3rd May 2012

Where are they now? – Hamilton Ricard

Taking a look at what our favourite athletes of the past are doing now…

Football has had many great ‘journeyman’ but Hamilton Ricard is perhaps the most cosmopolitan. The Colombian centre forward first came to prominence in Europe when he signed for Middlesbrough in 1998 having been the leading scorer in the Colombian league and played in the Copa America the previous year.
The £2 million signing struggled to find his feet at first, becoming jokingly known as ‘Hamilton Retard’ to supporters due to his clumsiness on the ball. Yet once he had settled he began to justify his price tag exhibiting a strong aerial presence, powerful shot and deceptive speed. Two sublime strikes against Spurs set him on the way to being the clubs top scorer in the 98-99 and he repeated the feat the following season. In the years that followed Ricard fell down the pecking order, although a superb long-range strike against Bradford City, a contender for goal of the season kept him on the radar. He was released in the summer of 2002 but will always be remembered fondly in the minds of the Teesside faithful for his 33 goals during his time there.
Since then Ricard has plied his trade in all corners of the globe. After a short return to his homeland he soon took off to Japan where he played for Shonan Bellmare before rediscovering his goal scoring touch at Ecuadorean side Emelec netting 17 goals in 25 games. Sadly his time in Ecuador came to an end when he was given a one year ban from football for attacking a referee and abusing his own team’s fans. The striker then struggled to resurrect his career in Europe with short spells at Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia and Spanish team Numancia.
He next came to prominence in Chinese Super League with Shangai Shenhua where he spent two seasons via spells in Uruguay and Chile. Despite now being 38 the striker is still playing and can be found at Deportes Quinidio in Colombia, still leading the line as the club battle relegation from the Colombian premier division. It has not been a career without controversy however. Ricard was involved in a car crash which killed a 17-year-old girl in Colombia in 2002 which saw him sentenced to three years in prison in 2007, with his lawyers still appealing the decision Ricard has so far avoided serving the jail time but with that worry on his mind it may be that ‘Ham the Man’ tries to prolong his playing career as long as possible.

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