The Colombian missed the World Cup and the second half of last season through injury but he came off the bench to make his first competitive appearance since JanuaryThis summer hasn’t exactly gone to plan for Radamel Falcao, as injury forced him to miss the World Cup in Brazil and watch on from the stands as James Rodriguez starred for Colombia instead.
Now back from a cruciate ligament injury, the striker has slowly been regaining his fitness and took his place on the bench for Monaco’s Ligue 1 opener against Lorient.
Goal takes a look at how the 28-year-old got on as he made his return to French football...
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST LORIENT|
With his side behind 1-0 courtesy of a Vincent Aboubakar penalty, Falcao was brought on by new Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim on the hour mark.
Charged with getting his side back into the match, his task looked a lot trickier just eight minutes later when captain Ricardo Carvalho was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
However, the Colombian forged a way back into the game for his team when his pass into Dimitar Berbatov drew a foul on the Bulgarian inside the area.
The former Atletico Madrid man held his nerve to dispatch the penalty high into the roof of the net, but chances to make a further impression on the game never materialised as the one-man disadvantage began to tell.
The striker looked short of match fitness and failed to get into the positions that have seen him carve out a career as one of the deadliest forwards around – the absence of Rodriguez also telling as chances continued to evade him.
And with Monaco pushing for a winner, the 10-men were caught on the counter, Falcao ultimately finding himself on the losing side as substitute Valentin Lavigne kept his cool to slot home the winner.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?|
The striker’s future seems pretty clear-cut, and it doesn’t involve sticking around Ligue 1 for much longer, if it can be helped.
Liverpool have been linked with him this summer but it has seemed clear for a few years now that Falcao has his heart set on a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid, with the forward looking like he is more than happy to wait for the move to materialise.
It was thought that this transfer window would finally produce the switch the 28-year-old had been yearning for, but, in a cruel twist of fate, it was the other Colombian plying his trade in Ligue 1 that caught the eye of Los Blancos, as James Rodriguez dazzled at the World Cup and sealed his move to Spain instead.
And with a reported understanding that it was one or the other this summer, Falcao may have to bide his time in France before he can revel in his unveiling and display his undoubted talent in front of a packed Bernabeu.
When asked about Falcao potentially playing under Carlo Ancelotti next year, Falcao's father Radamel Garcia said: “If my child ought to play or not [at Real], depends on Ancelotti.”
Watch this space...
|A GOOD SEASON WOULD BE...|
At 28 years old, the former Porto and Atletico Madrid superstar is at his peak, and if he wants to ensure his place among the Galacticos next year he’ll need to seriously prove his worth in Ligue 1.
Falcao has the added bonus of performing on the biggest stage in Europe this campaign, as Monaco take part in the Champions League, and goals in this tournament – as well as a bagful in France’s top flight – should be enough to keep Florentino Perez and Ancelotti interested.
Of course, at his age, keeping fit is also high on the agenda too. His best years are fast disappearing behind him and another half season or so on the sidelines could make the European champions think twice about the heavy investment necessary to persuade Monaco to part with their prized asset.
The Colombian seemingly does not want to be stuck at the Stade Louis II for any longer than is necessary, and the success of his season could determine whether he is being paraded around Madrid, clad in white, come July.