Radamel Falcao, Colombia’s most decorated soccer player of the past decade, continues his woes at the English club Manchester United despite recovering to full fitness.
When two weeks ago Radamel Falcao announced his imminent return to the soccer pitch after an ankle injury had kept him sidelined for the past month, it seemed the Colombian striker was back on track with his career.
“Back to training 100 % and ready to help the team in the next games,” wrote “El Tigre” on Twitter on November 24.
Since then, the striker has not started a single game for Manchester United and disputed only a handful of minutes off the bench, without scoring a goal.
Ahead of the game against Southampton on Monday, Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal said that although Falcao was in the squad for the match, his name won’t be in the starting line-up.
“He can only play 20 minutes at this level because the rhythm of the game in the Premier League is the highest,” revealed the Dutch coach.
However, even 20 minutes turned out to be too much for the Colombian who spent the whole game on the bench. Without Falcao, the Manchester outfit beat Southampton 1-2 and moved to the third spot in the English Premier League table.
Having paid a $9.4 million million loan fee to secure the services of Falcao, United also agreed a potenial $67.6 million fee with Monaco over a permanent deal for the 28-year-old following the culmination of his season-long loan at Old Trafford
However, it is becoming apparent that van Gaal is growing impatient with the striker. Having expressed his “hopes” that the Colombian will eventually justify the transfer at the beginning of the season, a few months later the coach casts doubts over Falcao’s long-term future.
Van Gaal insists that Falcao has yet to return to full fitness following a recent six-week calf injury setback and that he is not concerned whether the player is becoming frustrated by his lack of first-team football.
“I’m not interested,” Van Gaal said. “He has to follow my philosophy. Do you understand that? Yes, I’m here because of that.”
During last week’s game against Stoke City, a 19-year old James Wilson was picked ahead of “El Tigre” in the pecking order. This clearly demonstrates that the Colombian has his work cut out if he wants to stay at Old Trafford.
If Van Gaal decides not to trigger the buy-out clause, it would mean a sour return to soccer backwaters at the French team AS Monaco for the striker. If his injuries and form woes were to continue, Falcao’s days as one of the most feared attacker in world’s soccer could be counted.