One of the most expensive transfer signings of this summer, Radamel Falcao, has denied reports surfacing in the media which claim he is two years older than his registered age.
Charlie Skillen of the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that documents, purporting to be from Falcao's school days, had come to light showing his date of birth as February 10, 1984. The Colombian striker's registered FIFA date of birth, giving the age which the footballing authority believes he is, is displayed at the same date, but in 1986.
That would make Falcao now 29 years old instead of the 27 years of age that the world had, until now, believed he was.
Falcao himself and his representatives have completely denied the accusation, as per TEAMtalk, stating:
I have been surprised with stories in the media about my age. They are totally ridiculous. I want to deny this and end this issue once and for all.
While there is certainly no compelling evidence other than the school-age documents shown in the initial story to suggest Falcao might have altered his real age, it wouldn't be the first time that a player's age was suspected to be doctored.
The Guardian reported in 2010 how a whole host of Nigerian stars of the 1990s and 2000s were suspected as being far older than their given ages, while John Sinnott of CNN earlier this year published an article regarding Chancel Mbemba Mangulu, a DR Congo international, who somehow had documentation showing no less than four different birth dates.
In the case of Falcao, he is now 27, entering his prime years and showing magnificent form of late for Atletico Madrid, where he plundered 28 goals in 34 league games last season.
That convinced Ligue 1 newcomers Monaco to splash out more than £50 million on him—would they have done the same if Falcao was about to turn 30 as we enter the new year?
It's possible they would have, of course.
The principality side are determined to make a big impact and have already forked out huge fees for Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez, amongst others, but in general their larger fees have been paid for players either in their so-called prime or else still young enough to further enhance their abilities and reputations.
Another aspect to reconsider would be the contract length handed to the striker.
Falcao's deal runs until 2018, a five-year contract. That will take him up to age 32, when many strikers might be considered to be at the end of their highest level. What happens if his post-30s dip comes just midway into his contract now, when Monaco expected him to be only 29?
Those questions will be moot, of course, if Falcao's denials are with merit and the documents are completely false.
The move is ratified now and complete, with Falcao already taking to the field to represent Monaco for the first time.
There will be plenty of eyes on him as the new season kicks into gear. Unfortunately, it might now be for more reasons than the outrageous transfer fee paid for him.
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