On March 4, ESPN celebrated the “100 days” milestone to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil with an event in Bogotá, Colombia that unveiled significant expansion of the brand in that country. Among the announcements were the launch of the Colombian edition of ESPN The Magazine and the expansion of Balón Dividido, ESPN’s premier soccer studio program focused on Colombian soccer, to six days a week. But the biggest announcement was the addition of Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama to the renowned talent roster of Balón Dividido during the World Cup.
The soccer icon will bring his vast experience and unique perspective to the show alongside former Colombian soccer star Jorge “El Patron” Bermudez , and commentators Tito Puccetti and Andres Marocco.
Front Row spoke with Valderrama about his new role with ESPN and Colombia’s return to the World Cup:
What is your role with Balón Dividido and ESPN during the World Cup?
I was invited to be part of the show along with a great group of commentators. It is a real pleasure for me to team up with friends and colleagues like El Patrón, Tito, and Andrés; we’ll make a great team. I am sure that we will be sending a positive message about the Colombian national team. We’ll be following the Colombian team including post-game coverage of their matches.
You will have the opportunity to work with your former World Cup teammate from Colombia, Jorge Bermúdez. How do you feel about this?
Yes, I am reuniting with him and it is an honor to work again with Jorge. We know the quality of person that he is and the great experience and knowledge that he has. I think that we will be a wonderful team. I hope our performance with ESPN becomes similar to that we had on the field.
Last time Colombia qualified for the World Cup (1998 France), you were part of the squad. Now 16 years later, what are your expectations for the team?
I am optimistic about this national team. I think that qualifying like they did gives people hope and people are enthusiastic because we have a team that will play well at the World Cup. It will be exciting to follow and report their progress from ESPN’s screen.
Editor’s note: For more on ESPN International and ESPN Deportes’ roster of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil analysts and journalists, click here.