Radamel Falcao’s name on the team sheet used to strike fear into the hearts of any unfortunate defenders that had to line up across from him. His power, speed and undeniable nose for the goal made him one of the most prolific strikers in the world. It seemed like wherever he played, he scored. For Porto, the Colombian striker posted 72 goals in 85 matches. For Atlético Madrid, he slotted home a hefty tally of 70 goals in 91 games. This record earned him a move to AS Monaco FC for a rumored fee of €60 million. In the limited games that he was able to play for the Ligue 1 side, Falcao had a strike rate of more than 50 percent, scoring 13 goals in 22 games.
However, Falcao’s career took an unexpected turn when he suffered a season-ending knee injury that also ended his hopes of competing for his nation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. After returning from this injury late in Monaco’s 2014-15 preseason preparation, Falcao went on to play twice competitively (scoring one goal). After this relatively speedy recovery, Manchester United decided that it was worth the risk to pay a hefty loan fee and the striker’s high salary demands to bring the legendary player to Old Trafford.
United’s fans immediately began to fantasize of the dominant attack force that the team had put together. What defense would be able to handle a team with Ángel Di María, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata, and Falcao bearing down on them? Sadly, this dream front hasn’t quite lived up to their price tag, with Falcao serving as a symbol for this disappointment. Despite the four goals he has put away while in the famous red shirt, the 28-year-old hasn’t been able to consistently impact matches and score when needed.
Unwanted comparisons between him and former United flop Diego Forlan began to fly around social media after his disastrous miss from inside the six-yard box against Queens Park Rangers. Although Falcao has been able to do an adequate job of holding up possession and using his strength to get around defenders, his scoring touch just hasn’t been present during his current stay in North England.
Many United fans believe that once the striker is able to string together a couple of goals the floodgates will open and they will see the player that was once considered on the same level of players like Zlatan Ibrahimović. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any sign that he is ready to elevate himself back to this level. There have been a handful of chances for the South American to get onto the score sheet. Most recently, a chance to score a much-needed equalizer against a tough West Ham United that saw Falcao put a one-on-one effort against Adrián high and wide.
The Colombian’s agent, Jorge Mendes tried to allay any fears that the striker has lost his spark by telling reporters, “Falcao will be Falcao again. He’ll be a great player with Manchester United.” Mendes went on to say, “Falcao is a top player who will leave his mark on United’s season.”
As much as fans will want to believe the confidence that Mendes has in his player, they’ll have to see results on the field that back up this belief. Until they see Falcao scoring the unbelievable goals that he almost routinely put away for his previous clubs, they will have a hard time supporting an expensive price tag to take the striker on a permanent basis. On the bright side, there is almost half of the season left for Falcao to prove to United fans that he still has it. With key games coming up in the team’s chase for an illusive Champions League spot, there will surely be moments available for the player to cement his place as a star in England.