Former Colombian and Red Bulls soccer legend Juan Pablo Ángel gets us ready for World Cup action
Legendary soccer star Juan Pablo Ángel is the co-host of My New Favorite Futbolista, LX News and Telemundo’s new bilingual podcast introducing the most-inspiring stars of the FIFA World Cup.
Ángel was a striker for leading clubs in his native Colombia, Argentina, England and the United States. He’s the all-time leading Colombian scorer in the English Premier League and Argentine Primera División, recording more than 60 goals for Aston Villa and River Plate across all competitions. Ángel also played six MLS seasons including a stellar career with New York Red Bulls , L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA.
The popular star joined WBGO Studios award-winning podcast SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about the World Cup, his podcast and his amazing career. Ángel says the tournament in Qatar will bring out the best in all the players. The striker represented the Colombian National Team in three World Cup qualifiers.
"It's going to be a very interesting World Cup for so many reasons. For the players' point of view, everybody should be excited. This is the biggest stage for the sport. This is where you obviously want to play. As a children, you dream to take part in a World Cup. But also because the time of the year this World Cup is going to be played, you will think the majority of the players are reaching their peak of their performance to what normally happens that the World Cups come off the back of the end of the season where the majority of the players are tired, so I'm looking forward to it."
My New Favorite Futbolista is available in English and Spanish. The eight-part series is produced by LX News and Telemundo owned stations in partnership with Telemundo Deportes, the exclusive Spanish-language U.S. home of the World Cup. The podcast provides in-depth narratives covering emerging and established international soccer stars who display passion and commitment off the field by helping others, advocating for change and supporting causes important to their communities.
Episodes that have dropped so far include Ecuador’s José Cifuentes, who is fighting to make it easier for soccer players to pursue a formal education and Canada’s Mark-Anthony Kaye, who is using his platform to support single mothers.
Those inspiring stories are what Ángel enjoys bringing to fans.
"I thought it was a phenomenal opportunity. We know a lot about soccer players on the field, but there's little known about what the players stand for or what they want to raise their voices for, so just to get to know their personal stories and what they are passionate about is just the beauty of this podcast."
During this SportsJam episode, Ángel talks about how he is handling his son Tomy being a professional soccer player. He's trying to provide the right advice. When Juan Pablo was growing up his father wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer.
"Back in my time, Doug, it was a little bit different for me, I grew up playing on the streets and it was my passion, but I didn't see myself making a business out of it. I really didn't have a chance to select a team I was going to support. My father, when I was born, just put a jersey on me and I didn't have any choice. Things just started to happen without evening planning it. I wanted to be a fútbol player and then I understood it was a whole new world when you become professional."
Ángel also has fond memories of playing for the fans in New Jersey and New York when he was a star with the Red Bulls in Harrison.
You can SEE the entire SportsJam interview with Juan Pablo Ángel here.