Radamel Falcao: From Santa Marta to Manchester

Radamel Falcao

As the transfer deadline was drawing to a dramatic close, the Manchester United fans frantically and desperately awaited news of a high quality defender or perhaps even a combative and aggressive central midfielder joining the ranks of the under-performing club, those wishes coming after the three abysmal displays in the league. however to much of a surprise for many, the United board were anxiously trying to complete paperwork to send to the Premier league for the signing of none other than the Colombian icon himself, Radamel Falcao. And it then became official that Manchester United had added to their already seemingly deadly attack with one of the finest and most potent out-and-out goal-scorers there are in the footballing world today.

“El Tigre” which means “Tiger” in English, was the nickname labelled to Falcao from his early River Plate days due to his aggressive, passionate and animalistic playing style which has helped him become one of the most naturally gifted poachers in the game, his father Radamel Garcia also a Colombian footballer who himself played in defence, named his son after Brazilian footballer Paulo Roberto Falcao, who of which in the 80’s was one of the most talented players in world football with Roma and Brazilian side Internacional in particular.

Just like Colombian legend Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, Falcao was born in Santa Marta, a city in the Caribbean region of Colombia in the department of Magdalena, the striker began his journey with second tier Colombian side Lanceros Boyaca, a small club located 130 kilometres away from Bogota. At the time the young Colombian shunned away interest from the top Colombian sides such as Los Millionarios and Sante Fe to develop at the modest second tier side, where he then later went on to make history as the youngest player to play in Colombian league football at the age of just 13.


Just one year later “El Tigre” then made his big move to South American powerhouse Club Atletico River Plate, a club renowned for producing great Latin American talents over the years with players such as Hernan Crespo, Ariel Ortega, Javier Mascherano and Pablo Aimar to name a few, all beginning their senior careers at the Buenos Aires based side. Radamel Falcao went on to score 45 goals for River Plate in 105 games before bagging his big move away to european football with Portuguese giants FC Porto and eventually moving onto Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, and the rest was history with Falcao going on to win the Europa League twice and various domestic titles with each club respectively, not to mention him tallying up to an impressive 104 goals in 139 games since the 2009/2010 season including his recent club Monaco.

With Falcao’s club and individual success since moving to European football so impressive, he has constantly been linked and desired by every top club under the sun, over past few years he has gained many admirers in the form of both manages and players.

Fabio Capello told La Gazzetta dello Sport in 2012:

”Throughout my entire career, there has been only one player who impressed me as much as Messi when I first saw him against my Juventus at the Joan Gamper trophy, and that is Radamel Falcao.”

His former Atletico teammate Gabi also mentioned in 2012 to Spanish Daily AS:

“He is the best No. 9 in the world and everyone wants to sign him.”

Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate, or Radamel Falcao as we know him turns 29 in february and many football fans will know of his huge success at Porto and Atletico Madrid but despite being known as one of best strikers in the world today, The Colombian forward only broke into his national side when he was 22, and moved to european football at the age of 23 which is notably later than most of todays current stars who had their first senior debut at reasonably younger ages.

However this could prove advantageous for Falcao who was perhaps more of a late bloomer compared to the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney and Neymar, to mention a few big names that are constantly mentioned and compared to others, who came on the main stage at a very early age. This could turn out to be a positive sign for Manchester United fans that Radamel Falcao may be able to sustain his abilities and keep improving until an older age due to his slightly later step up to European football without the current hype and hysteria young players with potential get today.

One thing is for certain, Manchester United have instantly improved on what was already a pretty formidable attacking group of individuals at Old Trafford into one of the deadliest strike teams in Europe with the acquisition of a well grounded, determined and most importantly for the United faithful, an exceptional goal scoring talent in the form of Radamel “El Tigre” Falcao.

This article was written by Robson Friend, who is part of our Academy writing team. Please make your comment on this article if you agree or disagree with the comments raised in this article.

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