Monaco - The confirmation of Radamel Falcao's move from Atletico Madrid to
Monaco on Friday, for a fee presumed to be anything up to €60 million, continued the somewhat strange career trajectory of
one of the world's deadliest strikers.
At 27, the Colombian has
still only participated in the Champions League for one season of his
career, despite scoring 142 goals during his four seasons in Europe and
costing over €100 million in transfer fees.
Falcao has hardly
been a late developer either, amazingly making his debut in the
Colombian second division with Lanceros when he was just 13 years of age
before being snapped up by Argentine giants River Plate.
his progression in Buenos Aires was stalled by a serious knee injury in
2006 and he didn't return to top form until 2008 when, under the
guidance of Diego Simeone - who would go on to manage Falcao once more
at Atletico - Los Millionarios won the Argentine Closing championship.
after a difficult period as River struggled in 2009, Falcao wasn't at
the top of the shopping list for European football's biggest clubs apart
from Portuguese side Porto, who used their renowned knowledge of the
South American market to sign him for just over €3 million.
hit the ground running in northern Portugal, scoring in his first four
league games and indeed against Atletico in the Champions League as he
netted four times in just eight European appearances.
ended his first season in Europe with a career-high 34 goals, but that
was just a sign of things to come the following year at Porto.
Colombian spearheaded the Dragons' attack as they reclaimed the
Portuguese title from Benfica and went on to lift the Europa League too,
with a 1-0 win over domestic rivals Sporting Braga in the final in
It was Falcao's feats in Europe that particularly caught
the eye as he surpassed Jurgen Klinsmann's record for goals in a single
European campaign by registering 17 times in Porto's triumphant run.
surprise €40 million move to Atletico followed in the summer of
2011, although the step up in competition as he crossed the border from
Portugal into Spain didn't seem to bother him as he scored five times in
his first two league starts.
And, despite going on to score 24
league goals as Atletico just missed out on a Champions League place, it
was again his exploits in the Europa League which impressed.
the second consecutive season he finished as the tournament's top scorer
and with a winner's medal as his two goals in the final against
Athletic Bilbao took his tally for the season in Europe to 12.
exploits in the Spanish capital understandably alerted Europe's top
clubs but no-one was willing to stump up the necessary cash to force his
exit from the Vicente Calderon last year and Los Colchoneros were
doubly delighted to have kept hold of him when he produced arguably his
most deadly performance in an Atleti shirt with a first-half hat-trick
that blew away Chelsea in the European Super Cup in August.
The Spaniards won that game 4-1 in Monaco.
continued to fire as Atletico's rapid start to the campaign ensured
they will definitely be playing Champions League football next season,
scoring 28 league goals in the process.
And he also contributed
with a lovely assist for Diego Costa to help his team beat Real Madrid
2-1 in the Copa del Rey final in Real's own Santiago Bernabeu stadium
earlier this month.
However, not even that emotional success,
which reduced the Colombian to tears, nor the lure of another go at the
Champions League, could persuade Falcao to stay.
Instead he has
chosen to swap the red and white of Madrid for the red and white of
Monaco as the principality club's Russian billionaire owner Dmitry
Rybolovlev continues his audacious spending spree that intends to launch
the Ligue 2 champions back amongst European football's elite.