Legendary Colombian footballer Rene Higuita shed some light on the details about his encounter with Escobar in the ‘La Catedral’ prison and his relationship with the notorious kingpin.
Higuita also said he was offered the chance to inform on Escobar when he was arrested for his role in a kidnap – but turned it down, serving time in prison instead.
In a recent interview with Bocas Magazine he said: “I was sort of friends with him, but with that ‘sort of friends’ everyone wanted to peg me as their pal.
“In fact, the person I was actually friends with was Don Roberto Escobar (Pablo’s brother).
“Pablo Escobar was an acquaintance, he reached Congress and later when he left there, he went underground and went to prison.
“He was not a politician anymore and was only a drug trafficker and nobody had anything to do with him.
“As I was the face of Colombia at the time… I became more humanitarian and thought how prison leaves a person lonely.”
The former goalkeeper went on to say: “One cannot change the beginnings of a friendship. I have made many friends and several have been drug traffickers, I cannot change that.
“I met paramilitary soldiers, I also met guerrilla fighters and from the bottom of my heart, the things they have told me have given me respect for them, as they have shown me respect… I live at ease and I live in peace.
“I am a friend of everyone.”
Higuita was reportedly offered the chance to inform on Escobar and walk away free when he was detained for being the mediator in the kidnapping of the daughter of one Escobar’s associates.
He decided to reject the offer and said he could “not be judged for being a snitch. I am the type of guy that does not have problems”.
He served nine months in prison.
When Higuita was asked if given the opportunity to visit Escobar again he said he would do it, saying: “Today, tomorrow and always and if given the authority I would visit all jails”.
Higuita remains a famous figure, largely thanks to his scorpion kick at Wembley during a friendly in 1995.