Iván Ramiro Córdoba rose from humble beginnings. Born into a poor family, he grew up playing soccer in the streets of Rionegro, Colombia. After a couple years with the local Rionegro team, he moved to the first-level Atlético Nacional club of Medellín, then to the Buenos Aires--based San Lorenzo de Almagro club. Córdoba's skill at disarming opponents' attacks soon caught the attention of European clubs, and in 1999 he landed with Inter Milan. In a dozen seasons with Inter Milan, Córdoba earned a reputation as one of the world's best defenders. Along the way, he helped the club to a pair of league championships. For Colombians, however, Córdoba will always be remembered for a goal he scored on July 29, 2001. That tally gave Colombia a 1--0 victory over Mexico--and the Copa América title.
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