MADRID: Radamel Falcao, say Atletico de Madrid, has earned the right with his goals to decide at the season’s end whether he stays or where he goes writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Those comments, by Atletico ceo Miguel Ángel Gil Marín, will alert European free-spenders such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain . . . and even, mischievously, neighbours Real Madrid.
The fortunes of both Atletico and Falcao have been turned around since the club appointed his old River Plate coach, Diego Simeone, in late 2011. Falcao had arrived that summer for €40M after a European record-breaking season with Porto in the Europa League. After a slow start in Spain, his goals led Atletico to a Europa League triumph of their own and a thrashing of Chelsea in the UEFA Supercup.
Atletico are second in La Liga and Colombian striker Falcao is second, with 17 goals, in the scoring charts behind 25-goal Leo Messi. Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo is third with 14.
Falcao’s mix of talents suggest he would be a perfect fit in the Premier League and Gil Marin said: “He is a very great player. He is among the best in the world. Some people questioned the fee we paid but he has proved what a super footballer and human being he is.
“The agreement we have is that, at the end of this season, we will sit down and decide what is best for both parties since he has earned the right to decide. Personally I think that right now he is very happy in our league, in our city and in our club.”
These are not easy times for Spanish football, however.
Gil Marin warned: “Our football is sick and needs urgent structural change. Maybe this needs legislative attention for sport in general or for professional football in particular. We have 27 out of 42 clubs on the brink of bankruptcy.
“We need a centrally controlled TV rights and advertising, the way it is done by UEFA with the Champions League, so we can narrow the gaps between the top clubs and the rest both on the pitch and off it.”