For a couple of seasons now the debate has ranged from the bars of Kilmarnock to the mountain top cocktail lounges of Kazakhstan. Just who are the greatest players in the World? For that period, and up to now, popular opinion has basically focussed on those ‘Greatest players’ coming down to a short list of two. Messi and Ronaldo.
Perhaps finally it is time to start referring to the three greatest players in the World. And no, with all due respect Spurs fans, we don’t mean young Gareth Bale.
We are referring to one Radamel Falcao García. Or, to his mates, Falcao.
Regular followers of both La Liga and the Europa League are nodding to themselves gently as they read this, having witnessed in detail the delight that is Falcao in his prime. At 27 years old, he is a climber approaching his peak. He is in superb physical condition and technically, there may not be a better striker on the planet.
His goal against Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday night was the perfect illustration of what Falcao is all about right now. As the cross came in, the lightning fast Columbian cut in front of the hapless defender at exactly the right moment, and produced a finish Gary Lineker, Messi and Ian Rush would have been proud of. A simple yet beautiful goal, finished with the aplomb of a genius in his prime.
Falcao is not only a brilliant finisher, he is also a physical, athletic attacker who brings in the rest of his team mates with pin point passes. His aggressive attacking running pushes the ball with a scary pace, always attacking the opponents, never looking to go backwards, always seemingly charging forwards (Glenn Whelan he is not).
Whatever about finishing ability and physical attributes, Falcao has the credentials to at least be mentioned in the discussion along with Messi and Ronaldo.
He is not just a part of the Atletico Madrid side that is currently the only genuine challenger to Barcelona’s dominance in La Liga. He literally holds the team together. Diego Simeone’s team works because Falcao provides the skill and goals that the rest of Madrid’s athletic, aggressive players play off of.
He has priors too.
Remember that wonderful Europa League run that Porto went on? Guess who that magnificently long haired stallion was bashing in the goals, culminating in a terrific finals win in Dublin? That’s right. Falcao.
He does it on international level too. Columbia are relevant again in South American and indeed World football because of the level of play he brings to the table.
Finally, for the numerically focused among you, he passes the transfer fee test too. Recently Real Madrid poked around about the clever Columbian. Atletico shot back a very quick 90 million euro transfer fee estimate. Real Madrid backed off.
If Falcao played in the English Premier League we would never, ever stop talking about him. A tireless worker, a brilliant finisher, he brings so much to the game he clearly loves to play.
He may not be quite at the stratospheric level that Messi and Ronaldo are at right now, but goodness, he is close.
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