Once adjudged as one of world football’s most predatory strikers, Radamel Falcao’s powers to petrify opposition and seemingly score at will are no longer prevalent.
The Colombian marksman has suffered from the unenviable concoction of sky-high expectation and serious injury, which sees the South American today as a fragment of the player of yesteryear.
The truth is that a new start is necessary for El Tigre to get back to his blistering best, especially as Falcao’s decision making in recent years has been largely flawed.
The gifted attacker made his name at Porto, scoring an incredible amount of goals to fire André Villas-Boas’ men to an undefeated domestic campaign and a memorable Europa League success.
From the Estádio do Dragão the Colombian could have picked just about any European club but ended up at Atlético Madrid.
Falcao continued his prolificacy in front of goal in the Spanish capital, while continuing to make waves on the continent – again winning the Europa League with his new side.
However, when it became apparent that this lethal centre forward was probably one of the best in the business, the South American made a strange decision in his choice to move to Monaco.
Although the Estadio Vicente Calderón side clearly yielded to the highest bidder, Falcao surely would have had other options that would have offered a better route in furthering his career.
At the Principality outfit Falcao failed to replicate the unrelenting goalscoring feats of previous campaigns, while injury cruelly ruled the star out of Colombia’s World Cup campaign.
Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has this week confirmed that the striker’s loan move to Manchester United was at the player’s request to further his career rather than financial constraints at the Stade Louis II – but in reality his time in England has been nothing short of a disaster.
Given the reported wages that the Colombian current commandeers at Old Trafford and the goalscoring exploits of yesteryear, most of the Red Devils’ faithful will have expected Falcao to net 20-plus goals this season.
As it has turned out, the ex-River Plate man has shown fleeting glimpses of the traits that made him such a predator in days gone by but looks way off the level of match fitness that would allow him to prosper.
Recuperating from cruciate ligament injuries is not a simple case of waiting six months after an operation and working your way back to previous fitness levels; some players never fully get back to the form of before the setback.
For Falcao, United seem unlikely to make his move to Manchester permanent, especially given the sizeable potential fees being banded about in the media.
The striker probably needs to draw a line under this season and his time in the Premier League and start afresh in 2015-16.
A complete pre-season will be essential to the attacker hitting the ground running next term, wherever he is playing, while after a botched experiment at Old Trafford he has a point to prove.
This starts at this summer’s Copa America, where Colombia will enter the tournament as something of a dark horse.
Falcao has a lot of work to do to be truly deemed as one of the most respected strikers in the current game again, especially after no World Cup showing and limited exposure to the Champions League.
However, the 29-year-old’s past injury record means that Falcao’s glory days may well be behind him.