Forgotten man Falcao determined
Images from the 2014 World Cup are seared into the mind and from Colombia’s point of view they invariably revolve around James Rodríguez , the poster boy who won the Golden Boot, scored the goal of the tournament with that sumptuous volley against Uruguay and broke down in tears on the pitch after his dream came to an end against Brazil in the quarter-finals. [Image: jets_031.jpg]Four years on and Rodríguez and Colombia are strutting back on to the global stage with those garish yellow shirts, only now there is another star in town. Welcome to the World Cup, Radamel Falcao. Aged 32, Falcao is a late entrant to football’s biggest party but better late than never in the of Colombia fans. Rodríguez may have been the star of the show in Brazil, and he was certainly Colombia’s most influential player during their uninspiring World Cup qualification campaign for Russia, yet it is Falcao, the devoted Christian who has the power to win votes as well as score goals, who remains the country’s footballing icon. Falcao’s influence stretches far and wide in Colombia, so much so that when he was coming round from knee surgery in January 2014, after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while playing for Monaco, the surgeon who carried out the operation received a phone call from Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president. “He told me that if I can get Falcao fit for the World Cup, then I could win him the elections,” José Carlos Noronha said. Santos stayed in power but Falcao, despite being named in José Pekerman’s initial 30-man squad for Brazil and spending 10 one-hour sessions in a hyperbaric chamber to do everything possible to accelerate his recovery, lost his race to be fit for the Womens Patrick Eaves Jersey World Cup finals. Colombia were robbed of their talisman and Falcao was cruelly denied the opportunity to feature for his country in what was their first World Cup appearance for 16 years. As Falcao sat on the outside looking in, watching his teammates light up Brazil with the slick, incisive counterattacking football that delivered four straight victories and 11 goals before they ran into Brazil in Fortaleza, a couple of thoughts came to mind. The first was that if Colombia were this good without Falcao, what would they have been capable of if he were fit? The second was to dare to wonder whether Colombia, whose formation was reconfigured in the absence of Falcao, were possibly a better all-round team without him. Would Rodríguez, for example, have been liberated in quite the same way with Falcao in the side? Either way, there is no getting away from the fact Falcao endured a miserable couple of seasons when he finally did get back on to the pitch. Across 41 largely forgettable appearances for Manchester United and Chelsea between September 2014 and April 2016, after he was loaned by Monaco, Falcao scored only four times. Ivan Mejia, one of Colombia’s leading pundits, went as far as to say Falcao should be described as an “ex-footballer” towards the end of his time in England. Was Womens Josh Jones Jersey Falcao finished? Two seasons back in Ligue 1, scoring 51 goals for Monaco, have provided the best possible response to that criticism and saw Falcao re-establish himself as the Colombia No 9 – a role Teófilo Gutiérrez filled in Brazil – before the end of the World Cup qualifiers and making him a mandatory selection for their opening game against Japan in Saransk on Tuesday. Shirts with his name on the back are everywhere. After Russia, Colombia are the third best supported nation at the World Cup based on ticket sales in their own country (65,234) and it promises to be quite an atmosphere inside the Mordovia Arena, where Japan will come up against the team who thumped them 4-1 in the group stage in Brazil, on a night when Pekerman rested the majority of his first-choice players because they were already through to the last 16. wholesale jerseys cheap jerseyswholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys

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