Radamel Falcao: Player Profile

Falcao Looking To Get Back To His Best

Personal Information
Full name: Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate
Date of birth: 10 February 1986
Age: 28
Place of birth: Santa Marta, Colombia
Height: 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position: Striker

Club information 
Current team: Manchester United
(on loan from AS Monaco)
Number: 9

Youth career 
1999–2002: Lanceros Boyaca

Senior career
2001–2009: River Plate 105 Appearances, 45 goals
2009–2011: Porto 87 Appearances, 72 goals
2011–2013: Atletico Madrid 91 Appearances, 70 goals
2013– AS Monaco 22 Appearances, 13 goals
2014– → Manchester United (loan) 3 Appearances, 0 goals

National team 
2005–2007: Colombia U20 3 Appearances, 2 goals
2007– Colombia 51 Appearances, 20 goals

Falcao's United career has only just started, but he has already become part of the club's history. When he replaced Juan Mata to make his debut against Queens Park Rangers, he became the first Colombian to represent the club.

The Colombian striker moved to Old Trafford from Monaco on deadline day. He'll spend the next season on loan at the club, with United having the option to make the move permanent next summer.

Since moving to Europe with Porto in 2009, Falcao has scored 155 goals in just 201 games. That's an average of a goal every 1.2 games. Falcao's career in Europe has consisted of spells at Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco before his move to United.

And he's averaged better than a goal every two games in each of his stops in Portugal, Spain and France. The Colombian spent two seasons at Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2013, scoring 52 goals in 68 appearances in La Liga. During that time, only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo scored more goals in the Spanish league.

Falcao has been top scorer in the Europa League twice, with Porto in 2011 and with Atletico Madrid in 2012. On each occasion, his team lifted the trophy. In 33 games in the Europa League, he's scored 31 goals. He hasn't played in the Champions League since Porto's campaign in Europe's top club competition in 2009-10.

That season, Falcao scored four goals in eight games as Porto reached the last 16 before being beaten by Arsenal. He has also won league titles with River Plate in Argentina and in Portugal with Porto. He also finished fifth in the 2012 Ballon d'Or vote behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

Falcao's ability to hold possession up and bring his teammates into play can be key in this formation, as the full-backs bust a gut to provide support from deep. He also provides a prolific aerial threat and obvious target when balls are punted upfield from defence, a feature of United's play this campaign.

Falcao is yet to get on the score-sheet for his new club but the Colombian looks goal bound. He has made a positive impact upon his arrival indicates and United should be considered a superpower that hasn't permanently discarded their cape.

United's new no.9 was first spotted while playing for Lanceros in his native Colombia, where Argentinian giants River Plate showed an interest in the player, before signing him for a fee in the region of £300,000. The forward made a great impression for the club’s youth team, and was handed a first-team debut in 2005, scoring seven goals in as many games for Los Millonarios.

The 28-year-old suffered from injuries ahead of the 2006/07 season, forcing him to miss six months of action, before returning to score his first goal in a Superclasico, helping his side to a 2-0 win over rivals Boca Juniors. The following summer saw Falcao draw plenty of interest from other clubs, including AC Milan and Brazilian side Fluminese.

River kept hold of the striker, who went on to win his first domestic title under the management of Diego Simeone later that year. Upon Simeone’s departure at the end of 2007/08, Falcao continued his impressive goalscoring record despite River Plate suffering from a poor run of form.

Transfer speculation from further afield would repeatedly link the striker with a move to Europe, as he finished the year as the club’s top scorer on 43 goals. Falcao looked set for a switch to Benfica in July 2009, but the move fell through, paving the way for the forward to sign for rivals FC Porto just days later.

He scored on his league debut and again in the following three games to become an instant favourite among the club’s fans. English fans got a first look at the striker in action in September 2009, as he made his Champions League debut against Chelsea, before scoring the winning goal against Arsenal in the last 16. Falcao finished the 2009/10 campaign on 34 goals. The following season brought further successes for the striker as his goals helped Porto to both domestic and Europa League titles.

Falcao’s three hat-tricks and resulting top scorer award in the UEFA competition (he netted the winner against Braga in the final) earned him widespread praise and a contract extension later that summer. Falcao became Atletico Madrid’s most expensive signing of all time when he joined the Spanish side in August 2011, and enjoyed instant success, winning the Europa League for a second consecutive season, as well as the tournament’s golden boot.

The striker was again in great form during the 2012/13 season, netting against Barcelona and Real Madrid in the league before playing a vital part in the club’s Copa del Rey triumph over their fierce rivals, to earn his first domestic trophy with the Spanish side. At international level, Falcao has scored 20 goals in 51 games for Colombia. He scored his first international goal against Montenegro in June 2007. Falcao's 20 international goals have come in 17 different games. Of those 17 games, Colombia have only lost once, against Venezuela in August 2009. They have won 14.

Falcao has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most feared strikers, enjoying a glittering career which has spanned across South America and Europe. He spent last season at Monaco, where he scored on his competitive debut, before suffering a knee injury which kept him out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The striker was Colombia’s top scorer during qualifying for the tournament with nine goals. He made a return to action during pre-season, scoring in a 1-0 win over Arsenal. He’ll be determined to ensure that is the first of many goals against Barclays Premier League opposition this term and beyond.