Falcao:The tiger who came back for free

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You can’t hear the name Radamel Falcao without allowing your mind to drift back to the heady days of 2012, when El Tigre was banging in the goals for Atlético Madrid (70 in 91 appearances) and Colombia (nine goals in 2014 World Cup qualifying) and finishing fifth in Ballon d’Or voting.

Atletico Madrid’s Colombian forward Radamel Falcao celebrates after scoring a third goal during the UEFA Super Cup football match Chelsea FC versus Club Atletico Madrid, on August 31, 2012 at the Stade Louis II, in Monaco. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

After failed loan spells with Manchester United (2014-15) and Chelsea (2015-16), Falcao again returned to form with Monaco and had three excellent seasons there between 2016 and 2019, but a transfer to Galatasaray seemed to mark the beginning of the end

The Colombia idol chose to move back to Spain in order to play at the highest level possible, a gamble that is paying off handsomely so far Scoring three goals in three matches which put Rayo Vallecano in 5th, one point behind the defending champion, Athletico Madrid.

All his efforts were quintessential Falcao. He needed just over 10 minutes after coming off the bench against Getafe on his debut last Saturday night

Then, in mid-week action, Falcao came off the bench in the 76th-minute against Athletic Bilbao and scored the game-winner in stoppage time

On Sunday, Falcao made his first start for Rayo and ultimately scored what would prove the match-winner in a 3-1 victory over Cádiz.

MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 26: Radamel Falcao (2ndR) of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates Oscar Martin Luengo (L), Alvaro Garcia (2ndL) and Ivan Balliu (R) during the LaLiga Santander match between Rayo Vallecano and Cadiz CF at Campo de Futbol de Vallecas on September 26, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Falcao took a drastic pay cut to move back to the Spanish capital, slashing his annual wages from the reported €5 million he earned in Turkey to €1.2m at his new club but he’s really only concerned with one thing at this point, and that’s playing for Colombia at the 2022 World Cup.

“One of my goals is to make it back to the Colombia national team,” Falcao said at his presentation.

“We are fighting for a spot at Qatar and what better than to come to this institution which gives me the opportunity to play. I promise to give my best, play with my heart and if God is willing, score lots of goals.”