Freddy Rincón, the former Colombia captain, is in a critical condition with severe head injuries after being involved in a car crash in the city of Cali.
Four other people who were in the vehicle that Rincon was driving were also injured following the collision with a bus at around 4.30am. The bus driver was also hurt, according to local authorities who are reviewing CCTV footage of the accident.
“Freddy Eusebio Rincón arrived in hospital this morning with a traumatic brain injury,” Clínica Imbanaco said in a statement. “His condition is very critical.” Laureano Quintero, a director at the Cali hospital, added: “His condition is very serious, taking into consideration the findings in the surgery.”
Colombia’s football federation, the FCF, and his former club Real Madrid sent messages of support to the 55-year-old Rincón on social media.
“The Colombian football federation send all their strength and support to former player Freddy Rincón,” a statement said. “We wish you a speedy recovery and that with God’s help you overcome this difficult situation.”
“From Real Madrid, all of our strength and affection for Freddy Rincón following the accident he was involved in today,” read a statement from the Spanish club. “We send our encouragement and we hope that he overcomes this difficult moment as soon as possible.”
Rincón was a key part of Colombia’s golden generation, who led the national side to three consecutive men’s World Cups in 1990, 1994 and 1998 alongside the likes of Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla. Rincón won 84 caps for his country, scoring 17 goals during his international career.
The midfielder joined Real Madrid from Napoli in 1995 and spent two seasons at the Bernabeu before returning to South America with Palmeiras. He captained the Brazilian side Corinthians to the first club world championship title in 2000, and won national titles with both Brazilian sides, as well as América de Cali in Colombia.
Rincón was involved in a serious car accident in 2013, when a truck he was driving overturned on a wet road between Cali and the city of Andalusia. He required surgery for multiple fractures and sustained a head wound in the accident.