Falcao in 2011
|Full name||Radamel Falcao García Zárate|
|Date of birth||10 February 1986|
|Place of birth||Santa Marta, Colombia|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Current club||A.S Monaco|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 June 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Radamel Falcao García Zárate (10 February 1986), commonly known simply as Radamel Falcao or Falcao García in Latin America, is a Colombian football striker, who currently plays for AS Monaco in the French Ligue 1 and represents the Colombia national football team. He is sometimes nicknamed as El Tigre (Spanish for The Tiger) and King of the Europa League.
Falcao is considered by many experts to be the 'deadliest' striker in the world and among the best, having surpassed Jürgen Klinsmann's record of 15 goals (17) in a single annual international club football European competition UEFA Champions League/UEFA Europa League campaign. He also played a key role in guiding F.C. Porto to a second UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League title, as well as finishing undefeated in the 2010–11 Primeira Liga season. In July 2011, Falcao was regarded as the fifth best player in Europe during the 2010–11 season through balloting by 53 sportswriters of the UEFA member associations. Falcao had also received the Portuguese Golden Ball award in 2011, becoming the first Colombian to do so. Falcao had won both the GQ Spain award for sportsman of the year and the Globe Best Footballer in 2012. In 2012, Falcao was listed 6th in The 100 best footballers in the world by The Guardian. Falcao was listed into the FIFA XI for 2012.
In just his first three seasons in European football, Falcao scored over 100 goals. Falcao had played a key role in Atlético Madrid's 12 match winning streak in a single Europa League season, making it the first team to do so. He also became the top goal scorer in both tournaments. Falcao had another historical achievement winning his first UEFA Super Cup in 2012, becoming the first player in history to score a hat trick in the contest since its reform in 1998. Falcao's most noticeable trait aside from his ability to play well with both feet and a strong header despite his size would be his impressive goal ratio and goal-by-minute ratio that even exceeds world top players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. On 9 December 2012, Falcao became one of the few players in La Liga history to score five goals in one game after accomplishing this in a 6–0 home victory against Deportivo de La Coruña. In the 2013 Copa del Rey Final, Falcao played a very crucial part in Atlético Madrid's victory over Real Madrid, ending the 14 year unbeaten streak which Real Madrid had held in matches against Atlético prior to the final.
Falcao made his debut for Lanceros Boyacá in the Colombian Categoría Primera B (second tier) on 28 August 1999 at the age of 13 years and 199 days, thus becoming the youngest debutant at that level of Colombian professional football. In 2000, Lanceros' coach, Hernán Pacheco, began to consider the 14-year-old more seriously; Falcao played seven matches that year. On 25 July, at the Estadio Olímpico del Sol at Sogamoso, he scored his first and only goal for the club, to seal a 2–0 win against Club El Cóndor that took Lanceros off the bottom of the table. In his two years with the club, he played eight matches and scored once.
After training with Millonarios, who did not take up their option to purchase the player, Falcao was sold to River Plate of Argentina in February 2001 for a $500,000 fee (which fell to $175,000 when the Argentine currency was devalued). He began his River career in the youth team, playing in the eighth division of Argentine football. River coach Leonardo Astrada gave Falcao his professional debut in the 2005 Torneo Clausura in a game that the club lost 2–1 to Gimnasia.
Falcao became a regular in the first team during the 2005 Torneo Apertura. He scored twice in a match for the first time in Argentina, on 2 October in a game against Independiente that finished as a 3–1 win for River. He repeated the feat twice more during the Apertura: against Lanús, his brace contributed to a 4–1 home win, and against San Lorenzo, River won 5–1. This brought his total for the competition to seven from as many games under the management of Reinaldo Merlo, who gave Falcao the trust he needed to establish himself in the team.
In the match against San Lorenzo in November, Falcao injured the ligaments of his right knee and missed the remainder of the Apertura; then, during pre-season training in January 2006, he sustained more serious damage to the same knee, which required surgery and was expected to keep him out for at least six months. He returned to the field in September, soon after the start of the 2006 Torneo Apertura, in which he made 12 appearances, mainly as a substitute; he scored just once, to seal a 2–0 win against Rosario Central that took River clear at the top of the table. A few days earlier he made his debut in CONMEBOL competition, in the last eight of the 2006 Copa Sudamericana against Atlético Paranaense of Brazil. He was replaced at half-time, and the match finished 2–2, so River were eliminated on aggregate, having lost the home leg 1–0.
He was sent off in his only outing in the 2007 Copa Libertadores, against Colo-Colo in February 2007. Domestically, he made little impression on the 2007 Torneo Clausura. He scored in only one of the eight games he played: River's first two goals as they beat Racing Club 4–2 away from home. Falcao scored his first professional hat-trick on 28 September 2007, as River made a historic comeback against Botafogo to progress in the 2007 Sudamericana. The following week, he scored his first goal in a Superclásico, the first of River's goals as they beat Boca Juniors 2–0.
River was reported to have rejected a $15 million offer from Milan for Falcao in early 2008, as well as bids from clubs including Aston Villa and Fluminense. He was a key player as Diego Simeone led River to the 2008 Torneo Clausura championship, his first domestic title, and his performances meant he was linked with moves to a variety of clubs. Nevertheless, he remained with River as they suffered the worst campaign in their history, finishing bottom of the 2008 Torneo Apertura.
In 2009, River Plate had a difficult start: they were eliminated in the group stage of the Copa Libertadores 2009 and won few games at the beginning of the 2009 Torneo Clausura. Radamel retained his eye for goal, and was instrumental in Nestor Gorosito's plans, having matured as a striker over the previous two years, scoring more than 30 goals in domestic competition and more than 10 in CONMEBOL tournaments.
Falcao moved to Europe when he joined the Portuguese giants FC Porto on 15 July 2009 for a fee of €3.93 million for 60% economic rights after Porto sold striker Lisandro López to Olympique Lyonnais. In the transaction, Porto also sold Mario Bolatti for €1.5 million to a third party owner, Natland Financier B.V., in exchange for 35% economic rights of Falcao. Curiously, Falcao was about to sign for Porto rivals Benfica days before, but the reluctance of its leaders to pay an additional €700,000 requested by Falcao dictated the end of negotiations; days later, Falcao joined Porto. He made his debut against Paços de Ferreira on the opening day of the season and scored an important goal to earn the team a draw. He went on to score three goals in as many games, making him one of the very few to score four goals in the first four matchdays in the Portuguese league.
On 15 September, he made his UEFA Champions League debut in a 1–0 away defeat against Chelsea. Falcao would later score a brilliant header to defeat rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal on the sixth matchday, giving his team a 1–0 home victory. Four days later, on 30 September, he scored his first Champions League goal in a group stage win over Atlético Madrid. On 2 February 2010, Falcao scored twice in a Portuguese Cup quarter-finals victory against rivals Sporting CP. In the same month, he scored the victory goal against Arsenal in a UEFA Champions League round of 16 match, being his fourth goal in the tournament. On 3 April, Falcao scored a brace against Marítimo, and turned into the highest goalscorer of the Portuguese League with 20 goals, but he would finish the season as the second-highest league scorer with 25 goals, behind only Benfica's Óscar Cardozo, who had 26. He scored another goal in his last game of the season, the Portuguese Cup final, where Porto won 2–1 against Grupo Desportivo Chaves. He wrapped up the campaign with a career-high 34 goals in all competitions.
Falcao made an impressive start to the 2010–11 season, scoring a goal in the 2010 Portuguese SuperCup 2–0 victory over Benfica. He scored his first two league goals on the second matchday of the season against Beira-Mar on 22 August 2010. On 7 November, he scored twice (one of them an impressive backheel goal) in a 5–0 victory against the defending champions Benfica, and later, on 2 December, Falcao scored his first hat-trick for Porto against Rapid Wien during a UEFA Europa League clash, becoming the top goal scorer of the competition with 17 goals. On 7 April 2011, Falcao scored another hat-trick in the quarter-final of the Europa League against Russian side Spartak Moscow, which was won by the Portuguese team by a score of 5–1, to bring his goal tally in the tournament to 10.
In the 2010–11 season, Porto won the league title in round 25 of the league against rivals and defending champions Benfica at the Estádio da Luz. He played a key role in that match, winning his team a penalty when the match was tied at 1–1; the penalty was scored by teammate Hulk. In the match against Spartak Moscow in the Europa League, Falcao scored a hat-trick and provided an assist in a 5–1 win. In the second leg, he scored another goal and provided another assist that took Porto to the tournament's semi-final stage. He further added to his position as top scorer in the competition by scoring four goals in the semi-final first leg against Villarreal CF, a game which finished 5–1 in favour of Porto.
In the UEFA Europa League final against domestic rivals Braga, Falcao scored the only goal of the game with a header after a cross from Fredy Guarín, giving the title to Porto. He set a new goalscoring record of 17 goals in 14 games during the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League, surpassing Jürgen Klinsmann's previous record of 15 goals.
On 18 August 2011, Porto announced they had agreed a fee with Atlético Madrid for the transfer of Falcao. The transfer fee was €40 million with the fee potentially rising by €10 million based on performance-based clauses, making him the most expensive player in the club's history. Falcao made his Atlético debut on 10 September away to Valencia CF, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 defeat. On 3 November, Falcao netted a goal in Atlético's 4–0 triumph over Udinese — the goal meant that Falcao had scored 19 goals in his last 18 Europa League games.
Falcao's second hat-trick in La Liga came on 21 January 2012, when he led his team to a 4–0 victory against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta Stadium. On 16 February, Falcao scored twice and assisted a goal in an away game against Lazio to progress to the Round of 16 in the Europa League. In the second leg of Atletico's Round of 16 clash against Turkish giants Beşiktaş, Falcao scored one goal and provided another in a 3–0 victory, advancing 6–1 on aggregate. On 21 March, Falcao netted a second half double to propel his side to a 2–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao and keep Atletico in the race for European places. Falcao scored another goal sealing a 3–0 victory over Getafe CF. In both legs of the Europa League quarter-final tie versus Hannover 96, Falcao managed to score a goal for each leg, helping Atlético seal a 4–2 aggregate victory and increasing his goal tally to eight in the competition.
Falcao played his first Madrid Derby against Real Madrid on 11 April 2012. He had missed the first match at the Santiago Bernabéu due to injury, and scored Atletico's only goal as his side fell 4–1 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. He scored his 22nd goal of the season against Rayo Vallecano in a crucial 1–0 victory for Atlético Madrid. For the first leg of the 2011–12 Europa league semifinals against Valencia CF, Falcao scored a double in a 4–2 victory while making Atlético the first team to win 10-straight matches in a single Europa League season. Falcao added to his Europa League tally in the final against fellow La Liga side Athletic Bilbao, netting Atlético's opening two goals in a 3–0 triumph at the Arena Națională in Bucharest on 9 May 2012. In doing so, Falcao not only became the top goal scorer in a Europa league season again but became the first player in history to win two consecutive Europa League/UEFA Cup titles with two different teams. In all competitions, Falcao had scored a record of 36 goals for Atlético Madrid, the highest amount by any player in a first season playing for the club.
Falcao scored two hat-tricks at the start of the 2012–13 season; first in the La Liga game against 2012 Europa League finalists Athletic Bilbao, and the second in the defeat of Chelsea, winning the 2012 UEFA Super Cup by a score of 4–1, on 31 August 2012. At the same time, Falcao became the first player in history to score a hat trick in a UEFA Super Cup final in its current format; the original format was two legged before turning into a single legged final format in 1998. On 16 September, Falcao scored what turned out to be the decisive goal from the penalty spot in a 4–3 win over Rayo Vallecano, and did the same a week later against Real Valladolid, before going off at half-time in order to avoid a possible groin injury. Falcao scored a double in a 4–2 away victory over Real Betis, converting a cross for the first and then converting a penalty, putting him to the top of the goal scoring charts in La Liga with seven goals.
Falcao scored a wonderful header against Málaga CF and forced Málaga defender Weligton to score an own goal, pushing Atlético to victory in the final minute. He scored once again in the away fixture to Real Sociedad after the international break, this time with a rare free-kick — his first professional free kick-goal — in the 90th minute, winning the match 1–0. In a game against Sevilla FC, Falcao scored a penalty and assisted another goal in a 4–0 victory; the strike marked his 50th goal for Atletico Madrid. In the match against Deportivo de La Coruña on 9 December, Falcao scored an astonishing five goals, becoming the first player in La Liga in over a decade to net five goals in a game. For his last goal of the 2012 calendar year, Falcao scored the opening goal against Spanish giants FC Barcelona in a 4–1 loss at the Camp Nou.
Falcao missed the first La Liga match of 2013 due to an injury but returned in the second match against Real Zaragoza, where he scored a penalty. It was noted that Falcao struggled to maintain form during the match. In the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals against Real Betis, Falcao scored a header in a 2–0 victory. Falcao returned on 3 February after being injured for 3 weeks where he failed to make a comeback on his return against Real Betis in a 1-0 victory. In a 2-1 loss against Rayo Vallecano, Falcao scored in the 94th minute on the day of his birthday. Falcao finally played his first match of the 2012-13 Europa League in a 2-0 lost against Rubin Kazan. Falcao scored against Real Valladolid in a 3-0 victory. In the second leg against Kazan of the Europa league, Falcao scored a late goal but it was not enough to save Atletico from being knocked out on a 2-1 aggregate. Falcao scored a penalty in a 1-0 victory against Espanyol, Altetico was down to 10 men at this time.
In the Copa de Rey Semi-finals, Falcao scored against Sevilla FC in a 2–2 draw. Although Atletico advanced to the finals on a 4–3 aggregate as well as scoring twice before Sevilla. In the league match against Valencia CF, Valencia had scored a goal in the 4th minute stunning the home fans. However, Falcao responded with a goal of his own less than a minute later. The game however only ended 1-1. Falcao scored a double against Granada CF in a comfortable 5-0 victory. The second goal marked Falcao's 200th career goal (counting both club and nation). In an away match against Sevilla, Falcao scored the only goal in a 0-1 victory. In the Madrid Derby against Real Madrid, Falcao scored Atletico's only goal once more in a 1-2 home lost. Falcao scored the last goal for Atletico in a 3-1 away victory over Celta de Vigo. The win also assured Atletico Madrid to appear in the UEFA Champions League for next season for the first time in 4 years. In Falcao's last match against F.C. Barcelona for the 2012-13 season, Falcao scored yet another goal in another 2-1 home lost. This made Falcao one of the few players to consecutive score against them in 3 out of 4 La Liga appearances between the current and last season.
2013 Copa del Rey final
In the 2013 Copa del Rey Final, Atletico Madrid were given one final chance of the season to beat their arch-rivals Real Madrid for the first time in 14 years. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the game with a header in the 14th minute. In the 35th minute, Falcao had a chance to run forward while surrounded by Real players but did something different: after catching the ball, he pulled it backwards where two Real Madrid players bumpped into one another, leaving just 3 surrounding him. He cut to the right side and delievered a wonderful pass to Diego Costa who shot low equalizing moments later. In extra time, Miranda scored the winning goal with a header from a corner in the 98th minute. Despite Falcao not scoring a single goal, he took the home team by surprise in committing to the role of playmaker rather than a striker role. Thus, he abandoned the typical 'pure striker' role. This allowed Atletico to win the cup and defeat their arch rivals for the first time in 14 years. This is also Falcao's first domestic title with Atletico.
On 20 May 2013, Atlético Madrid general manager Miguel Ángel Gil Marín announced that the club will not stand in the way if Falcao decides to leave in the upcoming summer transfer window. On 31 May 2013, AS Monaco FC announced that they had reached an agreement with Atlético Madrid for a transfer. Falcao signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to range from €45 million to €60 million, with his annual salary at AS Monaco being reported to be around €14 million. Despite the Colombian showing optimism about his Monaco future, Falcao gave an emotional farewell to Atlético during a press interview, expressing his enjoyment with the club and considering it to be "the best time of his career". On a interesting note, Falcao went on to say that part of his reason for choosing Monaco was to follow the footsteps of his idol, Thierry Henry.
Early years 2005–2010
Falcao's national career was "late" in terms of chances in playing for the national team due to injuries around important events. He represented the under-17 national team and the under-20. Falcao was part of the team that won the 2005 edition of the South American Youth Champion. Eventually, his first major international tournament was of the 2005 U-20 World Cup.
In the senior national team, Falcao's first goal came against Montenegro during the Kirin Cup held in Japan during 2007 at only 21 years of age, winning the match for Colombia 1–0. His second occurred later that year in a friendly against Peru. Falcao didn't score his third goal till 2008 against Nigeria in a 1–0 win.
Falcao didn't score another goal for Colombia until the following year in 2011 during a friendly against Ecuador, where his prime talents began to emerge during this era. Falcao scored against Ecuador again a few months later in another friendly where he scored the winning goal on both occasions.
2011 Copa América
Falcao's first Copa América — he missed the 2007 edition due to injuries — was upon him. Falcao became a huge threatening factor as his reputation in Europe at this time made him a feared striker. Failing to score against Costa Rica and the host nation Argentina, Falcao stepped up scoring a double against Bolivia, causing Colombia to top their group, shocking and surprising the host country Argentina, who were favorites to win the group.
In the next round, Falcao made a mistake when taking a penalty kick against Peru. Shooting wide, Falcao dashed Colombia's hopes of reaching the semi-finals, as Peru were able to score two goals in extra time due to various mistakes made by the Colombians. Falcao then vowed to perfect his penalty kick technique after missing his chance to send his team into the next round.
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
Falcao's talents were shown once more against the 2011 Copa América winners Uruguay, scoring in the second minute to help Colombia win 4–0 in a crucial qualifying win. In the same match, he assisted fellow countryman Juan Zúñiga, sealing the 4–0 victory in the final minutes of extra time. Falcao scored again days later as well as providing an assist against Chile to help give Colombia a 3–1 away win which put them second in the table, one point behind Argentina.
Falcao contributed greatly by scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory over Paraguay.
In Falcao's first game for 2013, he played in the qualifying match against Bolivia. Falcao scored with a header in the first 10 minutes. However, it was not counted since the assistant referee called the assist play pior to his goal as 'offside'. Although the replay showed that he was not offside and thus Falcao was wrongly disallowed. Regardless, Falcao scored in the final minutes of the game scoring the fourth goal. Falcao scored a penalty against Peru in the 13th minute where Colombia dominated the game entirely and won 2-0.
Playing style and praise
Falcao has been described as one of the most "natural in form, goal scorers" in the world today. His abilities to adapt to most positions and scoring goals with various parts of his body has resulted in goals than most would never expect. His footing and curves are highly noticeable through his games regardless of distance and/or positions. Falcao is well known for having a strong weak foot (left) that is on equals with his right foot (preference) allowing him to be flexible with goal scoring even in the most awkward positions. Falcao controls a well balance pace keeping his stamina in check and allowing him to often out run other players in the most critical moments in obtaining the ball. The strength of his shots is often well controlled, in terms of distance and angles, as shown throughout his career.
Uniquely, while Falcao is only of average height (only three inches taller than Lionel Messi), his header technique has given him an edge winning generally all aerial battles for the balls. His most impressive goals tend to be headers, with the majority of his goals coming in the air. Falcao is said to play at his fullest capabilities only when he's under pressure and/or playing against a very strong team.
Falcao's talents have been recognized by many football players former and current, perhaps most notably by former FC Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who described him as "sensational" and as one of the most talented in the world. Many figures such as Fabio Capello have considered him to be on the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, while acknowledging Falcao as the best striker in the world. Some tout him as the best signing for the Spanish league in the 21st Century. Falcao has even been praised by current King of Spain Juan Carlos I himself for his remarkable talents.
Falcao is a second generation footballer, with his father Radamel García having played professionally as a defender in Colombia. His name derives from the 1980s Brazil, Internacional and Roma legend Falcão. Despite being named Radamel, he prefers to use his middle name in interviews. Falcao signed a long term deal with German brand Puma.
He is a devout Christian and leader of various religious youth groups, including "Locos por Jesús" and "Campeones para Cristo." Falcao is married to Argentinean singer Lorelei Taron. In early 2013, it was revealed that Falcao is soon to be expecting his first child with her.
Falcao is good friends with Brazilian international star Kaká. Falcao is also noticeably on good terms with Cristiano Ronaldo, despite both being the star players of their own respective clubs, whom are fierce rivals. Falcao is also friends with Lionel Messi, as the two have been seen often shaking hands and chatting together. They've also taken part in a charity match together.
Following his move to join AS Monaco, Falcao expressed his admiration for Thierry Henry and wanting to follow in his footsteps after stating, 'My heart is in Monaco, since my idol Thierry Henry played for that team.'.
- As of match played 22 March 2013.
|Colombia national team|
- Score and Result lists Colombia's goals first
- Primeira Liga (1): 2010–11
- Taça de Portugal (2): 2009–10, 2010–11
- Portuguese Super Cup (2): 2010, 2011
- UEFA Europa League (1): 2010–11
- South American XI (1): 2007
- Taça de Portugal Top Goalscorer (1): 2009–10
- Portuguese Golden Ball (1): 2010–11
- UEFA Europa League Top Goalscorer (2): 2010–11,1 2011–12
- UEFA Europa League Final Man of the Match (2): 2011, 2012
- First player in history to win 2 consecutive European tournament titles with two different teams2
- UEFA Super Cup Man of the Match (1): 2012
- First player in history to score a hat-trick in a single legged format UEFA Super Cup
- One of the few in history to score 5 goals in a La Liga match
- FIFA Ballon d'Or nominated (1): 2012 (5th)
- FIFA FIFPro World XI (1): 2012
- GQ Sports man of the year (1): 2012
- Globe Best Footballer (1): 2012
- Onze de Bronze (1): 2012
- Guardian ranked 6th in Best 100 footballers in the world
- Trofeo EFE (1): 2012 
1 Record of 17 goals in a European competition.
- Order of Boyaca: 2010
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- http://www.atleticofans.com/11854/falcao-awarded-the-portuguese-golden-ball /
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- "Falcao shines as Atletico reign in Monaco –". FIFA. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- "Messi y Ronaldo ya no son los mejores en todo – Yahoo! Eurosport ES". Yahoo!. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
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- "Atlético Madrid vs. Deportivo La Coruña - 9 December 2012 - Soccerway". Uk.soccerway.com. 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- "Falcao scores five as Atletico routs Deportivo - La Liga News | FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- Montes, Jimmy & Ascencio, José Orlando (20 February 2010). "En Colombia se vive la 'Falcaomanía'" ['Falcaomania' is rife in Colombia]. El Tiempo (in Spanish) (Colombia). Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- Marín S., William J. (12 April 2012). "Radamel Falcao García jugó en la Segunda División en Colombia" [Radamel Falcao García played in the Colombian Second Division] (in Spanish). División Mayor del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- "Lanceros frenó al Cóndor" [Lanceros put the brakes on Cóndor]. El Tiempo (in Spanish). 25 April 2000. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- "Falcao García no podrá vestir camiseta de Millonarios" [Falcao García couldn't wear the Millonarios shirt]. El País (in Spanish) (Cali). 15 May 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
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- Schiavo, Francisco (30 May 2005). "Piensa en otra cosa" [Think of something else]. La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- "Falcao hizo festejar a River" [Falcao had a ball at River]. Infobae (in Spanish). 3 October 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
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- "Grave lesión de colombiano Falcao" [Serious injury to the Colombian Falcao]. Terra (in Spanish). 20 January 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
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- Official website
- Official profile on Atlético Madrid
- Radamel Falcao – UEFA competition record
- Radamel Falcao – FIFA competition record
- Radamel Falcao at National-Football-Teams.com
- Transfermarkt profile
- Radamel Falcao García at Football Lineups