Over the last number of seasons, the Portuguese Primeira Liga has seen some top-notch Colombian stars ply their trade in the Iberian top flight.
The first of real note over the last couple of seasons was Radamel Falcao, who joined Porto from River Plate back in 2009.
The now Monaco hitman showcased his ability as one of the world’s most lethal marksmen during his time at the Estádio do Dragão. Although the likes of Hulk and João Moutinho gained praise, Falcao was undoubtedly the side’s talisman.
Falcao’s unbelievable goal scoring record for Porto was a major reason for the momentous treble in 2010-11 under André Villas-Boas, before the star forward was sold at a cost of €40 million to Atlético Madrid.
Porto’s fascination with Colombian stars has not ended there, with James Rodríguez also starring for the Portuguese side before moving to Monaco in the summer.
Ironically the man leading the line for Porto these days is Falcao’s national strike partner Jackson Martínez, who has followed in his illustrious countryman’s footsteps with an uncanny goalscoring record.
Taking into account Udinese star Luis Muriel, who has been starring for the Serie A side this season, Colombia have an arsenal of attacking weaponry at their disposal for the World Cup this summer – even if Falcao is an injury doubt for the tournament in Brazil.
However, another Colombian is also making waves in Portugal but is yet to gain the acclaim of his compatriots.
For the first time in a number of seasons, Porto and Benfica’s dominance over the domestic game has been threatened by Sporting, who at the time of writing sit in second place, two points off top spot.
Although the likes of William Carvalho and Diego Capel have been star men for Leonardo Jardim’s side, Montero has got the goals to see Sporting in the hunt for honours.
The 26-year-old’s 13 goals in 17 league games have persuaded the Portuguese side to wisely make his loan move permanent, with other team sure to have been eyeing up the in-form attacker.
Montero has a solid goalscoring record in his homeland and in MLS soccer, but despite his promise there was reason to believe his big break and a move to Europe might not come.
Signing a 26-year-old from the MLS could well be seen as something of a gamble for a side eager to fight for silverware in a major European league, but it has proven to be a masterstroke by the Sporting powers that be.
Montero’s clinical outlook in front of goal and movement off the ball have proven too much for plenty of opposition defences this term, and the late bloomer looks set to gain just as much recognition as some of his attacking countrymen if he continues his rich vein of scoring form.
Come World Cup time, if Falcao is not able to feature, Montero could well be a fitting replacement. Although only capped four times by his nation to date, the ex-Millionarios man will surely be in the reckoning for inclusion after his recent rise to prominence.
Montero has the heady reputations of the likes of Falcao and Martínez to live up to, but early signs from his time in Europe suggest he has what it takes to be a real star for club and country.