Prized, lethal and ruthless are three adjectives which spring to mind when asked to describe Falcao. Is he world-class? Absolutely, definitely, positively, ridiculously. Take a look at this stat for this season: he scores with roughly every third shot. Falcao provides so much for Atletico Madrid that Gerard Pique recently described the side as ‘Falcao’s team.’
However, whilst the strength which the Colombian provides his side with cannot be undervalued, it would be unfair - and arguably stupid - to flippantly disregard the talent which resides within the bowels of the Vicente Calderon stadium as nothing more than servants hurrying to meet their striker’s needs.
Transfer Deadline Day, according to Falcao*
As clubs around Europe neurotically began a 24 hour spurt of panic-buying, Falcao led Atlético Madrid to a 4-1 rout against Chelsea and could only shake his head and laugh at the millions of pounds and euros being thrown around. He also laughed at David Luiz, because David Luiz is hilarious and spent the night doing Macaulay Culkin impressions instead of defending. Then he laughed at Branislav Ivanovic, because despite Branislav’s admirable career he would likely never spend a night with a Colombian woman. Finally, his eyes met Roman Abramovich’s after El Tigre completed his hat-trick in the European Super Cup, piercing any remnants of the oil oligarch’s soul. Roman grew unsettled in his luxury box in Monaco.
It might not be the way to move to a team that actually plays in the Champions League, but it is how to earn a VIP invitation on to the ritziest yacht owned by a Russian on the Mediterranean. Of course, Falcao disappoints Neymar (and Neymar’s yacht dreams), and he declines Roman’s invitation in the form of a silent, blink-less two-minute stare, only to be followed by a bite directly through a medal made of metal.
Don’t let anyone persuade you to think otherwise, casually scoring hat-tricks against the European Champions and smashing the hopes and dreams of oligarchs is the only way to live on transfer deadline day. [*presumably. Imagined by EB. GIFs via Josh.]
Sell Kun, buy Falcao, and win another Europa League!
Atletico Madrid 3- 0 Athletic Bilbao - A final astutely dominated by the more clinical side. Diego was the maestro, powered by creativity and inspiration, while Radamel Falcao displayed yet another performance we have come to expect from him. Once again, the Colombian justified his €40m price tag and manifested the fact that Kun Aguero is not missed in Madrid.
'Los Colchorenos' did it again! Two years ago they conquered the Europa League in Hamburg where Forlan and Kun Aguero were the stars. Two seasons later in Bucharest, under Diego Simeone’s completely renovated team, Atletico Madrid beat one of the most exciting teams out there, Bielsa’s flamboyant Athletic Bilbao, who admirably never gave up. On this occasion, two former FC Porto players, Falcao and Diego, made the difference.
In February, Pep Guardiola described Falcao as a “sensational player” and added “he’s the best striker inside the box”. Tonight that was clearly evident as the Colombian scored two sensational strikes. Since joining the club last August for a record fee, the monumental task was to replace both Kun Aguero and Diego Forlan; a deadly striking force. Falcao responded magnificently to both the pressure and challenge netting 35 strikes from 47 appearances.
The 26 year old certainly loves the Europa League, which has now been dubbed the ‘Falcao League’ in Madrid. His 12 competition goals and a man of the match performance in the final (again) were decisive to claim his crown once more.
I think Guardiola is right, Falcao is incredible inside the box, and he still has dozens of goals to deliver, regardless of where he will be next year. ¡Felicitaciones Atleti! [posted by DV]
By Dominic Vieira, writing from Lancaster, England
Arsenal are a club which must be lifting titles, not losing finals or constantly finishing 3rd or 4th in the table. They’re a young team which generally play the most appealing football in the country, but every year it’s the same concern: where are the trophies? Arsene Wenger’s side has all the capabilities to succeed, there’s a culmination of hunger, youth and quality present. However, they lack they winning mentality when compared to the likes of Chelsea or Man Utd and the inclusion of a three world class signings could be the solution.
By Dominic Vieira, writing from Lancaster, England
Three European trophies conquered in the last 9 years by FC Porto, a remarkable achievement for a Portuguese club! The 2011 Europa League Final was certainly not exhilarating, vintage or memorable, but the extraordinary first half header from Colombian striker Falcao is definitely one to remember. It was the only goal in the intense battle which created few opportunities and in a final, a team simply can’t miss them. The strongest team won last night, a side pioneered by 33 year old Andre Villas-Boas who became the youngest manager to claim a European title.
"It is never perfect but it was a very good, very strong performance. Our first half was excellent and then after a bit of a struggle at the start of the second half, Samir Nasri’s brilliant goal settled us down and we were comfortable winners." - Arsene Wenger
Arsenal have overcome the odds and have booked a place for themselves in the quarterfinals. Nicklas Bendtner will make all the headlines as the hat-trick hero, but in all honesty it was a superb performance from the eleven men wearing the red jerseys tonight. Going into the game a goal down on aggregate, Arsenal claimed a 5-0 victory and the match-up finished 6-2 on aggregate. Arsene Wenger can only be overjoyed as his side, playing without their captain Cesc Fabregas, truly put on a show in North London tonight.
Samir Nasri had an individual effort that even Maradona would be proud of, as the Frenchman made it 3-0 by slicing through four Porto defenders in the 62nd minute. Just two and a half minutes later, Emmanuel Eboue made it 4-0 and made the Emirates erupt by rounding Helton (who was actually top-class tonight) and placing the ball into the back of the net.
Full Time. Arsenal win 5-0 over Porto.
90+1º Goal! Arsenal 5-0 Porto. Nicklas Bendtner steps up to take. And he grabs his hat-trick by placing his penalty perfectly to the left of Helton, who guessed correctly.
90º Porto fans look incredibly frustrated, as they should be. Fucile gives Arsenal a penalty by rolling over Eboue. Bendtner to take.