Falcao: The Colombian Killer
No striker in international football is as lethal as Radamel Falcao Garcia. Even though Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo are better players, there is no doubt that the colombian is the best traditional attacker in the game today. The superstar of Atletico Madrid is still only 26 years old, and it is scary to think about how good he can become 2-3 years from now!
Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate was born in Santa Marta, Colombia in 1986. His father was a former football player who gave him the name “Falcao”, after the great brazilian midfielder that played with Socrates and Zico, on the legendary Brazil team from the 1982 World Cup. Rademel showed a talent for football early on, and he made his debut for Lanceros on the second highest professional level in Colombia when he was only 13 years old. Falcao would only play 8 games in the next two years, but it was obvious to everyone that he was an extraordinary talent. He didn’t impress the staff at Millionarios Futebol Club enough for them to buy him after a tryout though (I hope that manager is fired), and instead moved to River Plate and Argentina in 2001.
Falcao was still only 15 years old when he moved to Buenos Aires, and would spend his first years in the youth academy, but in 2005 he made his debut for “La Banda”. The next four seasons he established himself as a quality finisher with 49 goals in 110 games, and the stats would have been even better if he hadn’t struggled with injuries in his right knee since 2006. Radamel won the league with River in 2008, but when bigger clubs from Europe started to show their interest, he was ready to take on new challenges. It was in 2009 when he was sold to the portuguese champion Porto, that the world would see his true potential.
Falcao after winning the Europa League in 2011
Even though his club only placed 3rd in the league, Falcao became an instant success with 34 goals in 43 matches. In the 2010-2011 season, Porto would be champions once again, and the colombian would have an even better year with 38 goals in 42 games. Porto also won the Europa League this season, with Falcao scoring a record 17 goals during the tournament. His value had now skyrocketed, and the spanish club Atletico Madrid signed him for £40 million at the start of the 2011 season. The success continued in La Liga, and the goals kept pouring into the opponents net. Falcao scored an impressive 36 goals in 50 games, and earned the nickname “El Tigre” (the tiger) for his performance. He was also called “The King of the Europa League” after becoming the first player to win this competition 2 years in a row, and deciding the final against Athletic Bilbao with 2 early goals.
El Tigre opened this season with a bang and scored two hat tricks against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, and against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup. As of January 2013, he has 22 goals in 21 appearances, and if he heals up from recent injury problems, we can expect the same astonishing numbers as always. Falcao has proven to be a complete player, who is almost impossible to stop. He is fast, strong, good with both legs, and despite his relatively small size for a striker (177 cm), he is very good in the air. What makes him truly unstoppable, is his amazing killer instinct. El Tigre only needs one chance to decide the game, and if he gets the ball in the penalty box, the opposing goalkeeper shoulld expect fireworks.
Falcao is only now going into the prime of his career, and it will be interesting to see how long he stays at Atletico. Barcelona, Arsenal and PSG have shown their interest, but every club in the world would gladly empty their bank account to get him. Falcao is the undisputable leader of the colombian national team, and I can’t wait to see how they will do in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. If it hadn’t been for the two phenomenons Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, Radamel would have been appreciated even more, maybe even winning the award for the best player in the world. Outside of football , Falcao is a devout Christian who leads several religious youth groups, and he is married to the argentine singer Lorelei Taron
El Tigre and his wife Lorelei on the beach