Latin America has been the cradle of some of the best soccer and baseball players in history; a region that has had boxers who wrote their lines in record books. Cyclists who have left important traces in the main races of the world such as Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana, Martin Emilio Cochise, etc. Athletes who have excelled in both World Cups such as Maradona, Pele, Paolo Guerrero, James Rodriguez to name a few. It should be noted that the female genre has also given cause to speak with talented such as: Mariana Pajon, Katerine Ibarguen, Luciana Aimar.
Roberto Clemente: a great man and baseball player
The Puerto Rican was an outstanding baseball player and an exceptional human being. He developed his career in the Major Leagues between 1955 and 1972. We can describe him as the first Latino star in the Major Leagues. He had a batting average of 317 in more than 10,000 plate appearances. Clemente won four batting crowns, was chosen to play in 15 editions of the All-Star Game and 12 Golden Gloves. Clemente was the first Hispanic American to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown. Outside the field, the solidarity work carried out by Roberto Clemente increased his legend. In December 1972, the Puerto Rican was flying with humanitarian aid for the victims of the earthquake in Nicaragua and his plane crashed off the coast. MLB paid tribute to Clemente by establishing an annual award to praise the selfless work done by baseball players.
Teófilo Stevenson: the most powerful punch in Cuban boxing
He was a formidable Cuban boxer, achieved three Olympic titles (1972, 1976 and 1980) and made history with his devastating punch; in addition, he was three times world champion. Stevenson won 301 of 321 fights over his 20-year career and only one man was able to defeat him twice: the Soviet Igor Visotski. There was some speculation about a possible confrontation between Stevenson (the best amateur boxer) and Muhammad Ali (the best professional boxer); however, that fight never took place and the two men became friends. This boxing legend passed away in 2012, at the age of 60.
Juan Manuel Fangio: Master of Speed
The most successful Latin American driver in the history of Formula 1. This great man won it all on the track and his five world titles (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957) made him a legend of speed. For four decades, Fangio held first place in the F1 championships, until German Michael Schumacher defeated him in 2003. The German driver commented: “Fangio is at a higher level. Your achievements are very important. You cannot take figures like Fangio and compare them with the current development of Formula 1. This comparison is not possible at all. ”
He can be described as the most successful Latin American basketball player in history. Before making headlines in the NBA, “Manu” stood out in the Argentine and Italian leagues. He made his NBA debut in 2002 with the San Antonio Spurs, where he still plays. The Argentine has won four NBA titles: 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. In 2008, he was named Best Sixth Man by the NBA. With the selection of his country, “Manu” obtained the title during the Olympic Games of Athens 2004 and the bronze medal in Beijing 2008; he was also a world runner-up in 2002.
Carlos Alberto “Pibe” Valderrama
He entered the world of soccer from Cali (Deportivo de Cali). Pibe Valderrama, well known among the Colombian fans, has participated in teams such as Montpellier (France), Valladolid (Spain) and Tampa Bay City (United States). In the golden age of Colombian soccer in the 1990s, he played a very important role. Endowed with exceptional technique, good dribbling and extraordinary passing ability. On two occasions he was awarded the Ballon d’Or as the best American player and he was elected the best Colombian player on three occasions.