Leonel Álvarez (footballer, born 1965)
|Full name||Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta|
|Date of birth||29 July 1965|
|Place of birth||Remedios, Colombia|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Defensive midfielder|
|1990||América de Cali||0||(0)|
|1992–1995||América de Cali||115||(5)|
|1999–2001||New England Revolution||58||(2)|
|2007||Deportivo Pereira (assistant)|
|2008–2009||Independiente Medellín (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Leonel de Jesús Álvarez Zuleta (born 29 July 1965 in Remedios, Colombia) is a former Colombian football defensive midfielder. He played 101 times for the Colombia national team between 1985 and 1997, making him the third most capped player in Colombian international football. He was also the head coach of Colombia national football team . Alvarez is the only coach to have been champion twice with Independiente Medellín.
Álvarez began his career with Independiente Medellín in 1983. In 1989, he was part of the Atlético Nacional team that won the Copa Libertadores in 1989. He won a Colombian league title with América de Cali in 1990 and another in 1995.
Álvarez signed with Major League Soccer before the league's inaugural 1996 season, and was allocated to the Dallas Burn. In his year with the team, Álvarez he scored three goals and five assists for the team from a defensive midfield position, and was named as part of the MLS Best XI. Álvarez moved to Mexico for the 1997 season, where he played for Veracruz. He returned to Dallas Burn in 1998, where he recovered his starting position; Álvarez would be an extremely important player in the Burn's central midfield for the next two years, but near the end of 1999, he was traded to the New England Revolution for Ariel Graziani. Álvarez played for the Revolution throughout 2001 before the team decided not to renew his contract for the 2002 season.
Álvarez appeared in a total of 101 games for the Colombia, making his debut on 14 February 1985 against Poland. He appeared for Colombia in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, playing in a total of seven games. Additionally, he played in the Copa América for his native country in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1995.
He began his coaching career as technical assistant at Deportivo Pereira, one of his former clubs. In 2008, he worked as the assistant coach at Independiente Medellín, the team he began his career with, working as Santiago Escobar's understudy. After Escobar was fired Álvarez was promoted and given his first head coach opportunity. In his debut season as a coach, he helped make Medellín champions. In May 2010 he was named the assistant coach of the Colombia national team. In September 2011, he was appointed head coach of the team, following the resignation of Hernán Bolillo Gómez. He got off to a good start by beating Bolivia, but was sacked on 14 December that year after the Colombian squad recorded a 1–1 draw with Venezuela and a 2–1 loss with Argentina in the World Cup qualifying campaign. In July 2012, he was appointed as Itagui's new coach.
Scores and results lists Colombia's goal tally first.
|1.||10 June 1987||Estadio Atanasio Girardot, Medellín, Colombia||Ecuador||Friendly|
- rsssf: Colombia record international footballers Archived 30 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Mamrud, Roberto (13 March 2004). "Leonel de Jesús Alvarez – Century of International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 7 August 2014.