his opulent ranch estate, Hacienda Napoles, he and other drug lords, watched private games between professional teams. Often picking the players from different professional teams and betting millions of dollars on the outcome.
In the 1980s, Escobar became associated with Atletico Nacional, a pre-eminent club from his home city of Medellin, like other cartel boss he used his investment in the football club to launder drug money . Atletico Nacional won the 1989 Copa Libertadores (South American Champions League).
Escobar liked his team to win and when it was rumored a rival cartel boss had bribed the referee he ordered the assignation of the match official. Alvaro Ortega was assassinated in November 1989. In his later years, when Escobar was on the run from the authorities, he would only wear his football boots so he could make a quick escape. It is reported the Nabob anf Narco- football died wearing his football cleats, although photographs appear to show the deceased master criminal barefooted.
Frederick H (2015) Pablo Escobar and the Creation of “Narco-Football”