South American Soccer

Angel returns to Atletico Nacional after six years in MLS


After spending the last 15 years playing for clubs in the United States and around the world, Juan Pablo Angel is heading back to the place where it all began.

Angel has re-joined Colombian club Atletico Nacional, signing a deal with the team where he started his storied career in 1993 and scored 45 goals in 147 league appearance. The 37-year-old striker agreed to a one-year deal with the club, and could finish his career there.

Angel returns to the Atletico Nacional after having spent the past six years plying his trade in MLS for the New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. In his time in MLS, Angel scored 72 league goals and helped the Red Bulls reach the MLS Cup final in 2008. He finished his time in New York as the Red Bulls’ career leader in goals scored with 58 goals.

Here’s a video Atletico Nacional released regarding Angel’s return:

What do you think of Angel returning to Atletico Nacional? How do you look back on his time with the Red Bulls, Chivas USA and LA Galaxy? What is your most fond memory of Angel in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Josh D

    An MLS legend. One of the few NY players I was jealous of. He also helped bring on the wave of Colombians we had.


  • ec

    Adios, JPA. What a run in NY, completely a model DP. Loved watching him play, hope there are no hard feelings with MLS about the way he was passed around the last 2 years, hope he tells other players MLS is a good place to come and a good place to be. Can’t think of many individual moments, but when he was on a hot streak I watched expecting goals. Not many guys like that. I do remember him lighting it up in that crazy 5-4 game vs Galaxy that was Beckham’s first in NY (aka the Jozy breakout game), that might be the most fun I’ve ever had watching MLS.


  • ELAC

    Well done video! I’ll miss his professionalism and class. Something we could use more at Chivas USA and in the world, in general.

    Good luck to him!


  • Chris

    😦 Glad to see he’ll finish his career somewhere important to him, but sad to see him leave MLS. I was hoping he’d retire here and move to a coaching job, I suppose it could still happen but it’s now quite a long shot. Regardless, a true MLS legend. I am so glad I’m able to say that I got to see him play (in person) as much as I did.


      • Chris

        Only because he was injured for most of the last year. He was amazing the second half of the ’11 season after he made the jump from LAG. Given his age and how much punishment he took over the last 6 season, he just couldn’t make an impact in MLS anymore, which is a shame, the guy is pure class, plain and simple.


  • The Imperative Voice

    For all the Thierry Henry love — and Henry has shown up for the NYRB at historical levels, no doubt — it was Angel that helped lead them to NY’s only MLS Cup final. I know NYRB has been expecting for the next team to be the one that really takes off, for a few years now, but I always felt like Angel’s denouement was rough. NY had every right to decline his option, but they had their eyes on the prize so much I think they didn’t pay him the right respect. And then the LA teams……basically the pawn in a Keane deal that was reminiscent of the MLS marquee player moves of the old days when things weren’t so transparent.

    He’s supposed to be an OK guy, and he did the league a solid with 70+ goals. Mind you, I think Houston has gone too far the opposite way in keeping Ching around well past his sellby date, but he probably deserved a better send off than wandering off into obscurity with Chivas, where Agudelo is similarly playing out his deal.


    • Chris

      I agree that RBNY could have given him a better send-off, but RB/Metro has a long history of just casting off their marquee/legendary/record breaker/setting players. Look at Savarese, Mathis, Djorkaeff, ect. When RB/Metro is done with a player they just kick them to the curb and soldier on.


  • Gio

    Class player and class guy, would make a great coach one day. You just can’t help but give him respect.


  • Dennis

    I always liked Angel. I think that Mike MaGee learned a lot from him when they were together on the Metros. I always thought that Angel helped make the players around him be better. Wish him well.


  • FakeU

    and guess who’s their manager?

    none other than the one, the only….DRUM ROLL…………


    and, no, they’re not in Libertadores.


  • MA1 Rodriguez

    Angel was among the greatest MLS players, served well in River Plate, and I just wish they would offer a youth forward coaching job.


    • ed - houston

      i remember when he left river for aston villa. dude is awesome, i hated him (and dane richards) torchin us, and eliminating us, in the playoffs 2008 i think it was. i am still very much a fan of angel.


      • MA1 Rodriguez

        You should see videos of Angel’s kid. The kid seems to have finisher touch.


      • Citizen

        You never know he could be Falcao one day or maybe a better version of his padre.


  • Bobb

    I wonder if Angel will come back to the US once he’s done playing. He could be good as a commentator or a coach.


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