Mario Yepes

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Mario Yepes
Mario Yepes 02.JPG
Yepes in 2013
Personal information
Full name Mario Alberto Yepes Díaz
Date of birth (1976-01-13) 13 January 1976 (age 45)
Place of birth Cali, Colombia
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position(s) Centre back
Senior career*
1994–1997 Cortuluá 76 (7)
1997–1999 Deportivo Cali 93 (11)
1999–2002 River Plate 76 (6)
2002–2004 Nantes 73 (2)
2004–2008 Paris Saint-Germain 115 (8)
2008–2010 Chievo 63 (1)
2010–2013 Milan 38 (1)
2013–2014 Atalanta 24 (0)
2014–2015 San Lorenzo 31 (0)
National team
1999–2014 Colombia 102 (6)
Teams managed
2016–2017 Deportivo Cali
Representing Flag of Colombia.svg
Copa América
Winner 2001 Team
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mario Alberto Yepes Díaz (Spanish pronunciation:  [ˈmaɾjo ˈʝepes] ; born 13 January 1976) is a Colombian former professional footballer who played as a centre-back. He is well known for his time in Paris Saint-Germain, where he was considered to be one of the best defenders at the time, being dubbed by fans as "Super Mario". [1] [2] During his time in Italy with Chievo, he earned a reputation in the media as a solid and physical old-fashioned man-marking centre-back, known as a "stopper" in Italian football jargon. [3] He served as the captain of the Colombia national team between 2008 and 2014.


Having begun his career in 1999, and having played for the Colombia national team during that period, Yepes is one of only two players that can truly be considered to be part of the late 1990s and early 2000s golden generation of Colombian football which won the 2001 Copa América and ended in 2003, but has also been part of Colombia's present golden generation (which began in 2013). Faryd Mondragón is the other Colombian footballer of the two, but officially retired in 2014. [1] [4] [5]

Yepes began his managerial career with hometown club Deportivo Cali, whom he managed from 2016 to 2017.

Club career

Early career

Mario Yepes started his playing career in 1994 with Cortuluá, as a forward before Cortulua's coach converted him to a libero (sweeper).

Yepes signed for his home town club Deportivo Cali in 1998. He won a Colombian championship with Deportivo Cali. He was part of the squad for the 1999 Copa Libertadores.

In 1999, he joined River Plate in Argentina, where he won two Argentine Primera championships.

In 2002, Yepes moved to Europe, signing for Nantes in the French Ligue 1. After two-and-half personally successful seasons with Nantes, Yepes joined fellow Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain in 2004. Yepes would become a mainstay in the PSG side winning the Coupe de France in 2006 and the Coupe de la Ligue in 2008, though he did not feature in the second final.

In 2008, Yepes joined Chievo in Italy. He signed a new long-term contract in summer 2009. [6]

A.C. Milan

Yepes in action for Milan in 2012 Mario Yepes - A.C. Milan.jpg
Yepes in action for Milan in 2012
Yepes challenging for the ball with Arsenal's Samir Nasri Samir Nasri & Mario Yepes (4867648380).jpg
Yepes challenging for the ball with Arsenal's Samir Nasri

In March 2010, Chievo teammate Sergio Pellissier confirmed that Yepes would join Milan in the summer, when his contract ran out. [7]

Yepes got to Milan in the 2010–11 season but was quickly deployed as a substitute due to the starting centre-back being Thiago Silva. Yepes played few games in the Italian Serie A, but participated in the UEFA Champions League. Yepes was close to scoring with Milan in the UEFA Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur, in which he had two clear chances of scoring with a header, but was denied twice by Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes.

Yepes scored his first goal for Milan on 23 October 2011, where he finished off a comeback against Lecce, scoring the fourth and winning goal for Milan in the 83rd minute to drive the Rossoneri to a 4–3 victory, with Kevin-Prince Boateng scoring a hat-trick to level the scores after a 3–0 losing position.

On 12 May 2012, Yepes signed a one-year extension contract with Milan, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2013. [8] After being an irregular player during the following season, however, Yepes stated that he would not sign a new contract with the club despite being offered the chance, expressing that he needed more "guaranteed" playing time in order to better prepare himself for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He later confirmed that Milan would not offer him as such and his reason for departure. [9] [10] [11]


On 14 July 2013, Yepes signed a one-year contract with Serie A club Atalanta. [12] He made 26 appearances during the 2013–14 season and left the club at the end of the term.

San Lorenzo

On 13 September 2014, Argentine Primera División club San Lorenzo announced the signing of Yepes on a deal valid until the end of 2015. [13] On 20 January 2016, he officially retired from professional football, joining Deportivo Cali as manager four months later. [14]

International career

Yepes heading the ball against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and Colombia match at the FIFA World Cup 2014-07-04 (12).jpg
Yepes heading the ball against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Yepes has played 102 matches for the Colombia national team since his debut in 1999, making him the second-most capped Colombian player of all time, after Carlos Valderrama. [15] He was part of the Colombia squad that won the Copa América in 2001. [16] and was also in the squads for three other editions of the tournament in 1999, [17] 2007 [18] and 2011.

During the team's 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Yepes made 12 appearances as Colombia qualified for its first finals since 1998. In the final qualifying match, Yepes scored both goals in a 2–1 victory against Paraguay. [15]

Due to his age during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Yepes expressed his passion for the national team and wanting to retire either after the World Cup qualifiers or during the 2014 World Cup. José Pékerman promised to meet with his retirement request. On 17 December 2013, Yepes announced that he would retire after the 2014 World Cup. [19]

On 14 June 2014, Yepes made his first appearance in the FIFA World Cup finals stage at age 38, captaining Colombia to a 3–0 win over Greece in Belo Horizonte. [20] Yepes was the oldest outfield player at the 2014 World Cup, and the second-oldest overall, after compatriot Faryd Mondragón. [21]

On 19 June 2014, Yepes earned his 100th cap for Colombia in the second group stage match against the Ivory Coast, becoming the third Colombian player to reach the milestone after Valderrama and Leonel Álvarez. [22] He led Colombia to its best ever World Cup performance as they reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, where they lost 2–1 to tournament hosts Brazil. [23]

Managerial career

In late April 2016 Mario Alberto Yepes was named as manager of Deportivo Cali, which became his first managerial experience. Yepes came to replace Fernando "Pecoso" Castro, who had been dismissed for the poor recent results, especially the early elimination of Copa Libertadores and the farewell of the event at the hands of Boca Juniors with a 6–2 rout. Yepes's coaching team had Freddy Hurtado and Julián Barragán as assistants, and Daniel Curbelo as physical trainer. During his period as coach, Deportivo Cali was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the domestic league twice (at the hands of Independiente Medellín in the Apertura and Atlético Bucaramanga in the Finalización), and qualified for the 2017 Copa Sudamericana. However, a streak of poor performances in the start of the 2017 season plus a poor record while playing away from home, led to his exit from the club on 9 March 2017. [24]

Personal life

Yepes is married to Colombian Carolina Villegas. [25] Yepes and his wife have three children, his son Luciano Yepes was born in May 2002, [26] his second son Valentino Yepes was born on 23 September 2012, and his daughter Miranda Yepes was born in April 2005. [26]

Career statistics


As of match played 19 November 2015 [27]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueNational CupLeague CupContinentalTotal
Cortuluá 1994 Categoría Primera A 4000000040
1995 Categoría Primera A150000000150
1995–96 Categoría Primera A404000000404
1996–97 Categoría Primera A173000000173
Deportivo Cali 1997–98 Categoría Primera A324000000324
1998–99 Categoría Primera A486000000486
1999–00 Categoría Primera A1311200000251
River Plate 1999–00 Argentine Primera División 292000000292
2000–01 Argentine Primera División332010000333
2001–02 Argentine Primera División142000000142
Nantes 2001–02 French Division 1 110100020140
2002–03 Ligue 1 332000000332
2003–04 Ligue 1290420021353
Paris Saint-Germain 2004–05 Ligue 1323310040394
2005–06 Ligue 1324400000364
2006–07 Ligue 1241400030311
2007–08 Ligue 1270400030310
Chievo 2008–09 Serie A 320000000320
2009–10 Serie A311100000321
A.C. Milan 2010–11 Serie A130200020170
2011–12 Serie A111000000111
2012–13 Serie A140110030181
Atalanta 2013–14 Serie A240200000260
San Lorenzo 2014–15 Argentine Primera División310100070390
Career total580363950021164042


As of 19 June 2014 [28]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National teamYearAppsGoals
Colombia 199930
Scores and results list Colombia's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Yepes goal.
List of international goals scored by Mario Yepes [29]
120 June 2003 Stade de Gerland, Lyon, FranceFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 2–13–1 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup
217 November 2004 Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez, Barranquilla, ColombiaBandera de Bolivia (Estado).svg  Bolivia 1–01–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
330 May 2005 Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, United StatesFlag of England.svg  England 1–22–3 Friendly
423 June 2007Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez, Barranquilla, ColombiaFlag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador 2–13–1Friendly
515 October 2013 Estadio Defensores del Chaco, Asunción, ParaguayFlag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay 1–12–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification


As of 27 August 2014 [30]

Deportivo Cali

River Plate

Paris Saint-Germain

A.C. Milan

San Lorenzo


See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 "Mario Yepes offered – Chronicle". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  2. "Passato glorioso di Super Mario Yepes" . Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  3. Sebastiano Vernazza (15 April 2019). "Chievo, ciao Serie A. La nostra Top Undici gialloblù" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  4. "Yepes: We'll be raring to go". 15 April 2011. Archived from the original on 19 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  5. "Mario Yepes será el capitán de Colombia". (in Spanish). Terra Networks, S.A. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  6. "MARIO YEPES ANCORA IN GIALLOBLU'" (in Italian). 15 July 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2009.[ dead link ]
  7. Vince Masiello (30 March 2010). "Chievo Captain Sergio Pellissier Confirms That Mario Yepes Will Join Milan'". Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  8. "Yepes signs one-year extension with A.C. Milan". 12 May 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  9. "Mario Yepes announces AC Milan split - Tribal Football".
  10. "Yepes confirms Milan exit - Football Italia".
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. Yepes to join Atalanta
  14. "Ex-Colombia captain Mario Yepes retires from football". ESPN FC. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  15. 1 2 "Mario YEPES". FIFA. Archived from the original on 9 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  16. rsssf: Copa América 2001 Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. rsssf: Copa América 1999 Archived 9 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  18. rsssf: Copa América 2007 Archived 23 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  19. "Mario Yepes se retiraría después del Mundial".
  20. "Colombia 3-0 Greece". BBC. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  21. "World Cup stats: The tallest, youngest and most prolific players in Brazil". 360°. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  22. "World Cup: Colombia beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in Brasília to close on last 16". FIFA. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  23. "Colombia Taps World Cup Fever to Urge Guerrilla Defections". Bloomberg. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  24. "Confirmado: Mario Yepes no continuará como técnico del Deportivo Cali" (in Spanish). El País. 9 March 2017.
  25. "Mario Yepes "La muralla"". (in Spanish). 10 March 2005. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2013., "Querido, te sigo donde vayas". Olé (in Spanish). 10 July 2000. Archived from the original on 22 July 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  26. 1 2 "[Milan] Noticias". (in Spanish). 4 February 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  27. "Colombia – M. Yepes". Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  28. "Yepes, Mario". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  29. "Mario Yepes International Statistics"., Retrieved on 16 July 2014
  30. "Mario Yepes Trophies". Retrieved 27 August 2014.

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