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David ArellanoColo Colo Bicycle Kicks


David Alfonso Arellano Moraga, born in Santiago, Chile on July 29, 1902, was a Chilean international football player, considered the father of modern day professional football in Chile. His professional debut came at 17 years of age for Chilean football club Magallanes in 1919. Due to internal institutional tensions at the club a group of young players led by David Arellano decided to resign from the team and establish a new club. They formed Club Social y Deportivo Colo-Colo on April 19, 1925.

Colo-Colo was named after a Chilean Mapuche Indian chief who fought, never surrendered, and never lost to the Spaniards during the Arauco War, a conflict which lasted three centuries. The new side promptly won the 1926 Santiago championship without losing a single game. The exploits of the team soon spread beyond the confines of the Chilean capital, with Colo Colo becoming the country's most popular club.

1926 was a very significant year for Arellano. He showcased the bicycle kick playing (La Chilena) for the Chilean national team in the Copa America which caught the attention of an international audience. That year, Colo Colo, with Arellano as captain, began making preparations to become the first Chilean club to go on an overseas tour.

They went on to participate in a series of exhibition games across Europe in 1927. Arellano was attributed with exhibited the bicycle kick for the first time in Europe during this tour. Spanish journalists at the time noticed and also named the move ‘La Chilena‘.

Arellano performed the bicycle kick in various friendlies against club teams in the cities of Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and Valladolid. The origin of the move is wrapped up in controversy, though Arellano was one of the earliest players to have performed the kick, he did not claim invention of it.

The European tour would have tragic consequences. On May 2, 1927, in a match against Real Valladolid of Spain, Arellano was critically injured after suffering a collision with an opposing player that caused Peritonitis. Shortly after the incident Arellano was brought to a nearby clinic where he would ultimately die. He died from the abdominal trauma in a clinic in Valladolid on May 3rd 1927. He was 24 years, 9 months and 4 days old when he died.

The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFH) ranked Colo-Colo among the top 30 football clubs in the 2007 All-Time Club World Ranking and in 2009 they rated Colo-Colo as Chile's top club of the 20th century and one of the top twenty in South America. In David Arellano’s memory, Colo Colo club shirts carry a black line over the main emblem. The club’s purpose built stadium, Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago, Chile, is dedicated to his lasting memory

‘The memory of David Arellano will always guide us to a triumphant path.’
From the Colo Colo hymn

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