Arrived this summer at Rayo Vallecano, promoted in La Liga, Radamel Falcao is reborn in Spain and has had an excellent start to the season. At 35, Tiger would he be back?
Are we witnessing the comeback of one of the big names in world football? Colombia, which receives Ecuador this Thursday as part of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, will be able to count on the resplendent form of the top scorer in its history: Radamel Falcao. El Tigre is 72 goals scored with FC Porto, 70 with Atlético Madrid, 83 under the jersey of AS Monaco. It is also two Europa Leagues won, a title of champion of France in 2017 and a 5e place in the ranking of the Golden Ball in 2012.
But in recent seasons, it has also been a career on the downward slope on the side of Galatasaray. Very often injured, the Colombian has only played 43 games out of 98 possible during his adventure with the Istanbul club. A situation which pushed Galatasaray and Falcao to end their collaboration by mutual agreement. This trajectory, associated with an advanced age (35 years) could raise fears of an end of career in an exotic country, like his compatriot, James Rodriguez, who has just signed in Qatar. Radamel Falcao seemed to be heading slowly but surely towards a peaceful retreat.
SEE ALSO – Falcao’s top 5 goals in Monaco (2013-2019)
Colors found at Rayo
Released from his contract with Galatasaray, it was finally in the popular district of Vallecas, in Madrid, that Falcao set down his suitcases at the beginning of September. Madrid, a city that has seen him shine brightly under the Colchoneros jersey. The Rayo, a small, unpretentious club, whose objectives should not go beyond keeping in La Liga, but which has the merit of evolving in a major European championship and whose popular fervor is perfectly suited to the angry mentality of the Tiger.
And for the moment, the magic is operating. The former ASM striker scored 3 goals in his first 4 games with his new club, all while only starting on two occasions. Performances which allowed him to regain a place of holder within the Colombian selection.
The return of the complete and decisive striker
When one takes a closer look at the three goals scored by Falcao in La Liga, one thing immediately jumps out in the eyes of lovers of the Colombian striker. The incredible technical palette he has displayed throughout his career seems to be intact. Against Getafe, for his first match with Rayo, he let speak his sense of demarcation and the power of his right foot to catapult the ball into the back of the small opposite net. Against Cadiz, Falcao scored a fox, just before the break, taking advantage of a missed save by the opposing goalkeeper. And a week earlier, against Athletic Bilbao, it was with a header that Falcao gave the victory to his team with a free kick in the 96e minute.
Even if the Rayo, in the voice of his coach, should not show overflowing ambitions this season, it is clear that the club is pointing to a surprising 6e square. And his Colombian striker is no stranger to it. ” With ‘El Tigre’ everything is easier. You know you just have to put it on the ground and it won’t mess up», Declared his teammate Ivan Balliu in the mixed zone after the match against Cadiz. That’s Falcao too: a decisive player, able to pull his team to the top. For the moment, the mission is more than accomplished.
Really back in the foreground?
Unfortunately for the Tiger, there is an adage that says great players are made for great games (or vice versa, it depends). By playing at Rayo Vallecano, Falcao will not taste the prestige of the European Cup this season. Between being efficient at Rayo and chaining goals at Real Madrid or Bayern Munich during major European evenings, there is obviously a chasm. Let’s not get excited, the great Falcao from the beginning of the 2010s seems well and truly behind us and the low media coverage of Rayo compared to the greats of Europe prevents us from proclaiming loud and clear that Falcao is back in the foreground.
Nevertheless, El Tigre’s sporting goals are still numerous. Maintain Rayo in La Liga, therefore, but also qualify Colombia for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And the thing is far from certain since the Cafeteros point to the 5e place of their qualifying group, synonymous with play-offs against the winner of the Oceania zone. Colombia would therefore be well inspired to beat Ecuador on Thursday in order to breathe some fresh air. For Falcao, the 2022 World Cup may well look like one last dance in the limelight.