During Radamel Falcao’s two-year stint in the Premier League, he went from being considered one of the best strikers in the world to a flop. However, after Tuesday’s performance for Monaco against Manchester City, English fans are rightly wondering what’s happened to Falcao.
The Colombian forward was considered one of the top three strikers on the planet during his time at Atletico Madrid. His performance against Chelsea in the European Super Cup made virtually every English football supporter sit up and take notice.
Since his move to Monaco, and his anterior cruciate ligament injury, he hadn’t been the same player. However, this season he seems to have rediscovered his best form and his brace against City, including this extraordinary chip has shown he can still do it against top class opposition.
Much of the criticism of Falcao has been that he can only score in Ligue 1 against much lower class opposition, scoring doubles against sides like Bastia and Nancy. However he has shut up all of his doubters this week with a performance against City where he looked like his old self.
Yet, it still does not answer the question of what happened to Falcao in England.
Some pundits put it to the quicker more physical style of play of the Premier League – however in Portugal and Spain he was known for bullying opposition defences with his strength. The ligament injury was talked about as a reason for loss of pace – but against City in midweek he was looking as sharp as ever.
Colombia manager Jose Pekerman put it down to a crisis in confidence. It seems like a very similar case to Fernando Torres’ time at Chelsea, where the Spaniard had started to doubt his own abilities and that possibly affected his game. Confidence is a crucial element for any footballer, especially a striker. Falcao has shown, similarly to Torres, that his ability never went – his belief just did. It is hard to imagine him even trying his chip against City during his time in a Manchester United shirt. Just as it is also hard to imagine Torres trying this audacious effort while playing for Chelsea.
Falcao’s resurgence has shown that football’s biggest cliche still rings true. – form is temporary, class is permanent. It leaves you wondering how Falcao would fare in the Premier League now if somebody was to take another chance on him.