Linda Lizeth Caicedo Alegría (born 25 February 2005) is a Colombian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Liga F club Real Madrid and the Colombia women’s national team.
Caicedo has been playing at the senior club level since 2019, when she debuted for Colombian club América de Cali at the age of 14. After being instrumental in América winning their first league title, she moved to Deportivo Cali in early 2020. With Cali, Caicedo won an additional Colombian league title in 2021, which qualified Cali for the 2021 Copa Libertadores Femenina. Despite only making the quarterfinals, Caicedo finished the tournament as joint-top scorer and made the tournament’s Best XI. In 2023, after years of speculation about her next club move, she signed for Real Madrid of Spain’s Liga F. In her first season at the club, she helped Madrid reach their first major cup final at the 2022–23 Copa de la Reina.
In addition to her accomplishments at the club level, Caicedo has also found international success at both the youth and senior levels. In July of 2022, Caicedo featured in her first Copa America Femenina tournament with Colombia’s senior team, where she scored the game-winning goal against Argentina in the semi-finals to help qualify for the Copa America final. After finishing as runner-up with Colombia’s senior team in the Copa America, Caicedo competed with Colombia’s U-20s at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August, where they reached the quarterfinals. In October of the same year, Caicedo helped Colombia’s U-17 side to a second-place finish at the U-17 Women’s World Cup. She scored 4 goals and was Colombia’s top scorer as they finished as runners-up behind Spain. She later competed in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and scored two goals in the group stage– one against South Korea, and the opener against Germany, a match that Colombia won to pull off one of the greatest upsets in Women’s World Cup history.
Often heralded as one of the world’s best young players, Caicedo has won multiple individual awards throughout her career, including the Golden Ball at the 2022 Copa America Femenina, and Bronze Boot and Silver Ball at the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Early life and career
Caicedo was born in Candelaria, Valle del Cauca, Colombia to parents Herlinda Alegría and Mauricio Caicedo. At the age of five, she enrolled in Real Juanchito FC, a boys-only youth football academy. At an early age, she was singled out for her excellent dribbling and shooting abilities. Caicedo’s mother Herlinda recounts when Caicedo was a young girl, where she would kick kitchen utensils and dolls around the house because she was only interested in playing football.
As she advanced to the higher levels of Real Juanchito, Caicedo met the man that would later become her mentor, club president Rafael Murillo. At the age of 10, Caicedo entered her first women’s club, Generaciones Palmiranas. Here, she met Felipe Taborda, the coach of Colombia’s senior women’s team. A year later, Caicedo began playing for CD Atlas C.P., a team based in Cali and created by Colombian international Carolina Pineda that is known to foster the talents of young Colombian footballers. From 2017 to 2019, Caicedo won three Torneos Nacionales (national tournaments for regional youth clubs) at the U13 level with Atlas. These accomplishments with her youth teams started attracting the attention of Colombia’s biggest women’s clubs.
América de Cali (2019)
In 2019, Carolina Pineda convinced Marcela Gomez, the president of América de Cali’s women’s team, to sign Caicedo. On 15 July 2019, at the age of 14, she made her professional debut with América against Cortuluá. She scored her first goal for the club on her debut, which ended up being the match winner for the team. Caicedo finished the 2019 Colombian Women’s Football League as the league’s top scorer with 7 goals in 7 matches. On 30 September 2019, in the second leg of the 2019 league finals, Caicedo scored the tie-winning goal against Independiente Medellín to bring the final aggregate score to 3-2 and win América their first ever league title. América qualified for the 2019 Copa Libertadores Femenina by featuring in the league finals, but 14-year-old Caicedo was unable to participate, as the minimum age for participation is 16 years of age.
At the end of Caicedo’s contract with América, they were unable to come to an agreement due to Caicedo’s salary demands. The club confirmed her departure on 30 January 2020, making her a free agent.
Deportivo Cali (2020–2022)
On 4 February 2020, Caicedo’s move to América’s cross-city rivals Deportivo Cali was made official with a year-long contract. Due to complications of ovarian cancer, Caicedo was unable to play football for six months. She resumed training days after she finished her last round of chemotherapy treatment.
Caicedo made her debut with Cali on 20 October 2020, against Junior in their first match of the 2020 Colombian Women’s Football League. Her first goal for her new club was also the only goal she scored in the group stages, in a 3-0 win against her former club, América. Deportivo Cali finished first in their group and advanced to the knockout round, where they faced Millonarios in the quarterfinals. She scored the game-winning goal of the first leg that finished 2-1 in Cali’s favor, and then scored Cali’s only goal in the second leg of the tie. However, Millonarios scored 3 goals in the second leg to defeat Cali with an aggregate score of 4-3, knocking them out of the tournament.
In the 2021 league tournament, Caicedo opened up her scoring with a brace against Atletico Bucamaranga in the group stage of the tournament. Cali finished atop their group once more, and advanced to the final against Santa Fe. Caicedo scored one goal against the team in the first leg of the final, and in the second leg scored two goals to help Cali win the tie with an aggregate score of 6-3. Deportivo Cali won the first league title of their history as Caicedo finished as the team’s second-highest goalscorer of the tournament with 5 goals.
Cali reaching the final meant that they qualified for the 2021 Copa Libertadores Femenina, Caicedo’s first opportunity to play in a major continental club competition. She scored three goals in Cali’s group stage matches, including a brace in an 8-0 thrashing of Bolivian club Real Tomayapo and one goal in a 4-1 win against Universidad de Chile. Cali finished atop Group C and met Uruguayan club Nacional in the quarterfinals, but were defeated 1-2, with Caicedo scoring Cali’s only goal. Despite being knocked out in the quarterfinals, Caicedo finished the tournament as the joint-top scorer alongside Esperanza Pizarro, Vic Albuquerque, Jhennifer, and Cali teammate Tatiana Ariza, and was also named to the tournament’s Best XI.
The 2022 Colombian league updated to a round-robin tournament format, where Cali finished 3rd on the table and qualified for the knockout stage. In the first leg of the quarterfinals, Caicedo scored a goal against Millonarios that would later prove to be essential to Cali’s 3-2 aggregate victory. In the semifinals they met 2021 league final rivals Santa Fe, and Caicedo scored against them once again in the first leg. The tie came to a draw in the second leg which forced the match to penalties, where Caicedo scored the tie-winning penalty to bring them to another Colombian league final. In the final, she once again faced her former club América. She scored one goal in the second leg of the tie, but Cali were defeated 4-3 on aggregate by their rivals.
The final against América would end up being her final match with Cali. Caicedo was unable to play domestically with Deportivo Cali, as the DIMAYOR had cancelled the second half (clausura) of the 2022 Colombian women’s league due to a lack of participating teams. She was additionally unable to compete with Cali at the 2022 Copa Libertadores due to her participation at the 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup, with both tournaments taking place during the month of October.
2022 would be her final year with Deportivo Cali, and she became a free agent in December upon the expiration of her contract with the Colombian club. In early 2023, Caicedo confirmed that she had her sights set on playing abroad once she turned 18 in February. She was mainly rumored to join European and North American clubs, especially Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, where the latter club’s president Joan Laporta confirmed in 2022 that they had been scouting her for three years.
Real Madrid (2023–present)
On 21 February 2022, Spanish media confirmed rumors that Caicedo had joined Real Madrid ahead of Chelsea or rivals Barcelona. On 24 February 2023, after years of speculation around her next club, she officially signed for Real Madrid of Spain’s Liga F with a three-year contract. Caicedo debuted for Madrid against Alhama CF on 4 March 2023. She scored her first goal for the club on 9 March 2023, scoring in extra time of the Copa de la Reina quarterfinals to help bring Madrid to their second ever semifinal in the tournament. She scored her first goal in the league in a 3-1 win against Levante Las Planas. Caicedo started the 2023 Copa de la Reina final against the club’s rivals Atlético Madrid, but was subbed out in the 82nd minute. Atlético tied the match deep into stoppage time, and Madrid were defeated on penalties. In the league, she ended her season with two goals and four assists in 10 appearances.
In 2022, Caicedo played in the South American Under-17 Women’s Championship, the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, and the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
Caicedo received her first national team call-up in November of 2019.
In 2022, Caicedo was called up to play her first tournament with Colombia’s senior national team, the 2022 Copa América Femenina. She scored her first goal of the tournament in the group stage against Ecuador, which ended up being the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win. Colombia advanced to the knockout rounds and eventually faced Argentina in the semifinal. She scored the only goal of the match and qualified Colombia for their third Copa America final. Despite losing 1-0 to Brazil in the final, Caicedo was named the tournament’s best player and was one of three Colombian players included in the Best XI.
Caicedo was confirmed into Colombia’s final squad for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on 4 July 2023, making her the first player in history to compete at three Women’s World Cups (at the U-17, U-20, and senior levels) within a year. At the Women’s World Cup, Caicedo scored a goal in Colombia’s opening match against South Korea, which ended in a 2–0 victory. This made her the second youngest player, at 18 years and 153 days, to score in a World Cup, behind Brazilian legend Marta. She also became the first Colombian player to score in the U-17, U-20, and senior Women’s World Cups.
On 28 July, she collapsed during a training session at the World Cup, but was later reported to be “back to normal”. Two days later, on 30 July, she scored the first goal in the second Group H match against Germany, with Colombia eventually winning 2–1 in one of the biggest Women’s World Cup upsets of all time. After scoring a goal in each of the two matches, her performances saw her voted as the Player of the Match in both games. Her first coach Diego Vasquez, told AFP that Caicedo is “one of these people who was touched by God, who was born for this.”
Parents and family
Linda Caicedo parents are Mauricio Ciacedo (father) and Erlinda Algeria (mother).
Linda has a sister named Kelly Caicedo.
Additionally, she shares a passion for football with her sister, Kelly Caicedo, who also excels in the sport as a player for Cruzeiro Esporte.
At the beginning of 2020, just after her 15th birthday, Caicedo began feeling pain in her abdomen. She was misdiagnosed with gastritis, which she was treated for until her pain worsened and her stomach started to bulge. Caicedo was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February of 2020, and in March underwent surgery to remove the tumor. For the next six months, her cancer was treated with chemotherapy, which caused her to be bedridden for three months. In September of 2020, she was declared cancer-free, and returned to the pitch just days after she finished her final round of chemotherapy.
Caicedo struggled mentally during her recovery, and said she sought help from Deportivo Cali’s psychologists. She completed her final check-up in November of 2021 after many months of challenging doctor’s visits that were disrupted by the 2021 Colombian protests.
Caicedo is currently in a relationship with her partner Valentina. After scoring against Germany at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she dedicated her goal to her by putting her hands in a heart shape.
Is Linda Caicedo married?: No, Linda Caicedo is at the moment not yet married.
Linda Caicedo has no kids for now.
Linda Caicedo has an estimated net worth of around $2 million – $5 million.
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