Radamel Falcao: Where Will the Atletico Madrid Striker Be Next Season?

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 25:  Radamel Falcao (R) of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates with Tiago Cardoso after being awarded a penalty kick during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Sevilla FC at Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Marca held their annual awards yesterday, with, surprise, surprise, Cristiano Ronaldo receiving the Di Stefano trophy for last season's best player.

But there was also a special award thrown together for Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao—one for being last season's top scorer in the Europa League.

At the event, the Colombian was asked about what awaits him after this season ends: "My future? I live for the present. At the moment I'm happy at Atleti and all the fans are happy with me''

Ambiguous to say the least, and nowhere near enough to encourage Los Rojiblancos fans that he will remain at the Vicente Calderon next season.

Since Christmas an injury and a slight dip in the team's form has seen Falcao's goals slightly slow up, but prior to that his exploits had already done enough to have most of Europe's elite drooling at the prospect of installing him as their new No.9.

But if the Tiger's future doesn't lie with his South American comrade Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital, where does it?

A move to fan the flames of the city rivalry would be the short hop across town to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Claims on Spanish TV at the beginning of January (via the Mirror) suggested that it was a done deal—that was quickly refuted though.

This last week has seen a new twist to any possible move to Real Madrid too, with news reported that there is a $20 million anti-Madrid clause in Falcao's contract—meaning Los Blancos would have to pay that amount more than any other club who desires his services.

And so if it is not to be the white of Madrid, it seems likely to be one of two shades of blue: Chelsea or Manchester City.

Unlike with Lionel Messi—who Andy Gray famously questioned his ability to perform at Stoke on a cold Tuesday night—the English have seemed instantly accepting at the thought of Falcao slotting into the Premier League.

Strong, fast, with the ball, without the ball and an excellent finisher, the 27-year-old is the archetypal forward that many believe is built for the Premier League.

Atletico Madrid are among many Spanish sides who are operating on a sell-first basis, and with Falcao part-owned by the London-based Doyen Group, a move to England's colder climate seems plausible.

Like every other professional footballer in Madrid, Jorge Mendes represents the Colombian and is likely to want to move him on this summer to a club with more financial clout that Atleti, to a club that can offer the sort of wages that PSG lazily throw about: Chelsea or Manchester City.

From the Independent in January to goal.com this week, these two clubs have been constantly linked with the signature of the former Porto striker.

With Falcao's comments this week, logical thinking suggests that come the summer—like Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero before him—he will depart the red and white stripes of Atleti.

The move suits Mendes, it suits Atleti and it suits Falcao, the question that needs to be answered is who's prepared to break the bank more? Chelsea or Manchester City?