Bayern Munich newcomer James Rodriguez is the ninth Colombian to try his hand at Bundesliga football. - © imago
Bayern Munich newcomer James Rodriguez is the ninth Colombian to try his hand at Bundesliga football. - © imago
Bundesliga

From Adolfo Valencia to James Rodriguez: Colombians in the Bundesliga

The transfer coup of the summer, James Rodriguez becomes the ninth Colombian national to step through the Bundesliga's illustrious doors after moving to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old playmaker has a seriously good reputation to uphold, but how have his native predecessors fared in the league of the world champions?

bundesliga.com investigates…

Adolfo Valencia (Bayern Munich, 1993-94)

Branded Der Entlauber ('the leaf pruner') by legendary Bayern figure Franz Beckenbauer – his coach at the time -  Adolfo Valencia is perhaps best remembered for the balls he planted in the verdant surrounds of the old Olympic Stadium as opposed to the 11 he hit the back of the net with in 1993/94.

Bayern were crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time in four years that season, but Valencia saw next to nothing of the ensuing title defence.

After the club were ignominiously dumped out of the DFB Cup by Franconian minnows TSV Vestenbergsgreuth, the rangy striker made the last of his 26 Bundesliga appearances in the Matchday 2 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, before being turfed out to Atletico Madrid.

Now 49, Valencia runs a football academy in Bogota, Colombia. "My impression is, when people discuss me they forget the good stuff," he said last year. "But I'm not angry with Beckenbauer [for the Entlauber nickname] – only grateful. He led us to the title. He's allowed to say stuff like that."

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John Jairo Mosquera (Werder Bremen, 2007-08)

Like Soto, John Jairo Mosquera spent the bulk of his career on German soil.

He became the second Colombian to score in the Bundesliga with his strike for Werder Bremen against Energie Cottbus on 24 November 2007, in what turned out to be his third and final outing at Germany's top table.

Mosquera was largely stationed in Bundesliga 2 for the following seven seasons – moving between Wacker Burghausen, Alemannia Aachen, Union Berlin and Cottbus – and registered 22 goals and seven assists in 117 outings.

The itinerant striker, who currently earns his corn in Chile with La Serena, also counts Union Magdalena, Sonderjyske, Gil Vicente, Envigado and Llaneros among his former employers.

Watch: Top five Colombian goals in the Bundesliga

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Faryd Mondragon (Cologne, 2008-11)

Long before becoming the FIFA World Cup's oldest-ever player, three days after turning 43 at Brazil 2014, Faryd Mondragon wrote history as the first South American goalkeeper to play in the Bundesliga.

The Colombian stopper had won multiple titles with Turkish giants Galatasaray, when he joined a Cologne side pushing for promotion from Bundesliga 2 in July 2007.

His leadership skills drove the Billy Goats to the top tier, and his flamboyancy endeared him to football fans in the Cathedral City and beyond.

Mondy's final season in Cologne was arguably his best, with only Manuel Neuer keeping more clean sheets (15) than the Billy Goats' cult hero (12) in 2009/10.

The 54-time Colombia international hung up his gloves in 2014, following stints with MLS side Philadelphia Union and hometown club Deportivo Cali.

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- © gettyimages / Matthias Hangst
- © imago