David Ospina is the 25-year-old starting goalkeeper for the Colombian national team at World Cup 2014. While most of Colombia’s strikers are grabbing the headlines, the Colombians solid foundations have been built on David Ospina’s great performances.
Here’s what you need to know about Colombia’s unsung hero:
1. Ospina Has Played for OGC Nice Since 2008
After Nice’s goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, moved to Lyon, and went on to become France’s goalkeeper, Nice went out and bought the unknown Ospina from Atletico Nacional in Colombia. The small French club from the south of France beat Boca Juniors and Atletico Madrid for his signature. His transfer fee was around $4 million. In 2012, Turkish team Besiktas unsuccessfully attempted to sign Ospina. At the time of the World Cup, Ospina had made 177 appearances for Nice. Just prior to the tournament, the goalie announced he would become a free agent during the summer of 2014.
2. His Younger Sister is Married to James Rodriguez
Ospina’s younger sister, Daniela, is married to Colombia’s World Cup 2014 star player, James Rodriguez. The couple have been married since 2011, when Daniela was just 18 (Rodriguez was 19). The couple had their first daughter, Salome, born in May 2013. Ospina himself is married to the beautiful Jessica Sterling since 2012. The couple have a daughter together.
3. He’s Been the First Choice Goalie for Colombia Since 2012
The goalie has played for Colombia at under-15, under-17 and under-20 level. His first game for the full-national team came in 2007 against Uruguay. When he played in a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, he was the second youngest goalie to play for Colombia in a World Cup game. He became the first choice keeper for the team at the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. His most famous performance came in a 0-0 tie with Argentina, his display was so good that Argentinian manager Alejandro Sabella singled Ospina out for praise. By the end of Colombia’s successful qualifying campaign, Ospina had let in the least amount of goals out of any other goalie in South America.
4. He Could Make a Move to Arsenal
According to Inside Futbol, English giants, Arsenal, are looking to replace Wojciech Szczesny in goals with David Ospina. Already, two goalkeepers have left Arsenal and everybody knows that Arsene Wenger likes players from the French league. Scouts from the Gunners have been to watch Ospina who amazingly only let in 25 goals in 29 games, with 13 shut outs.
5. When Ospina Moved to France, He Didn’t Speak French
After his 2008 move to Nice, Ospina, who has been described as “shy,” didn’t speak a word of French. Though he had been the first-choice goalkeeper at Atletico Nacional since he was 17. France Soccer Weekly described Ospina as “an excellent shotstopper, aggressive around the box, and fearless in the air against attackers who are regularly bigger and stronger than he is.”