Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2014 Contents A74
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, September 12, 2014
MANCHESTER---Just one practice session in the
company of Radamel Falcao has convinced Man-
chester United manager Louis van Gaal that the
Colombia striker is the player to turn around the
team's flagging fortunes.
"I don't have doubts because he is for me one of
the best strikers in the world," Van Gaal said yesterday.
"Today in training he got one ball and it was in the
goal. He confirmed it in his first training session
A glance at Falcao's scoring record since moving
to Europe from River Plate in 2009 also suggests
United's reported outlay of $25 million in salary and
fee for his season-long loan from Monaco is a finan-
cial gamble worth taking.
At FC Porto, he scored 72 goals in 87 games from
2009-11. At Atletico Madrid, he scored 70 goals in
91 games from 2011-13. And his scoring ratio in half
a season at Monaco before he succumbed to a serious
knee injury in mid-January was almost one goal
every two games.
With Falcao, goals are guaranteed. No wonder Van
Gaal wore a broad smile as he grabbed Falcao's hand
and held it up at the end of his presentation as a
United player at Old Trafford yesterday.
Falcao said the right things, too, suggesting he
was ready to settle down at United---his fifth club
in five years, all in different countries.
"When I was in Porto, Atletico Madrid, I always
wanted to improve, and dreamed of playing in a
team like (United)," he said in English. "And now,
I want to stay here for many years."
United has the option of signing Falcao for a
reported £44 million (US$71 million) at the end of
the season. If Falcao can help return the club to the
Champions League, it will be a no-brainer for the
20-time English champions.
What United and Van Gaal will be keen to see is
that Falcao has recovered from the injury to his ante-
rior cruciate ligament in his left knee that cost him
a place in Colombia's World Cup squad.
He hasn't played 90 minutes since his return, in
six matches for club and country.
"I feel well," Falcao said. "I started to play two
months ago with Monaco and I improved in the last
month a lot. I am confident in my physical form.
I am comfortable with my knee."
Falcao completed his move to United in the final
hours of the summer transfer window, arriving at
Old Trafford just as another striker in England inter-
national Danny Welbeck left to join Arsenal.
Critics have suggested that by moving on Welbeck
and other young British players like Tom Cleverley
and Tom Lawrence this summer, Van Gaal is aban-
doning the club's long-held policy of bringing through
youth players. At least while United looks to recover
its position as one of England's top teams following
a dreadful season under David Moyes in 2013-14.
Van Gaal offered a stern defence
"I am always willing to give young players chances
but they have to take them," Van Gaal said. "I cannot
do that for them.
"I have given all the players a chance to convince
me of their qualities. Danny Welbeck was here when
he was 9...but he doesn't have the record of Van
Persie or Rooney and that is the standard. That is
why we let him go."
By moving in successive summers to Atletico,
Monaco and now United, Falcao is making a habit
of missing out on playing in the Champions League.
It's the fifth straight season that he won't be featuring
in Europe's top club competition, a stage which
Falcao wants to make
loan at Man U permanent
attracts so many South American players
"Every player wants to play Champions
League," he said. "This year it is not possible
in Manchester but we are confident of
achieving the qualification for next season."
Falcao could make his debut for United
in the Premier League match against Queens
Park Rangers on Sunday. United has two
points from its opening three games under
new players Radamel
Falcao, left, and Daley
Blind pose for
photographs at Old
Falcao joined on a
season-long loan deal
from Ligue 1 side
Monaco and Blind
signed from Ajax as
Louis van Gaal looks to
bolster his attacking
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