It’s easy to forget that Radamel Falcao was once a world class striker.
Injuries have blighted the Colombian in recent years - he has started just two games for Chelsea this season - but there was a time when Falcao was torching defences in Portugal and Spain.
He scored 70 goals in 91 appearances for Atletico Madrid before joining Monaco for a reported €60 million. Clearly, Falcao had talent.
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During a two-year spell at the Vicente Calderon, Falcao fired Atletico to Copa del Rey and Europa League glory. He came up against some terrific defenders, including Barcelona’s Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol and Real Madrid’s Pepe and Sergio Ramos, and conquered them all.
In an interview with Goal, Falcao was asked to name his hardest opponent. Ramos got the nod.
“Sergio Ramos is the toughest defender that I’ve faced,” the 30-year-old admitted. “He is a great defender, a very complete player.”
Ramos has been included in FIFA’s FIFPro World XI six times and has won every trophy there is to win on a club and international level. It’s therefore hard to argue with Falcao’s pick.
Torrid spell in England
The striker’s torrid run began in January 2014, when he suffered an ACL injury during a Monaco game that ruled him out of the World Cup and effectively ended his stay in France.
Manchester United signed him on loan but that spell was as equally disastrous as the one he is currently enduring at Stamford Bridge.
He certainly hasn’t done enough to earn a permanent contract from the Blues and, though his contract with Monaco doesn’t expire until 2018, it’s likely he will move on from the Ligue 1 outfit this summer.
The American dream
A possible destination is America. The MLS has been a hotspot for ageing players in recent years and Falcao acknowledged that a move to the growing league could be on the horizon.
"I follow the league," Falcao told NBC’s ProSoccerTalk, per Sky Sports. “In England they are showing the games and I have some friends who play in it who I played with in River Plate or Porto like [Federico] Higuain or [Diego] Valeri.
"Some other Colombian players are playing in Major League Soccer and obviously the big stars like Andrea Pirlo, Kaka and Giovani dos Santos.
"I think MLS could be bigger than now because they have everything they need to become an even stronger league and become even more competitive."
But America will have to wait. Despite his recent troubles, Falcao believes he has a few more years left in Europe.
"I never say no but in this moment I am thinking about Europe and my performances here," he added. "I think I have more years to fight in these leagues."