Radamel Falcao’s career trajectory took a sudden - and rather drastic - nosedive when he arrived in England.
The Colombian scored 153 goals in 197 games for Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, before arriving at Manchester United in 2014.
There, things took a turn for the worse. Ravaged by a serious knee injury picked up in January 2014, Falcao lasted one season at Old Trafford before joining Chelsea on loan.
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An unlikely revival failed to materialise at Stamford Bridge, where he scored once in 12 games. In total, he found the net five times in 41 appearances for United and Chelsea.
It’s easy to combine a mixture of that torn anterior cruciate ligament and age - Falcao was 28 when Louis van Gaal signed him on loan - for the striker’s failed stint in England.
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He’s since returned to Monaco, where he looks set to lead the line following an impressive pre-season. After an injury setback, Falcao made his first appearance of the season during Saturday’s 4-1 win against Lille.
Whether he can regain the form that made him one of the most feared strikers in Europe is doubtful. The former Atletico star is now 30 and history tells us that he’s unlikely to go a full season without picking up a few knocks.
Monaco don’t see it that way, however. Having made the decision not to sell him in the summer, it’s clear that the French club are confident Falcao can inspire a title charge.
United and Chelsea are at fault
Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev reckons it’s only “a matter of time” before Falcao is back on the scoresheet - he hasn’t scored a competitive goal since last August - and blames United and Chelsea for his demise.
“Both clubs in England failed to relaunch him,” Vasilyev told the Daily Mail. “I don't know whether Manchester United and Chelsea did not have the patience or the desire to do that but I am quite sure this year we will see Falcao at his previous best.
“He is the same Falcao as he ever. We've seen that in pre-season. He scores goals, he's there and he is motivated, we are motivated and I think this will be his year.”
Falcao was forced to miss the 2014 World Cup after tearing his left ACL while playing in a Coupe de France game for Monaco.
The striker admitted that his heart was left “broken” following the devastating injury, and Vasilyev believes that United should have afforded him the time to recover.
“You have to be patient but the big clubs have other topics on their agenda,” the Monaco chief continued. “If you sign a player of this magnitude after a big injury it takes time and games to get him back into shape.
“This is what we will do and what Manchester United and Chelsea didn't do, failed to do or didn't want to do.
“We all see the qualities are there and it is a matter of time. Monaco will make every effort and you will see a very different Falcao this season to the one you saw in England.”