Even non-Colombia fans were dismayed to hear back in January that Radamel Falcao had injured himself and would likely miss the Brazil World Cup, but there have been indications recently that the Colombian striker may recover in time to play in the tournament.
It would be something akin to a miracle recovery if Falcao was fit in time for the June/July championships, as hope was very dim when he first injured his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for club side Monaco in the French Cup.
As one of the world's premier strikers, Falcao's absence from the 2014 World Cup would be a major disappointment for football lovers everywhere.
Initial estimates were that he would need at least six months to regain his fitness, but as Eurosport reported at the time, the 28-year-old gave his supporters a small amount of hope via his Facebook page.
I'm not going to hide that my sadness is huge, my heart is destroyed, but I'm hanging on to a hope the size of a grain of mustard and that's enough to believe that my World Cup dream is still alive.
God makes the improbable possible, I believe in Him.
He also sent this tweet from his hospital bed in Porto, which had an optimistic tone:
Desde Porto viendo al equipo, gracias por la fuerza que me dan, yo estoy acá a darles la mía!! pic.twitter.com/nrHCeHxAge— Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO) January 26, 2014
Translated it reads: "In Porto watching the team, thanks for the strength that you're giving me, I'm here giving mine!"
As early as the first week of February, noises coming out of Monaco indicated that Falcao's recovery was going better than expected.
Coach Claudio Ranieri had this to say on the club's website, as relayed by John Drayton of The Daily Mail:
I had Radamel Falcao on the phone yesterday.
He’s doing well and working hard.
His knee is reacting very positively, I think he’ll play at the World Cup.
Monaco also released pictures and videos of the Colombian's rehabilitation program, as positivity about his World Cup hopes increased.
The best news yet came on March 26 when Falcao's surgeon, Jose Carlos Naronha, announced that the elegant forward could be back in action by May.
Speaking to Portuguese radio station, Radio Renascenca, as reported by Paulo Freitas and Patrick Haond of Sky Sports, Naronha made the following pronouncements:
If the magnetic resonance imaging shows a darker aspect of the new ligament and an absence of inflammatory process around it, we will be able to let Falcao go on the pitch at the end of week 12.
He could then resume jogging without big changing of direction or rough acceleration.
Then, from the fourth month, he could be completely ready to play on the pitch, so would be ready for June 14 (Colombia's opening World Cup match with Greece).
Fantastic news for Falcao, Colombia and football fans all over the world.
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