I am going to come right out and say what many fans have been saying for a year now: Falcao is finished. He didn’t even make the bench for last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa and there’s talk that he’s not even going to see out the loan deal until the end of the season and will leave in January to anyone that will take him. Jose Mourinho has done nothing to dispel these rumours either.
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
Falcao joined Monaco in 2013, to be a part of the Monaco “project” which was great on paper but then cut to pieces by Financial Fair Play. The goal was to have the world’s best players at Monaco, living the life of luxury while enjoying the freedom of a tax haven, all funded by the billionaire owner.
Monaco is a popular destination for Formula 1 drivers thanks to the tax benefits (or at least it was when there was money in the sport and the grid wasn’t full of “pay” drivers) so the idea to recreate that in football, while ambitious, was not unrealistic.
Then Financial Fair Play came along and because Monaco are a relatively small club with a small stadium and limited commercial options, they were left with no option but to stop the spending and slash the wage bill.
What’s worse for Falcao is that within just a few months of joining, he suffered a serious knee injury and despite his best efforts, he missed the world cup in the summer of 2014 and some people speculate that his rushed rehabilitation is the cause of his decline.
Fast forward to transfer deadline day in September 2014 and Manchester United took a punt on him, paying a £6 million loan fee for one season with the option of making the move permanent for £43 million and they stumped up his wages, a rumoured £265,000 a week.
Monaco wanted to sell him to recoup the £50 million they paid for him and get him off the wage bill but no one was prepared to pay for a player that had not proven he was over the injury. His time in Manchester can only be described as a disaster.
He only scored 4 goals, the last of which came in February and as the season went on, he actually got worse and worse. He just couldn’t seem to stay on his feet, forever slipping and losing balance and it came as no surprise that United did not make the move permanent.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, United manager Van Gaal described Falcao as the “ultimate professional” and during his last appearance at Old Trafford, he was given a standing ovation by the fans, even though he had been awful pretty much the entire season. It was obvious that he had given his all but his legs wouldn’t do what his mind was telling them to.
The Move To Chelsea
Following this disastrous time at United, nobody expected Falcao to stay at Monaco as they can no longer pay his wages, so it was expected that he would go to Italy or back to Spain and attepmt to rebuild his reputation. The move to Chelsea in a similar loan deal to the one he had at United came as a shock to everyone, especially considering how poor he had been at United.
At RedCafe.net which is the most popular Manchester United Forum, the majority of posters were confident that Falcao would have a similar impact at Chelsea that he’d had at United and so far that prophecy is coming true. He’s only scored one goal so far and he’s having real trouble getting any meaningful game time and there’s no sign of that changing any time soon.
The title of the thread is “Potential Flop Of The Season” although I don’t think it’s possible for him to be a flop this season because no one is actually expecting anything from him. Last season at United, nobody knew just how badly he had declined and he was certainly in for contention for flop of the season but that award has to go to Mario Balotelli.
During a pre season game at Fiorentina which Chelsea lost 1-0, the Guardian said that Falcao looked like he was dragging a boulder through treacle such was his lack of pace. Things hit a new low for Falcao a few weeks later when he took a terrible free kick against League 1 side Walsall in the Carling Cup.
He slipped at the end of his run up and sarcastic cheers rang throughout the ground. Sky actually published a humiliation page titled “Falcao’s Woeful Free Kick” with a video but they have since removed it. I found this rather odd because while it was indeed a woeful free kick, it was a humiliating video that you would expect to find on the Daily Mail rather than Sky Sports. You can watch it for yourself on YouTube.
Why Did Chelsea Take Him?
There are many conspiracies as to why Chelsea took him on loan after what he did at United, here are my two favourites.
- Mourinho and Falcao share the same agent, Jorge Mendes. Some say that Mourinho was simply doing his agent and friend Mendes a favour because no one else was interested.
- It was an ego trip by Mourinho. He saw how bad Falcao was at United, so he decided to take him on the off chance that Falcao’s form would return, resulting in praise for his ability to do what Van Gaal failed to do at United.
It would be nothing short of a miracle if Falcao discovered his old touch and he looks finished at the top level of football or even several levels below that. This is a man who was once regarded as one of the top strikers in the world and now at age 29, he is done. While people say his riches, beautiful wife and young family will cheer him up, it must be hard to accept that your career has declined so quickly and you can’t help but have sympathy for the guy who does come across as very pleasant and genuine.