Radamel Falcao once again showed why he is one of the most sought after forwards in the world, as he struck a first half hat-trick to earn Atletico Madrid the UEFA Super Cup over Chelsea.
The UEFA Super Cup, a coming together of the reigning Champions League and Europa League champions, was held in Monaco on Friday night. Seen as a meaningless game for many, and with the stadium not full, the highlight of the show was Atletico Madrid’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao.
Falcao had fired in a remarkable twelve goals in fifteen appearances during Atletico Madrid’s run to success in the Europa League last season and he continued his amazing run of European scoring with his feat on Friday of netting a hat-trick.
Falcao, who had been a transfer target of Chelsea over the summer, came up against the club who were sitting top of the English Premier League following three wins from three. But Chelsea’s back line were undone time and time again by the pace and creativity of Madrid’s attack, and with Falcao waiting to finish over moves, the Spaniards raced out to a 3-0 half time lead and highlighted major problems for the Blues. Falcao had already struck the crossbar with an effort early in the final of the UEFA Super Cup, but Chelsea failed to heed the warning signs and it was not long before he struck with the accuracy and proficiency for which he has become known.
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Falcao’s scoring record in Europe is remarkable. In his first season with FC Porto, he struck four goals in eight European matches, and then exploded the following season. In the 2010/11 season with the Portuguese side, Falcao netted an incredible 18 goals in just 16 matches, a reason why Atletico Madrid made the move to sign him. The capture of the Colombian broke Atletico Madrid’s transfer fee record, with the Spaniards shelling out €40 million for him. Since then, he has returned interest on that deal with some force.
Again he shone in Europe with this dozen goals in his first season with Atletico Madrid, and that was on top of 24 goals scored in 34 La Liga performances. In 37 appearances for Colombia, the striker has netted 11 times. His latest achievement in his short career is that he has become the first man to score a hat-trick in the final of the Super Cup (in its current format). With three goals in the first two La Liga matches of the season as well, there could be an outstanding season ahead for Falcao. The next challenge for Madrid, may be holding to the star next summer, if he fails to fire them to success again.
Regardless of what is to come in the following season however, how long can Atletico Madrid hold on to Falcao? Another fine season in La Liga and on the European front will no doubt have the biggest charges in European football scrambling to capture the signature of the 26 year old. The likely suitors would naturally be their rivals Real Madrid or Barcelona, or a potential Premier League move would probably be initiated by either Manchester United or through the deep pockets of Manchester City. But what seems likely, is that he could well be the next transfer record breaker.
With French side Paris St Germain shelling out over £50 million for Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the summer, the younger, more prolific Falcao could easily demand more on the transfer market. The current world record stands at £80 million, which Real Madrid spent on bringing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. Will Falcao ever hit those heights on the transfer market? Will he come close? For now, Atletico will be pleased that the transfer window is closed as they keep the Colombian in their ranks.
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