Adiós RadamelAdded by Philip Meese on 25 May 2015 22:54
By Philip Meese, Editor-in-Chief
So it was confirmed over the weekend that Radamel Falcao will not be offered a deal by Manchester United, or even an extension of the loan deal. While it’s not exactly unexpected, it is a shame that it didn’t work out for him. I know a lot of United fans share my sentiments on this, although, understandably, there will be some that will just point to his goals per games record, and say “good riddance”. So why didn’t it work out for a striker who, two years ago, could have had his pick of the top European clubs?
Seems to me there are several reasons. The injury he sustained just over a year ago, an anterior cruciate ligament injury, is not the easiest to come back from. Some players never recover that form, and it did seem as though the lad was missing half a yard of that explosive pace that destroyed Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup Final in 2012. With that, he also seems to be missing a bit of confidence, and also playing in a league he is unfamiliar with, as well as adapting to a new country. Some players take around 18 months to two years to recover. It’s very possible that some lucky club will get to see the real Falcao next season, back to his devastating best. In fact, that would just be typical.
It would also be fair to say that, with the way United have set up their teams at times this season, we didn’t exactly play to his strengths. It’s not as though he was missing chance after chance – we honestly weren’t creating many for him. Despite this, there was never any lack of effort from Falcao. Unlike certain players who have sulked in the past (and present) when the team isn’t being built exactly to their needs, Falcao would drop back into midfield to help out, and maybe just to see some of the ball. I think it’s this kind of attitude that has endeared him to most United fans. But seeing as the approach taken by Louis van Gaal has gotten us back into the top four, it’s hard to say he made the wrong decision. Had he gone Gung-Ho at the opposition, playing a style of football that suited Falcao, we may not have gotten back into the Champions League picture – then again, the team chasing us just got done 6 – 1 by Stoke City, so we probably would have been fine.
When it was announced that Falcao was joining us, there was an immediate buzz among United fans. Facebook and Twitter were alive with expectation. Finally, after years of under spending, we were bringing proven world class talents to the club. If this lad worked out, combined with Rooney, van Persie, Di Maria and Mata, it looked like the rest of the Premier League was in serious trouble. Unfortunately, after just four goals from his 29 appearances, it’s safe to say that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Practically every United fan I know wanted it work out for the man who smashed goalscoring records at Porto and Atletico Madrid (his 17 goals from 14 Europa League in 2010 – 11 games is a record in that competition), and scored more than 100 goals in his first three seasons in Europe. And it was clear from Falcao’s body language that he wanted to stay, wanted to be a success here. He has since said that he felt the love of the fans, and it’s probably fair to say that he was, at times, trying too hard.
It just seemed as though everything that could have gone wrong for Falcao during this loan spell, did. Even thinking back to when we played Queens Park Rangers away earlier this year. It looked like he’d missed an open net, until you saw the replay on television, when it became clear that the faintest of touches from the defender had actually taken the ball away from him, thus denying Falcao a clear shot.
Dmitry Rybolovlev, the majority owner of AS Monaco may have to drop his asking price if he does want to cash in on Falcao. Any fans who wondered why the Colombian was allowed to come on loan in the first place, should realise that Rybolovlev is going through a divorce that could cost him half of his estimated $8.5 billion fortune, which wasn’t the case when Monaco signed him. With that hanging over your head, it makes sense to let someone else pay the rather substantial wages Falcao earns. If van Gaal had really wanted to keep Falcao, he could have said to Monaco “we’d like to keep him, but you cannot expect £43 million for a player who doesn’t even have five goals to his name, but we’ll give you £15 million. Or we’ll extend his loan by another year”. Something tells me that Rybolovlev wouldn’t be in much of a position to argue.
He’ll head to the Copa America this summer with Colombia, where he will be hero-worshipped by the fans of his country. Hopefully a good tournament will give him the confidence to make the most of the rest of his career. He should be in his peak years now, and I hope he manages to get his career back to at least something like his best.
So I think I would speak on behalf of most United fans when I say good luck with the rest of your career, Radamel, and we are genuinely sorry that things didn’t work out for you here. We appreciate the effort that you put in during your time in a Red shirt – nobody could ever accuse you of not trying. We all wanted it to work, all dreamed of a United attack with a fully fit and firing Radamel Falcao banging the goals in right left and centre.
If I was manager I would have given you another chance to prove you can still do it at this level, and at least extended the loan by another season – having said that, given the patience you have shown, and the graft you have displayed, you deserve better than to warm the bench at any club, United included.
I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to have another crack at English football, albeit wearing the colours of another club – but please don’t sign for Liverpool. Surely things will never get THAT bad.
You’ll probably come back to haunt us at some point, plenty have in the past. As long as you’re not wearing the colours of Liverpool or Manchester City, we’ll probably forgive you.
Best of luck, son. Adiós.