Radamel Falcao

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Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao García.jpg
Falcao in 2019
Personal information
Full name Radamel Falcao García Zárate[1]
Date of birth (1986-02-10) 10 February 1986 (age 34)[2]
Place of birth Santa Marta, Colombia
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)[3]
Playing position(s) Forward
Club information
Current team
Number 9
Youth career
Lanceros Boyacá
2001–2005 River Plate
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2001 Lanceros Boyacá 8 (1)
2005–2009 River Plate 90 (34)
2009–2011 Porto 51 (41)
2011–2013 Atlético Madrid 68 (52)
2013–2019 Monaco 107 (65)
2014–2015Manchester United (loan) 26 (4)
2015–2016Chelsea (loan) 10 (1)
2019– Galatasaray 16 (10)
National team
2001–2005 Colombia U17 4 (1)
2005–2007 Colombia U20 11 (4)
2007– Colombia 89 (34)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 June 2020
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 28 June 2019

Radamel Falcao García Zárate (Spanish pronunciation: [raðaˈmel falˈkao]; 10 February 1986) is a Colombian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Süper Lig club Galatasaray and the Colombia national team. He is sometimes nicknamed "El Tigre" (Spanish for The Tiger) or "King of the Europa League".[4][5] During his prime, he was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.[6][7][8]

Falcao began his professional career at the age of 13 at Lanceros Boyacá, before moving to the Argentine club River Plate, where he won the 2007–08 Clausura tournament. In 2009, he joined the Portuguese club Porto, where he won several trophies, including the Europa League and Primeira Liga double in 2011.[9][10] Falcao became their all-time top goalscorer in international club competitions and set the record for most goals (17) in a European campaign. He also became the first Colombian to receive the Portuguese Golden Ball award.[11] In August 2011, Falcao was transferred to Atlético Madrid for a club record €40 million, leading them to Europa League and Super Cup victories in 2012. Falcao finished as top goalscorer for the second straight year and became the first player to win consecutive Europa League titles with two teams.[12][13] He was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2012.[14]

In May 2013, Falcao joined newly promoted Monaco for a club record €60 million; however, an ACL injury ruled him out for several months.[15] Falcao spent the next two seasons on loan at Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea, eventually rejoining Monaco in 2016 and leading them to Ligue 1 title for the 2016–17 season.

Falcao made his senior debut for Colombia in 2007, and has since earned 89 caps and scored 34 goals, making him their all-time top scorer. He represented his country at the 2011, 2015 and 2019 Copa América. Falcao missed the 2014 FIFA World Cup through injury, but made his World Cup debut at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Club career[edit]

Lanceros Boyacá[edit]

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.[16] In 2000, Lanceros' coach, Hernán Pacheco, began to consider the 14-year-old more seriously; Falcao played seven matches that year.[17] 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.[18] In his two years with the club, he played eight matches and scored once.[17]

River Plate[edit]

After training with Millonarios, who did not take up their option to purchase the player,[19] Falcao was sold to River Plate of Argentina in February 2001, for a $500,000 fee.[17][20] He began his River career in the youth team, playing in the eighth division of Argentine football.[20] River's coach, Leonardo Astrada, gave Falcao his professional debut in the 2005 Torneo Clausura, on 6 March 2005, in a game that the club won 3–1 to Instituto de Córdoba.[21][22]

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.[23] He repeated the feat twice more during the Apertura: against Lanús, his brace contributed to a 4–1 home win,[24] and against San Lorenzo, River won 5–1.[25] This brought his total for the competition to seven from as many games[26] 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.[27][28] 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.[26][29] 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.[30]

He was sent off in his only outing in the 2007 Copa Libertadores, against Colo-Colo in February 2007.[26] 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.[26][31] 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.[26] The following week, he scored his first goal in a Superclásico, the first of River's goals as they beat Boca Juniors 2–0.[32]

River Plate were 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.[33] Nevertheless, he remained with River as they suffered the worst campaign in their history, finishing bottom of the 2008 Torneo Apertura.[34]

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. Falcao retained his eye for goal and was instrumental in Nestor Gorosito's plans, having matured as a striker over the previous two years; he finished as top scorer with 43 goals.[35]


2009–10 season[edit]

Falcao playing for FC Porto in 2010

Falcao moved to Europe on 15 July 2009 to join Porto of the Portuguese Primeira Liga for a €3.93 million transfer fee for 60% of his economic rights[36] after Porto sold striker Lisandro López to Lyon.[37] 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% of the economic rights of Falcao.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40] He went on to score three goals in as many games, making him one of the 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.[41] Two weeks later, on 30 September, he scored his first Champions League goal in a group stage win over Atlético Madrid.[42] On 12 December, Falcao scored a header to defeat rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal in a 1–0 home victory.[43] On 2 February 2010, Falcao scored twice in a Taça de Portugal quarter-finals victory against rivals Sporting CP.[44] In the same month, he scored the winning goal against Arsenal in a UEFA Champions League round of 16 match,[45] his fourth goal in the tournament. On 3 April, Falcao scored a brace against Marítimo to lead the scoring charts with 20 goals,[46] however 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 in his last game of the season, the 2009–10 Taça de Portugal, where Porto won 2–1 against Chaves.[47] Falcao wrapped up the campaign with a career-high 34 goals in all competitions.[35]

2010–11 season[edit]

Falcao made an impressive start to the 2010–11 season, scoring a goal in the 2010 Portuguese SuperCup 2–0 victory over Benfica.[48] He scored his first two league goals on the second matchday of the season against Beira-Mar on 22 August 2010.[49] On 7 November, he scored twice (one of them a backheel goal) in a 5–0 victory against the defending champions Benfica.[50] 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 with seven goals. On 7 April 2011, Falcao scored another hat-trick in the quarter-final of the Europa League against Russian side Spartak Moscow in a 5–1 victory, to bring his goal tally in the tournament to ten.

I'd like to play with him. Falcao is a great player and is at a very high level. He has won everything in a season in which he scored many goals. He is, today, the great reference of Colombian football.

Lionel Messi, June 2011.[35]

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. Falcao 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, a game which finished 5–1 in favour of Porto.

In the 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.[51][52] He set a new goalscoring record of 17 goals in 14 games during the Europa League campaign, surpassing Jürgen Klinsmann's previous record of 15 goals.[53] In July 2011, Falcao extended his contract with an added €45 million buy-out clause.[54] Porto paid a commission of €6,585,150 to extend the contract.[55]

Atlético Madrid[edit]

2011–12 season[edit]

On 18 August 2011, Porto announced they had agreed a fee with Atlético Madrid for the transfer of Falcao.[56] The transfer fee was €40 million with the fee potentially rising to €50 million based on performance-based clauses, making him the most expensive player in the club's history.[57] Falcao made his Atlético debut on 10 September away to Valencia, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 defeat.[58][59] 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.[60]

Falcao celebrates winning the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League with Atlético Madrid

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.[61] In the second leg of Atlético's Round of 16 clash against Turkish club Beşiktaş, Falcao scored one goal and provided another in a 3–0 victory, advancing 6–1 on aggregate.[62] On 21 March, Falcao netted a second half double to propel his side to a 2–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao and keep Atlético in the race for European places.[63] Falcao scored another goal sealing a 3–0 victory over Getafe. 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.[64][65]

Falcao played his first Madrid Derby against Real Madrid on 11 April 2012. He had missed the first match at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium due to injury, and scored Atlético's only goal as his side fell 4–1 due 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. For the first leg of the 2011–12 Europa League semi-finals against Valencia, Falcao scored a double in a 4–2 victory while making Atlético the first team to win ten consecutive matches in a single Europa League season.[66] Falcao added to his Europa League tally in the final against fellow 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.[67] In so doing, 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 titles with two different teams.[68]

2012–13 season[edit]

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,[69] and the second in the defeat of Chelsea, winning the 2012 UEFA Super Cup 4–1 on 31 August 2012.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72]

Falcao scored a header against Málaga, forcing Málaga defender Weligton to score an own goal, pushing Atlético to victory in the final minute. He scored once again in an away fixture to Real Sociedad, this time with a rare free-kick – his first professional free kick-goal – in the 90th minute, winning the match 1–0.[73] In a match against Sevilla, Falcao scored a penalty and assisted another goal in a 4–0 victory; the strike marked his 50th goal for Atlético.[74] 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 match.[75][76]

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 Betis, Falcao scored a header in a 2–0 victory.[77]

In the Copa del Rey semi-finals, Falcao scored against Sevilla in a 2–2 draw, although Atlético advanced to the finals with a 4–3 aggregate scoreline as well as scoring twice before Sevilla. In the league match against Valencia, Falcao scored again in a 1–1 draw. Falcao scored a double against Granada in a comfortable 5–0 victory. The second goal marked Falcao's 200th career goal (counting both club and nation).[78] 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 Atlético's only goal once more, albeit in a 1–2 home loss.[79] Falcao scored the last goal for Atlético in a 3–1 away victory over Celta de Vigo. The win assured Atlético Madrid would appear in the Champions League for next season for the first time in four years.[80]

In the 2013 Copa del Rey Final, Atlético were trailing 1–0 when Falcao delivered a timely assist to Diego Costa to tie the game. They went on to win 2–1 and defeat their arch-rivals Real Madrid for the first time in 14 years.[81][82] This was Falcao's first and only domestic cup title with Atlético.


It makes me laugh at times when I get asked why I didn't stay at a particular club or why I haven't moved to another side, as if the player has a choice in the matter. I'd say back to journalists: why don't you work at CNN or ESPN? It's the same in football; on very few occasions can the player make the decision to move from one club or to another. There have been occasions when I've not been able to live in the way I want, many times. I want to go to a particular club and in finally I end up at another.

Falcao in 2014, speaking on his move from Atlético Madrid to Monaco.[83]

On 31 May 2013, Atlético Madrid general manager Miguel Ángel Gil Marín announced that the club would not stand in the way if Falcao decided to leave in the next summer transfer window. Despite being linked with various clubs such as Atlético Madrid's city rivals Real Madrid, he signed for newly promoted Ligue 1 side Monaco on 31 May 2013. Falcao subsequently signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee,[84][85] believed to be around €60 million, with his net annual salary at Monaco being reported to be around €18.2 million.[84][86][87][88] Despite the Colombian showing optimism about his Monaco future, Falcao gave an emotional farewell to Atlético during a press interview,[89] expressing his enjoyment with the club and considering it to be "the best time of his career".[90] Falcao went on to say that part of his reason for choosing Monaco was to follow the footsteps of his idol, Thierry Henry.[91][92] Monaco sporting director Vadim Vasilyev said that the club hoped to build a team around Falcao and provide a direct challenge in Ligue 1 to Qatari backed PSG.[93]

2013–14 season[edit]

Falcao warming-up for AS Monaco in 2014

Falcao made his Ligue 1 debut in the first match against Bordeaux, where he managed to score in the 88th minute, sealing a 2–0 victory. Against Montpellier, Falcao opened the scoring board with a penalty kick. Monaco went on to win the game 4–1.[94] In a match against Marseille, Falcao scored the equalizer in a 2–1 victory.[95] In a match against Lorient, Falcao scored an early penalty kick, the winner in a 1–0 victory. Falcao managed to equalize with a diving header in a tough away match against French champions Paris Saint-Germain; the game would end 1–1 and keep Monaco on top of the league table. Days later, Falcao scored a double against Bastia in a 3–0 victory. This also brought his goal tally to seven and making him top goal scorer in Ligue 1.[96]

Falcao ended his four-game goal drought for Monaco in a 2–1 win over Lyon, scoring with an impressive chip.[97] In a match against Evian, Falcao scored the equalizer in a 1–1 draw.[98] On 27 November, it was reported that Falcao failed to fully recover from a thigh injury prior to his last match for the club, and he was forced to miss the next four league matches.[99][100][101] Falcao made his return after being brought on within the second half against Valenciennes, where he missed a penalty kick as Monaco lost 2–1.[102]

Falcao started 2014 by making his Coupe de France debut in a match against Vannes, where he both assisted and scored a goal in a 3–2 victory.[103] Falcao's second goal of the month came in the Coupe de France once more, where he scored a goal before being substituted due to an injury in the first half against Monts d'Or Azergues Foot.[104]

On 23 January, it was confirmed that Falcao had suffered a severe ACL injury and would miss the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while effectively ending his 2013–14 season entirely.[105] Falcao went on to say that he was confident in a speedy recovery.[106] Falcao also went on to say that he wanted to play in the match himself, and that Monaco head coach Claudio Ranieri did not force him to.[107]

2014–15 season[edit]

Falcao's full recovery was confirmed in mid-July, where he would play regularly in pre-season matches for Monaco after six months sidelined.[108] He returned on the field at the Emirates Cup coming on as a substitute for Dimitar Berbatov in the 72nd minute as Monaco drew 2–2 against Spanish side Valencia.[109] The next day, he played the first hour of the match against Arsenal and scored the only goal of the game in the 36th minute.[110]

On 10 August, in his first competitive match since his injury, Falcao came on for Lucas Ocampos after 59 minutes and scored a penalty, though Monaco lost 2–1 at home to Lorient.[111] Two weeks later, he started away to Nantes and scored the only goal of the game, heading in Layvin Kurzawa's cross before half-time for the club's first points of the season.[112] Amidst rumours of a transfer, Falcao was not included in Monaco's next match against Lille, and watched from the stands next to club owner Vadim Vasilyev.[113]

Manchester United (loan)[edit]

Falcao playing for Manchester United in 2015

On 1 September 2014, Manchester United agreed to sign Falcao on loan for £6 million subject to a medical examination with an option to sign permanently for £43.5 million (€55 million) at season's end.[114] The deal saw him earn £265,000 per week at the club.[115] Manchester City had previously opted out of signing him due to squad size.[114] United confirmed the transfer in the early hours of 2 September.[116] Despite joining temporarily under a loan contract, Falcao said he would fight to stay at United for many years and become a legend at the club.[117][118]

Every football player wants to play, that's very normal, but I respect the manager and the decisions he makes. I keep working hard in training, learning every day how to play in different systems, in different styles of football. Manchester United is a great club, I am very happy to be here and because of this I am happy to be patient.

Falcao in 2015, speaking on his development under Louis van Gaal.[119]

Falcao made his debut at Old Trafford on 14 September, playing the final 23 minutes of a 4–0 win over Queens Park Rangers in place of Juan Mata, as United won for the first time in the season.[120] His debut was marked by rapturous applause from the club's supporters as they continuously chanted his name both while he was warming up and on the pitch.[121] On 5 October, he scored his first goal for United, the winner in a 2–1 home victory against Everton.[122] On 20 December, Falcao made his return for the first time in the starting line-up to score a goal in the second half in a 1–1 draw with Aston Villa.[123] Six days later, he provided an assist for Wayne Rooney against Newcastle United, and United went on to win the match 3–1.[124] On 1 January 2015, Falcao equalised against Stoke City in a 1–1 draw.[125]

His future at United was put under doubt when his agent, Jorge Mendes, stated at the start of the year that his client "may not be at Old Trafford at the start of next season but will play in one of the very best clubs in the world". After failing to offer any shots, either on or off target, against a League One side Preston North End, a BBC commentator, Martin Keown described his struggling performance as "another night of nothing from Falcao".[126] On 10 March, a day after being an unused substitute as United were knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Arsenal, Falcao played for their under-21 team in a 1–1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, being substituted after 72 minutes.[127] The demotion was publicly criticised by former footballers Dietmar Hamann and Willem van Hanegem, whom had described the decision Van Gaal made to be "disrespectful" and "disgraceful".[128][129] At season's end, he was adjudged by many to be among the worst signings of the season.[130][131] On 24 May 2015, United announced their decision to not exercise their buy option on Falcao, ending a spell at the club in which he scored 4 goals in 29 appearances.[132]

Falcao playing for Chelsea in 2015

Chelsea (loan)[edit]

On 3 July 2015, Chelsea signed Falcao on a season-long loan deal with the option of a permanent transfer at the end of the season. It was later revealed that the fee to make the move permanent was set at £38 million (€50 million).[133] The move briefly reunited him with his Colombia teammate Juan Cuadrado and former Atlético Madrid teammates Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois. Midfielder Mario Pašalić went to Monaco on loan in exchange for Falcao joining Chelsea.[134]

Falcao made his debut on 2 August in the 2015 FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium, replacing Loïc Rémy at half time as Chelsea lost 1–0 to rivals Arsenal.[135] His league debut came six days later in a 2–2 home draw with Swansea City, playing the final six minutes in place of Willian.[136] On 29 August, again as a replacement for Willian, Falcao scored his first and only Chelsea goal, equalising in an eventual 1–2 home defeat to Crystal Palace.[137] On 3 November, Falcao picked up a muscular injury in training, and was ruled out for a "few weeks",[138] however on 15 January 2016, new manager Guus Hiddink confirmed that Falcao's latest injury setback was "very serious".[139] He was dropped from the team's Champions League squad the following month, in favour of new addition Alexandre Pato.[140]

2016–17 season[edit]

Falcao playing for Monaco in 2016

At the end of the 2015–16 season, Falcao returned to Monaco.[141] Upon his return, Falcao was made team captain by coach Leonardo Jardim.[142] On 27 July 2016, Falcao scored for Monaco in his first appearance for the club in two seasons; a Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahçe S.K..[143] On 17 September 2016, he scored his first Ligue 1 goal of the season in a 3–0 win over Stade Rennais at the Stade Louis II.[144] On 5 November 2016, he scored twice in the first half as Monaco defeated Nancy 6–0 in a Ligue 1 match, following his two first-half goals against CSKA Moscow in a 2016–17 Champions League group stage match three days earlier.[145]

On 10 December 2016, Falcao scored his first hat-trick in Ligue 1 in a 4–0 win against Bordeaux which boosted his 2016–17 season tally to 14 goals in 15 competitive games, and 10 goals in Ligue 1 with just 579 minutes of Ligue 1 playing time, meaning that Falcao scored an average of one Ligue 1 goal in every 58 minutes of Ligue 1 playing time.[146]

On 21 February 2017, Falcao scored two goals, the first with a diving header from Fabinho's cross from the right and the second with a chip over Willy Caballero, but missed a penalty in a 5–3 away loss to Manchester City in the Champions League's round of 16 first leg match.[147][148] Despite him missing out at the second leg at home due to injury, Monaco eventually won the match 3–1 and eventually qualified to the quarter-finals with away goals rule after a 6–6 aggregate score.[149] On 19 April 2017, he scored Monaco's second in their 3–1 victory over Borussia Dortmund to put the team into the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2004.[150] Falcao ended the season claiming the Ligue 1 title and as the club's top scorer with 30 goals in 43 appearances.[151]

2017–18 season[edit]

Falcao started off the season with a goal in Monaco's first league match, Monaco's second in a 3–2 win at home to Toulouse. Two weeks later, he scored the first hat-trick of the Ligue 1 season against Dijon.[152] He then scored a double – including a penalty – against Marseille, raising his tally to seven goals in four matches.[153] Falcao's form led him to being nominated for 2017 Ballon d'Or.[154][155] Upon scoring for Monaco against former club FC Porto in a Champions League game in December 2017, Falcao refused to celebrate out of respect to his former club. He was applauded by Porto fans for the gesture.[156]

2018–19 season[edit]

Falcao began the season on a high note during Monaco's first match of the season, assisting Monaco's second and scoring their third in a 1–3 away victory against Nantes.[157] On 4 December 2018, Falcao scored two penalties in an 0–2 away win against Amiens.[158]


On 2 September 2019, Falcao joined Süper Lig club Galatasaray on a three-year contract with a salary of €5 million per year.[159] He was welcomed by over 25,000 fans on the previous day at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport.[160] He scored a goal on his debut in a 1–0 home win against Kasimpasa on 13 September.[161][162] On 28 December, he scored his first brace with the club in a 5–0 win over Antalyaspor at home.[163]

International career[edit]

Youth career[edit]

Falcao played for the Colombia national under-17 team at the 2001 South American Under-17 Football Championship, where he played four matches[164][165][166][167] and scored one goal against Bolivia.

Falcao's first call-up to the under-20 team was for the friendly tournament Copa Simón Bolívar in Venezuela in 2003.[168][169] He played in the 2004 Toulon Tournament, scoring his only goal at the tournament against Turkey.[170] In the 2005 South American U-20 Championship, where he was champion with his team, he played five matches[171][172][173][174][175] and scored once, on 23 January in the 1–1 draw against Argentina. In the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, Falcao played three matches and scored twice, against Canada and Syria.[176]

2011 Copa América[edit]

After missing the 2007 edition due to injuries, Falcao's first major international tournament was the 2011 Copa América in Argentina. After failing to score against Costa Rica and the hosts, he netted both goals in a 2–0 win against Bolivia, the second a penalty, causing Colombia to top their group.[177] In the quarter-finals, Falcao missed a penalty kick against Peru, which would have won the game had it gone in, and the opponents were able to score two goals in extra time to eliminate his team.[178]

2014 World Cup[edit]

Falcao playing in a World Cup qualifier for Colombia against Uruguay in 2013. He would suffer an ACL injury that would rule him out of the 2014 World Cup four months later.

Falcao's first match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers started off with a goal against Bolivia in the last minute of added time, giving Colombia the win. Under new management of the national team led by Argentine José Pékerman, Falcao scored a goal against Mexico in a friendly that ended 2–0. Falcao's talents were shown against Uruguay, scoring in the second minute to help Colombia win 4–0. In the same match, he assisted Juan Camilo Zúñiga, sealing the 4–0 victory in the final minutes of stoppage 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. On 12 October 2012, Falcao scored both goals in a 2–0 victory over Paraguay.

"When they told me at first that I had a serious injury and there was only a small chance of participating (in Brazil), I didn’t care whether it was 10, 20 or 50 percent; I was counting on THAT chance. This is my hope and with this dream, I will work every day. A lot has to do with my emotional state. This is something that I can manage each day."

Falcao on his injury and a possible chance to make it to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[179]

In Falcao's first game for 2013, he played in the qualifying match against Bolivia. Falcao scored in the final minutes of the game scoring the fourth goal.[180] Falcao scored a penalty against Peru in the 13th minute where Colombia won 2–0.[181][182] On 11 October 2013, in the penultimate World Cup qualifying match against Chile, Falcao scored twice from penalty kicks to tie 3–3 after trailing 0–3. This result ensured Colombia qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1998.[183][184] Falcao ended the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign as Colombia's top scorer with nine goals.[185]

On 23 January 2014, due to a severe ACL injury, it was announced that Falcao would likely miss the World Cup. However, Falcao expressed his optimism, believing that it was possible to make a speedy recovery.[105][106] Falcao received tremendous support worldwide in social media for a speedy recovery; a social media movement entitled 'Fuerza Tigre' (meaning 'stay strong Tiger' in Spanish) rapidly grew popularity.

On 5 February, Falcao was included in José Pékerman's 30-man squad list (later to be narrowed to 23 in May) for the World Cup.[186] On 25 May, Falcao arrived in Argentina to train with the rest of the squad. However, he eventually made the decision not to join the squad as he did not feel right taking up a position if not at full health.[187]

2015 Copa América[edit]

Falcao would score his first international goal in 11 months after starting for the first time since his injury against El Salvador on 10 October 2014. It was his first ever headed goal for his country while influencing the other two goals in a 3–0 victory.[188] In a friendly against Bahrain on 26 March 2015, Falcao assisted one goal and scored a double in a 6–0 win, making him one goal shy of Arnoldo Iguarán's record as Colombia's top scorer.[189] Four days later, he drew level on 24 goals with Iguarán with a penalty in a 3–1 win over Kuwait.[190]

On 6 June, he broke the record as Colombia's top scorer by scoring the only goal to defeat Costa Rica in a friendly in Buenos Aires ahead of the 2015 Copa América.[191] He captained the team at the tournament[192] but failed to score in three group matches and he came on as a substitute for Jackson Martínez in the 74th minutes of the quarter-final against Argentina on 26 June; Colombia lost the match in a penalty shootout.[193]

2018 World Cup[edit]

Falcao during the penalty shootout against England

On 4 November 2016, Falcao was recalled to the Colombia squad for the first time in 388 days for Colombia's next two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Chile on 10 November and Argentina on 15 November. He had last played for Colombia on 13 October 2015, in a 3–0 loss to Uruguay in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Montevideo, and had not been selected in Colombia's squad for the Copa América Centenario.[194][195]

On 7 June 2017, Falcao became the Colombian national team's all-time top-goalscorer, scoring his 26th goal in a 2–2 draw with Spain.[196] He went on to score twice in the team's four remaining World Cup qualifying matches, as Colombia confirmed their qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 10 October 2017.[197] The last qualifying match against Peru ended up in a 1–1 draw, a result that sent Colombia through automatically and Peru into a play-off with New Zealand at Chile's expense as they lost to Brazil. Footage emerged of Falcao was shown talking to the Peruvian players in what was suggested could be an alleged "pact" to see both teams through. The Chile Football Federation (ANFP) vice-president, Andrés Fazio Molina, said they would not be taking the matter further to FIFA.[198]

Having missed the previous World Cup due to injury, Falcao made his World Cup debut against Japan on 19 June, in Colombia's first group game of the 2018 World Cup, with Colombia losing 1–2.[199] On 24 June, Falcao scored his first World Cup goal in Colombia's 3–0 win over Poland.[200] After his goal, Falcao left the field to a standing ovation, and Colombia's manager, José Pékerman, stated after the game: "I think (Falcao's goal) is one of the greatest joys that we received tonight. He is a symbol of the national team, a symbol of Colombian football."[200]

2019 Copa América[edit]

On 30 May 2019, Falcao was included in the 23-man final Colombia squad for the 2019 Copa América.[201]

Style of play[edit]

Falcao has been described as a "natural goal scorer" and a striker with the "ability to bag a goal from nothing".[202][203][204] His abilities to adapt to most positions and scoring goals with various parts of his body has resulted in goals. Described as a "poacher", Falcao is often labeled as a "pure striker", often playing as a traditional "number 9" and capitalizing on less amount of chances that are given to him than the typical goal scorer. 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. Falcao controls a well-balanced pace, helping him keep his stamina in check and allowing him to often outrun other players in the most critical battling-for-the-ball moments. The strength of his shots is often well controlled, in terms of distance and angles, as shown throughout his career.[204][205][206] While Falcao is only of average height, his header technique has given him an edge in aerial battles for balls. His most impressive goals tend to be headers, with the majority of his goals coming from the air.[207]

In his prime before his ACL injury, he was often considered one of the best strikers in the world.[208][209][210][211][212] Falcao's talents have been recognized by former and current football players. Former Barcelona and current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described him as "sensational" and as one of the most talented in the world.[213][214][215] Before Falcao's ACL injury, Fabio Capello considered him to be on the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.[216] Former Atlético Madrid teammate Gabi said in 2012 that he thought Falcao was the best at heading the ball in the world.[217]

Personal life[edit]

Falcao's signature

Falcao is a second generation footballer, with his father, Radamel García, having played professionally as a defender in Colombia and Venezuela, moving to the latter country when Falcao was five. García died on 3 January 2019.[218]

His name derives from the 1980s Brazil national team, Internacional and Roma legend Paulo Roberto Falcão, as a tribute from his father, Radamel García. Despite being named Radamel, he prefers to use his middle name in interviews. Falcao is married to Argentine singer Lorelei Tarón. In early 2013, it was revealed that Falcao was expecting his first child with her.[219][220] Dominique García Tarón was born on 13 August 2013, at the Princess Grace Hospital in La Colle, Monaco.[221][222] His second daughter, Desirée García Tarón, was born in February 2015.[223] His third daughter, Annette García Tarón, was born in August 2017.[224] Due to his wife's Polish ancestry, his children also hold Polish passports, thanks to Monaco teammate Kamil Glik, who helped with the process.[225] Falcao is a Christian.[226]

He is partially of English descent; George King, one of his great-grandfathers, emigrated from the North Yorkshire village of Burn near Selby in 1932 to work as an accountant for the United Fruit Company in Colombia. Owing to this ancestry, Falcao's father attempted to make it easier for his son to play in Europe by obtaining a British passport for him, however this was rejected.[227] His uncle was the telenovelas and film actor Herbert King.[228][229]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 21 June 2020.[230][231]
Club Season League Cup[nb 1] League Cup[nb 2] Continental[nb 3] Other[nb 4] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
River Plate 2004–05 Argentine Primera División 4 0 0 0 4 0
2005–06 7 7 0 0 7 7
2006–07 20 3 3 0 23 3
2007–08 27 11 12 8 39 19
2008–09 32 13 6 3 38 16
Total 90 34 21 11 111 45
Porto 2009–10 Primeira Liga 28 25 5 5 2 0 8 4 0 0 43 34
2010–11 25 16 3 3 0 0 16 18 1 1 44 38
Total 51 41 8 8 2 0 24 22 2 1 87 72
Atlético Madrid 2011–12 La Liga 34 24 1 0 15 12 50 36
2012–13 34 28 4 2 2 1 1 3 41 34
Total 68 52 5 2 17 13 1 3 91 70
Monaco 2013–14 Ligue 1 17 9 2 2 0 0 19 11
2014–15 3 2 0 0 0 0 3 2
2016–17 29 21 2 1 2 1 10 7 43 30
2017–18 26 18 1 0 3 3 5 3 1 0 36 24
2018–19 33 15 1 1 0 0 5 0 39 16
Total 107 65 6 4 5 4 20 10 1 0 139 83
Manchester United (loan) 2014–15 Premier League 26 4 3 0 0 0 29 4
Chelsea (loan) 2015–16 10 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 12 1
Galatasaray 2019–20 Süper Lig 16 10 3 1 3 0 22 11
Career total 375 207 25 15 8 4 85 56 5 4 496 286


As of 28 June 2019[232]
Year Apps Goals
2007 8 2
2008 5 1
2009 9 2
2010 4 1
2011 8 4
2012 7 5
2013 9 5
2014 3 1
2015 9 4
2016 2 0
2017 6 3
2018 11 4
2019 8 2
Total 89 34


River Plate[230]


Atlético Madrid[230]


Colombia U20




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