Radamel Falcao García Zárate (Spanish pronunciation: [raðaˈmel falˈkao]; 10 February 1986), also known as Radamel Falcao, or simply Falcao, is a Colombian professional footballer who plays as a striker for French club Monaco, and a former captain of the Colombia national team. He is sometimes nicknamed El Tigre (Spanish for The Tiger ) or King of the Europa League .

Falcao has been described as one of the most “natural in form, goal scorers” in the world. His abilities to adapt to most positions and scoring goals with various parts of his body has resulted in goals. Described as a ‘poacher’, Falcao is often labeled as a ‘pure striker’ often playing as a traditional ‘number 9′, capitalizing on less amount of chances that are given to him than the typical goal scorer.

Falcao made his debut for Lanceros Boyacá in the Colombian Categoría Primera B (second tier) on 28 August 1999 at the age of 13 years and 199 days, thus becoming the youngest debutant at that level of Colombian professional football. In 2000, Lanceros’ coach, Hernán Pacheco, began to consider the 14-year-old more seriously; Falcao played seven matches that year. On 25 July, at the Estadio Olímpico del Sol at Sogamoso, he scored his first and only goal for the club, to seal a 2–0 win against Club El Cóndor that took Lanceros off the bottom of the table. In his two years with the club, he played eight matches and scored once.

After training with Millonarios, who did not take up their option to purchase the player, Falcao was sold to River Plate of Argentina in February 2001 for a $500,000 fee. He began his River career in the youth team, playing in the eighth division of Argentine football. River coach Leonardo Astrada gave Falcao his professional debut in the 2005 Torneo Clausura, on 6 March 2005, in a game that the club won 3–1 to Instituto de Córdoba.

On 18 August 2011, Porto announced they had agreed a fee with Atlético Madrid for the transfer of Falcao. The transfer fee was €40 million with the fee potentially rising to €50 million based on performance-based
clauses, making him the most expensive player in the club’s history. Falcao made his Atlético debut on 10 September away to Valencia CF, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 defeat.

On 31 May 2013, Atlético Madrid general manager Miguel Ángel Gil Marín announced that the club would not stand in the way if Falcao decided to leave in the next summer transfer window. On 31 May 2013, newly promoted AS Monaco FC announced that they had reached an
agreement with Atlético Madrid for a transfer. Falcao signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around €60 million, with his net annual salary at AS Monaco being reported to be around €18.2 million.

On 1 September 2014, Manchester United agreed to sign Falcao on loan for £6 million subject to a medical examination with an option to sign permanently for £43.5 million (€55 million) at season’s end. The deal saw him earn £265,000-a-week at the club. Manchester City had previously opted out of signing him due to squad size. United confirmed the transfer in the early hours of 2 September.

On 3 July 2015, Chelsea signed Falcao on a season-long loan deal with the option of a permanent transfer at the end of the season. It was later revealed that the fee to make the move permanent was set at £38 million (€50 million). The move briefly reunited him with his Colombia team-mate Juan Cuadrado and former Atlético Madrid team-mates Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois. Midfielder Mario Pašalić went to Monaco on loan in exchange for Falcao joining Chelsea.

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