South America is losing relevance in football
46 times red! The dirtiest player in football history
Against this man, Sergio Ramos is an angel of fairness.
While the legend of Real Madrid is unmatched in Europe with 26 dismissals and most maps in Real, La Liga, Clásico and Champions League history, he is light years away from being a world record holder.
Gerardo Bedoya can probably only smile at Ramos. The Colombian has the dubious honor of being the dirtiest player in football history.
Bedoya in the Guinness Book of Records
With his 46 red cards in 20 years in the professional business, the "Beast", as he is also known, is even in the Guinness Book of Records.
"When he appears on TV, the presenter often has a red card with him or wears shin guards," said the Colombian journalist Carl Worswick BBC.
"If he sees red, he loses all control"
His "highlights", like a kick against an opponent lying on the ground, can be seen on YouTube, but there is more to the character Bedoya than meets the eye.
"He's the complete opposite of what you'd expect. He's a completely different person off the field than on the pitch. He's an explosive personality there. When he sees red he loses control," said Worswick.
Apparently that applies to himself as a trainer. On his first station as an assistant, he also flew off the field after just 21 minutes.
Big titles and clubs
Between 1995 and 2015 Bedoya played for 14 clubs in Colombia, Argentina and Mexico - including well-known teams such as Boca Juniors and Deportivo Cali.
"El General" was quite a talented player. At home in defensive midfield, he made 49 international appearances for Colombia between 2001 and 2009, including winning the important 1-0 win against Honduras in the Copa America semi-finals with a long-range shot, which made Colombia's only big title possible in the final against Mexico.
He scored 56 goals in a total of 637 professional games. He's also been a legend at Racing in Argentina since 2001. Back then, his 86th-minute equalizer against hated rival River Plate marked the all-important draw that secured Racing its first title in 35 years. In 2012 he helped Independiente Santa Fe to their first championship in 37 years in his home country. "The Santa Fe fans loved him because he always threw himself 100 percent into one-on-one," said Worswick.
Record for the ages
Nevertheless, the red cards in particular remain his legacy. In his second professional position at Deportivo Cali, he collected 14 dismissals in three years.
In 2012 he received red for the 41st time in the Bogotá derby because he hit Millonarios star Yhonny Ramírez with his elbow and then kicked his head. Despite his original defense after the game ("I'm usually not like that"), he was suspended for 15 games.
For comparison: Ramos would still need 20 dismissals at the age of 34 to catch up with Bedoya. Such a player can only be worshiped in South America.
"He was a winner. People always see the negative today. He was a leader and a sensitive person who always helped others. He has a big heart," said his former team-mate Omar Vásquez BBC.
A legend in South America, in the rest of the world of football, the 44-year-old will probably forever be the dirtiest player in football history.
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