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FALCAO! – Introducing Columbia’s lethal hit man
- Updated: 26 February, 2012
Chelsea have been heavily linked with Radamel Falcao in recent weeks and there is increasing speculation that Andres Villas-Boas will attempt to bring his former Porto charge to the club if his Stamford Bridge reign should extend past the end of this, very turbulent, season.
Falcao was close to a Chelsea switch last summer, if press reports are to be believed, but an eventual bid of €35 million from Atletico effectively priced the striker out of a move to the Londoners.
Fast forward seven months and the Premier League side have put Falcao back on their agenda, in part due to the 26-year-old’s stunning form this season, but also due to the continuing poor form of Chelsea’s £50 million mis-fit, Fernando Torres.
Whether Chelsea can prise one of Europe’s most prolific strikers away from the Vicente Calderon is another matter however, Atleti are currently enjoying a rich vein of form under new coach Diego Simeone and they will be loath to let the talismanic hitman leave Madrid.
Radamel Falcao had some big boots to fill when he arrived at Atletico Madrid during the summer of course, with the club having just lost fan’s favourite Sergio Agüero to big-spending Manchester City.
Fans expected some instant payback for the millions that was given to FC Porto for the Colombian, but they needn’t have worried – Falcao has been in blistering form and has hit 19 goals in 26 games for los rojiblancos.
Falcao first hit the headlines following his move to Porto from River Plate in 2009, scoring an impressive 34 goals in all competitions in his first season. His second season in Portugal proved to be even more fruitful than his first as he bettered his previous tally by four goals. It would prove to be his last season at the club however.
After an unbeaten domestic season, Porto went on to win the Europa Cup Final 1-0 against fellow Portuguese Liga team Braga, Falcao scoring the only goal. Add to those two successes a victory in the Portuguese Cup Final, and you’ll notice Porto secured the treble. Falcao netted 17 times in 14 games in the Europa League, eclipsing Jurgen Klinsmann’s record of 15 goals.
After such a fantastic season, Falcao understandably attracted interest from a number of top European Clubs, most noticeably Chelsea, due to the arrival of former Porto boss Andre Villas Boas. Instead, Falcao chose to cross the border into Spain as he signed for Atletico.
Signed perhaps to soften the blow of losing Agüero to City, a lot was expected of the Colombian. If there is pressure on his shoulders, he certainly isn’t showing it.
His first Atleti goal came in the UEFA Europa League against Celtic, while a hat-trick against Racing Santander marked his debut la liga strikes. A few days later a brace against Sporting Gijon took his tally to five, equal to Messi and Soldado.
In November, Falcao scored in the Europa League against Udinese to take his overall tally to 19 goals in 18 games in the tournament, a formidable achievement for any player.
If fans were saddened by the loss of Agüero, their faith is being restored by ‘ El Tigre‘ as he is nicknamed due to his proficiency in-front of goal. His ability to sniff out a goal and his timing into the box results in many classy, opportunistic finishes. Despite standing at 5ft 10, he is undeniably good in the air, rivaling the best of defenders.
Falcao is blessed with a sharp, powerful burst of pace, enabling him to beat many defenders to the ball for opportunities that would look lost to most players. His goal scoring record at Porto was sensational scoring 41 goals in 51 games, and if he can continue the kind of form he is currently showing at the Estadio Vincente Calderon, he may soon become even more popular than the man he replaced.
Atletico welcome Barcelona tonight and all eyes will be on the Columbian to see if he can help his club continue their recent great home form against the Catalans – having won three of the last four league meetings at the Calderon.
Chelsea may well be in desperate need of attacking talent at Stamford Bridge and they may well come in with an offer for Falcao at the end of the season, however you can bet your bottom dollar that the amount that will need to be handed over to the Spansih side will far exceed what they paid Porto for the player last summer.Follow @icentrocampista