There won’t be many players who have upset Rayo Vallecano’s coach, Andoni Iraola, as much as the new striker who has come to him in the last breath of the transfer market, Radamel Falcao. The Colombian was directly responsible for the former Athletic captain falling a long way from lifting the first continental title in the history of the Bilbao club. In the 2012 Europa League final, two blows from the Tigre in half an hour with the Atlético shirt ruined the then team of Marcelo Bielsa (3-0). Now, a decade after that episode in Bucharest, the 39-year-old coach receives the illustrious 35-year-old striker as his boss.
In Vallecas they were looking for a battering ram on their return to First Division and they achieved one of the most reputed surnames in the last five decades: 250 exact targets since he poked his head in Porto in 2009. He arrives in the south of Madrid after two very bumpy seasons at Galatasaray , first because the physicist stopped him again (nine injuries and 253 days out of the fields) and then because the economy of the Turkish team could not resist his star payroll (around five million). Last summer his salary had to be lowered and he was told directly that they should terminate his contract.
So, free, it was Rayo who stayed with him in the final hours of the market in which he also tied the loan of Sergi Guardiola (from Valladolid) and tempted the Madrid player Mariano. The agreement between Falcao and Rayo is for one season. With his landing in the Kas Valley, the place that has made the neighborhood a brand, the aristocratic Tigre will once again wear the red stripe, as in his beginnings in River Plate, where he arrived with 15 years. There, the 45 goals with Millionaires they opened the door to Europe for him.
His career, however, has left a point of dissatisfaction. His name and his proven opportunism within the area were always ahead of the titles he won and the great teams he led. In their showcases, the highlights that appear are a French league, two Portuguese, a pair of Europa League, a King’s Cup and a European Super Cup. Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that he has scored more than twice as many goals in the second continental competition (30) than in the Champions League (12) with an almost identical number of crashes, about 30.
Double hit in the Premier
As he came to confess, he was not always master of his future. And the injuries didn’t help either. Belonging to the hegemonic representation agency of Jorge Mendes and subject to operations in which investment funds also participated (thus he signed for Atlético in 2011), the club where he has played the most is Monaco (four seasons).
The Principality arrived at its maximum maturity (27 years), seduced by the 14 million salary and convinced that it would only be a way station towards greater heights after four good seasons between Porto (72 goals) and Calderón (70 goals ). However, that did not happen. From that moment on, his career began to move into a second sporting echelon.
First he was punished by a crusader break that left him out of the 2014 World Cup and then came his frustrated experience in the Premier. At United he did not get on with Van Gaal, who even lowered him to the subsidiary, and at Chelsea he suffered another major injury. Only five goals in those two seasons on loan. A double hit that definitely brought him back to a lower level in the fields. In his three subsequent seasons at Monaco he still scored 70 goals, winning Ligue 1 and reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2017 driven by the appearance of Mbappé, Lemar and Bernardo Silva. That success propelled that group of players to more prosperous clubs, but he, in his thirties, no longer left France until the contract was exhausted and he moved to Galatasaray.
Now, when he returns from training with his national team, with whom he has only played two games in two years, the Colombian will learn about Vallecas, he will meet again with his teammate at Atlético Mario Suárez, and maybe Iraola will remind him of what made him suffer in 2012 in Bucharest. Patricio Falcao, like Hugo Sánchez in the early nineties, disembarks in the self-proclaimed neighborhood team to hold him in First.
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