Eye of the Tiger: Falcao is the world's deadliest penalty-box marksman
He is the most coveted, deadly, in-form and talked-about striker currently operating in world football, with the choice of any club he wishes to select from for his next adventure.
That may seem like a good place to be in as a professional footballer and yet Radamel Falcao García Zárate, aka Falcao, knows that this will be the most important decision that he will ever make in his entire career, so he had better get it right.
Now, to say that the Colombia international has recently been linked with some of Europe’s elite clubs would be an understatement, as the likes of Champions League holders Chelsea, big-spending Ligue 1 nouveaux riches Paris Saint-Germain, La Liga champions Real Madrid and Premier League title-holders Manchester City, to name just a few of his suitors, have all allegedly thrown their collective hats into the ring in order to secure the front man’s signature come summer time.
However, one potential employer has only just come to light, if reports in both the Spanish and English media of late are to be believed, and that is Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, who recently announced that former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola will be taking over the managerial reins at the Allianz Arena as of next season in a move that caught the whole of European football by surprise.
But the Bavarians must not be underestimated in the race to sign Falcao, who, when he does eventually decide to sit down with his coterie of advisers and handlers to sift through the various offers on the table, will quickly discover there are far more appealing reasons to choose Munich as his next port of call than any of the other rival bids from London, Madrid, Paris or Manchester.
In making career-defining decisions such as the one the 26-year-old will soon be making, perhaps the most important factor he will consider is the coach he will be playing for, and in that regard, Bayern have the clear edge over all of their competitors.
The Atletico Madrid forward will know Guardiola from last season in La Liga (the Catalan’s last in charge at Camp Nou before his sabbatical), what he stands for, how his team plays, and that can only be a good thing for the Germans in their pursuit of the Colombian.
Where will Falcao be playing next season?
If the recent report in French newspaper L'Equipe (via The Daily Mail) is to be believed, then Guardiola’s grand plan to take on the rest of Europe next season revolves around an eye-catching South American striking partnership of Falcao alongside Liverpool’s Uruguay international forward Luis Suarez.
And, with Pep’s brother currently representing the latter, then half of that dream team could already be on its way to Munich this summer, which should help convince Falcao to come too, if he needed any convincing that is.
Now, when one considers the talent already on show at the Allianz Arena, with a core of highly-talented and experienced Germany internationals such as Manuel Neuer, Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller all playing alongside other stellar talents from across Europe like Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Javi Martinez, then you can see why Falcao, unlike defences across the continent next season, would be licking his lips at the prospect of joining Bayern this summer.
So, Bayern can offer the striker the most charismatic and visionary head coach in world football with which to work with, some of the best footballers in Europe to play with and a guaranteed starting place alongside those players (unlike at City and Madrid), but those are not the only factors that he will be weighing up when he makes his final decision. What about their trophy-winning capabilities?
Well, once again the Germans can give Falcao everything he could dream of in this regard, with the chance to compete at the very highest level of football on a yearly basis, something he has rarely been able to do in his career to date. With Bayern perennial Bundesliga and Champions League contenders, Guardiola’s arrival will only serve to reinforce that already dominant position.
And while the player may be able to earn more money at the likes of Chelsea, PSG, City or Madrid (although not that much more when all the sums are actually broken down), money does not buy you happiness and if things are going badly off the pitch, then they will soon start to quickly unravel on it, and this is where Bayern hold yet another trump card over their competitors.
In actual fact, when the world’s best penalty-box operator sits down and looks at exactly what Munich have to offer him, it could very well be their alluring off-the-field attractions that end up swinging the final decision their way.
Falcao will be joining a financially-stable outfit that play in front of capacity stadiums week in, week out at the start of the most exciting time in the club’s history as they embark on a new project which they hope will ultimately lead them all the way to the top of European football, and which ambitious player would not want to be a part of that?
He will also be able to experience a new footballing culture in northern Europe after his time spent in the Mediterranean with Porto and then Atletico, a culture that will respect his privacy off the pitch, unlike in some other countries, but while also treating him as superstar when operating in his natural working environment on the field of play.
Indeed, if he did need any convincing about the merits of joining Bayern, then all he need do is speak to the plethora of former South American strikers to have represented the Germans with distinction down the years. There are a number of highly-successful front men whose games all developed in Bavaria, Claudio Pizarro, Giovane Elber or Paulo Sergio, to name just a few.
Actually, when you really think about it the choice facing Falcao this summer is fairly straightforward, especially when one considers the alternative offers currently sitting in his inbox.
There’s City, but he would only be going for the money if he opted for the Ethiad, while his chances of winning Europe’s premier club competition while Roberto Mancini remains at the club are virtually non-existent. Plus, would be play every week?
What about the lure of London and Chelsea then? Too risky a choice for such a vital decision and one also gets the feeling that this is the wrong time to be joining the West Londoners as their star wanes. PSG, I hear you say, but again, like City it would be the end of his Champions League dream.
And that just leaves Madrid, however, it is virtually unheard of for an Atleticio player to swap the Vincente Calderon for the Santiago Bernabeu, let alone for one so popular as Falcao, while similar to Chelsea there is a whiff of instability currently hanging over the Spanish champions centred around the twin futures of key figures Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
So on this occasion, do not be so surprised when one of La Liga’s biggest and most sought after personalities opts for Bayern over the rest…