Just over a year ago, soccer fans could be forgiven for thinking that Radamel Falcao was washed up. The Colombian striker had just been through two forgettable loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, and his 2014 ACL injury had robbed him of some of the agility that made him the best striker in the world and a top 3 finisher for the Ballon D’Or. Well, to those fans, Falcao has something to say: not yet.
With his goal during Wednesday’s Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund, the Monaco captain became the most efficient scorer in UEFA club competition history. His 45 goals in 50 games give him a 0.9 goal-to-match ratio, besting Germany and Bayern Munich legend Gerd Müller’s record of 62 tallies in 71 matches (0.87).
It’s not just that Falcao has been prolific; they’ve also been timely this season. His two goals against Manchester City in the first leg of this year’s round of 16 kept the French side within striking distance heading into the second leg, while his 17th minute goal in the second leg of the Dortmund tie probably sealed the deal for Monaco.
Speaking to French outlet L’Equipe, Falcao spoke about bouncing back from the hardships of England to this stellar season, saying “I have been through some difficult times, but I worked in silence when some people didn’t believe in me any more. I believe every effort ends up being rewarded.”
Falcao’s rejunevation hasn’t been limited to the Champions League, either. His 18 goals in 24 appearances in Ligue 1 have helped Monaco take a surprising lead at the top of the table (they are tied with Paris Saint-Germain, at 77 points, but with one less game played). After only scoring five goals in two seasons abroad in England, Falcao’s comeback couldn’t have come at a better time for a Monaco side loaded with potential but lacking in veteran leadership and consistency of the kind the Colombian has provided so far this season.