The greasy haired Columbian has gone from strength to strength in the past three seasons. Fans of South American football and Football Manager alike will know him from his days at River Plate, where he showed signs of extraordinary talent but where injury prevented him from hitting the top level.
In 2009 he was signed by FC Porto for a bargain €3.9m and immediately made an impact, scoring 34 goals in all competitions. It was the 2010/11 season where he really grabbed the wider attention of Europe with his performances in Andre Villa-Boas’ all-conquering Porto team, including a record 17 goals in 14 UEFA Europa League games as Porto blitzed their way to European glory.
Falcao was signed by Atletico Madrid in 2011 for around €40m to replace the Man City-bound Sergio Agüero. In another record breaking season – this time as the most potent debut-season goal scorer in Atletico history – Falcao hit 36 goals in all competitions; 24 in La Liga, finishing 3rd in the race for the Pichichi behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
On 19th May 2012 in a friendly against America de Cali, Falcao scored an overhead scissor kick which is already being touted as one of the greatest goals of all time – you really do have to see it to believe it (below).
With David Villa suffering from injuries and reportedly unhappy at Barcelona, and with Higuain looking likely to sign for Serie A Champions Juventus, Falcao could well be tempted by one of the Spanish Giants.
A transfer to city rivals Real would be convenient for his lifestyle and Madrid could certainly afford the transfer, whilst their style of play would likely suit his poacher’s style better than Barcelona’s total football which would require him to constantly drop deep for the ball.
Further, with Manchester City looking to sell Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez, and Chelsea’s possible departures including Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, Atletico will not be short of interest this summer. However, any potential suitor would have to offer in the region of €60m to persuade Atletico to part with their prized asset.
Judging by his performances in these past three seasons, he could well be worth every penny.
Although he showed signed of re-discovering his form this season, Torres remains a shadow of his former self. A £50m signing from Liverpool, he has suffered with injuries and lack of confidence both domestically and at international level for 2 years now.
Improved performances under Roberto Di Matteo this season culminated in coming off the bench to score against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, and Torres seemed to have his swagger back. He was, however, left out of the Champions League Final line up against Bayern Munich – confined to a substitute’s role in the latter stages of the game. He again showed his worth to the team by playing as a right-sided forward, supporting Drogba where possible and doubling up on Ivica Olic in defense. Indeed, it was his persistence that earned the corner from which Drogba equalised.
As extra time ended, Torres seemed disgruntled when he volunteered to take a penalty in the shootout, but Di Matteo decided not to use him.
After the game he spoke to Guillem Balague and said he’ll be reviewing his future this summer:
“It’s contradictory because I feel like I’m at a peak moment in my career, with more desire and hunger than I’ve felt in a long time, but I’ve had to spend the final on the bench. It was a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest in my life”
“I’ve felt like they treated me in a way that I didn’t expect, not in the way that was spoken of when they signed me. We’ve had a lot of talks and we’ll talk about my future because the role I’ve had this season is not for me.”
“I’m not comfortable. I want them to tell me what is going to happen in the future. Now I do feel like football is worth it but I’ve been through a difficult time; the worst in my career. I don’t want that again. There’s been many times when I’ve felt lost, I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt like I didn’t know where I belonged. I’m eternally grateful to my family who have been by my side and also for the support of the owners who have stuck by me. And especially to the fans, if it hadn’t been for them this season I would have given up.”
“I need the club to tell me what is going to happen and what sort of role I will have within the team, what my duties are, what the club expects of me. And then judge whether it is worth it.”
Balague described his interview with Torres; “I found Fernando Torres troubled, wounded. Nobody wants to hear this, but he is a young man under lots of pressure.”
Torres is now 28 and realistically has 4 good seasons left in him. He should now be at his peak and I truly believe that he has the potential to be a top striker for many seasons to come. He now boasts Champions League, European Championship and World Cup medals to his name, and he may want another crack at the Premier League to complete his collection.
However, he clearly isn’t settled at Chelsea and he would perhaps be worth a risk for another top European team. It remains to be seen whether Chelsea would cut their losses, but an offer in the region of £25m would give them something to think about.
A lot will depend on whether Di Matteo continues at the helm, and if Didier Drogba has done enough to earn a contract extension. If the Ivorian does leave the club along with Di Matteo, Torres’ future will hinge on who the new manager is and how he intends to use the Spaniard next season. If Abramovich does decide to discard Di Matteo, he could do worse than to hire Rafa Benitez if he wants to get a return on his £50m investment in Torres.
Interview quotes courtesy of guillembalague.com via Twitter @GuillemBalague