English Premiership

From has-been to hero, Falcao savours revival

2017-05-02 09:00
Radamel Falcao (Getty Images)

Monaco - Dismissed as a crocked has-been after a disastrous spell in England, Radamel Falcao will savour the Champions League anthem more than most before Monaco and Juventus face off in Wednesday's semi-final first leg.

The Colombian striker will captain the principality club against the Italians - whose own star striker Gonzalo Higuain was once his colleague at River Plate - at the Stade Louis II as they attempt to take another step towards a possible Ligue 1 and Champions League double.

Monaco have won admirers everywhere this season thanks to the exciting brand of football played by their young team, and the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar will be targets for the continent's giants in the summer.

But all of them will admit the role played by the 31-year-old Falcao has been vital.

He scored in a 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce in Istanbul as their campaign began in the third qualifying round first leg on July 27 last year.

More than nine months on he has 28 goals in all competitions and has now scored 45 in 50 European appearances, putting him ahead of German great Gerd Mueller as the most prolific player ever in continental competition.

"I have always believed in Radamel and right from the start of the season I was already saying that he would get back to his best form. Nobody believed it but now we have the proof," Monaco's vice president Vadim Vasilyev told French television station TF1.


This time a year ago Falcao was considered a busted flush after two seasons on loan in the Premier League, with Manchester United and then Chelsea, yielded just five goals.

The Daily Mail labelled him "a rich man with a broken reputation", while The Daily Telegraph highlighted how he had been paid the equivalent of 800,000 ($1 million) per shot by Chelsea.

He was left out of the Colombia squad for last year's Copa America too, but that reputation has been restored this year in stunning style.

"I think it's all about confidence and having a regular run in the team. The rest takes care of itself," Falcao told UEFA.com recently.

It is not just about what happens out on the pitch in Leonardo Jardim's free-flowing side, though. He is also finally settled in the glitzy Mediterranean principality.

"I feel loved by the club and by the fans. My team-mates support me and I am very happy at the club and in the city, enjoying this moment," he said before the quarter-final, second leg win against Borussia Dortmund.

"My family are also enjoying being here and I think these circumstances have allowed things to go as well as possible on the field."

That has allowed Falcao to bury the memory of a difficult first season in Monaco, cut short by a serious knee injury that saw him miss the World Cup in Brazil.

It was the start of all his problems, and when Monaco faced Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2015, Falcao was warming the bench at Old Trafford.

Monaco had just wanted rid of Falcao and his burdensome pay packet at that point. However, in January this year they were pleased that he stayed despite a reported 60 million-euro offer from China's Tianjin Quanjian.

Falcao has just a year left on his Monaco contract but for now he is only focused on a glorious end to this season.

Two wins from their last four league games should be enough for them to take the French title from Paris Saint-Germain, while a first Champions League crown would top it all.

"Not many players get the chance to play in a Champions League semi-final. I don't know if I'll get another opportunity so I want to make the most of it. It is a dream," said Falcao, twice a Europa League winner.

Read more on:    monaco  |  champions league  |  radamel falcao  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 31 March 2018
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 13:30
West Ham United v Southampton, London Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 16:00
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town, St. James' Park 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City, The American Express Community Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Burnley, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v AFC Bournemouth, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Everton v Manchester City, Goodison Park 18:30
Sunday, 01 April 2018
Arsenal v Stoke City, Emirates Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Saturday, 07 April 2018
Everton v Liverpool, Goodison Park 13:30
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Bet365 Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Newcastle United, King Power Stadium 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Huddersfield Town, The American Express Community Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Burnley, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Manchester City v Manchester United, Etihad Stadium 18:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.