He arrived at Inter in January 2000 and immediately won a starting spot in the heart of the Nerazzurri defence, also featuring at full-back. He was no taller than 1 metre 75 but his special jumping ability allowed him to win aerial duels against forwards 20 centimetres taller and he also scored a number of goals. His physical and personal qualities made him a favourite of the fans and his teammates. Because of this, all of the Nerazzurri players wore his number two shirt to pay tribute to him at San Siro for his final match. That was in May 2012 in a derby that Inter won 4-2. The best way to end his career.
Cordoba would take on his opponents on and off the pitch with the same lack of fear, giving his all. In 2005, he found the ‘Colombia te quiere ver’ foundation for disadvantaged children in his hometown of Rionegro. This is just one of many charity initiatives set up by Cordoba.
There are players who are not just remembered for what they did on the pitch but also for what they did off it. Ivan Ramiro Cordoba is one of those. His was an extraordinary career. He spent 13 seasons at Inter, conquering Italy, Europe and the world. But, to understand who he really was, it’s enough to read one of his comments after retirement. “I was never afraid of anybody, a true defender, as a person, you can be afraid of illnesses, war or poverty in the world but certainly not attackers.”