|© UNICEF Costa Rica/2006/Martin|
|Paulo Wanchope leads an attack-minded Costa Rican national squad into the 2006 FIFA World Cup.|
A prolific goal scorer, known for his knack for making something out of nothing, Paulo Wanchope is a magician on the field and beloved by fans across his native Costa Rica.
Born in 1976, Mr. Wanchope had football in his genes. His father played professionally and his three brothers are all football stars in Costa Rica as well. He began his professional career at home in Costa Rica with CS Heridiano in 1995 and soon captured attention halfway across the world, when the English Premier League scouts came calling.
Picked up by England’s Derby County in 1997, Mr. Wanchope made an immediate impact, scoring a glorious goal in his debut against Manchester United. After brief but successful stints at Derby and then West Ham, he found a home with Manchester City.
In his first season with the club, he bagged nine goals in 25 games. One year later he scored 12 goals in 14 appearances for Man City, propelling them to their first division title.
Coming full circle
In 2004, Mr. Wanchope transferred to the Spanish league team Malaga CF. After a season there, he came full circle, returning home to his native Costa Rica to play for CS Herediano.
Mr. Wanchope is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Cost Rican national team and at six-foot-four is an intimidating presence. The leggy forward is quick to the ball and quick off the dribble, known to score breathtaking goals from impossible angles against multiple defenders.
While knee injuries have hampered Mr. Wanchope throughout his career, they haven't prevented him from becoming Costa Rica's greatest scorer. He leads the attack-minded squad, scoring the majority of goals up front, and often creates goal-scoring opportunities for to his fellow strikers on the front line.