The year is 2012 and Chelsea travel to Monaco aiming to win the European Super Cup for the first time in their history. What they did not expect was Atletico Madrid to be so strong. And what they did not expect, or maybe they did, was Radamel Falcao to etch his name across the occasion.
Falcao's stunning hat-trick saw the Blues off on that occasion, in a performance that demonstrated exactly why he was being described as the best centre-forward on the planet. It was a typical centre-forward display, one of sheer rapidity and ruthlessness, and one that sparked talk of him moving to the Premier League.
Alas, even with Chelsea and Manchester City keen for him to become their lynchpin, Monaco and the sunny shores of Monte Carlo was his next move. But, as the empire built by financial heavyweight Dmitry Rybolovlev begun to collapse, Manchester United and Louis van Gaal finally succeeded in bringing him to England's top flight.
When Van Gaal pulled off the most spectacular of Transfer Deadline Day coups, many believed United were gaining the forward that put Chelsea to the sword on that magical evening two years ago.
This was a player whose CV consisted of just one thing: goals. Goals galore, goals aplenty, goals with the right foot, goals with the left. Not just for Atletico, but Porto and River Plate before that. For all the talk of transfers to Juventus and Real Madrid, it was Van Gaal's United who won the marathon for his signature.
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Even during his short stint in France, where his goals propelled them into a title tussle with Laurent Blanc's Paris Saint-Germain, he made an impact. However a knee injury sustained in action for Claudio Ranieri's side ended his season in December, and also saw him miss out on the World Cup in Brazil earlier this year.
It would be unfair to label Falcao a flop given his lack of game time and continual rehabilitation from that injury, but the glint in his eye that made him the best forward on the globe is growing smaller by the game.
His all-round contribution makes for far more pleasant reading. His energy levels, particularly in the 3-1 victory over Newcastle United, appear back to what they were. Assists are also growing in regularity, with the Colombian assisting Wayne Rooney for the opener on that occasion in what was his fourth assist in United colours.
But goals are what he has thrived for his whole career, and they are growing scarcer. He scored the winner against Everton in October, but a goal against Aston Villa aside has contributed little else to the Reds' recent run towards the top half of the table.
If the rumours are to believed, Falcao has until April to convince the club hierarchy that he is worthy of the £44million outlay that has been laid aside to make his stint at Old Trafford permanent.
His ability is unquestionable, but whether or not he still possesses the poaching, free-scoring touch of old is. Falcao needs to step up and deliver, or face being another player to struggle with the demands of the beautiful game in England.
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