Updates from Saturday, August 2
Monaco's official Twitter feed notes that Falcao's return to the starting XI will not be made on Saturday:
But, Julien Laurens of ESPN notes that he's on the bench:
Falcao is on the bench but should cone on. The ones to watch: Martial and Kondogbia for Monaco, Rodrigo and Andre Gomes for Valencia.— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) August 2, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 28
Goal.com's Robin Bairner has the latest:
Radamel Falcao is expected to feature at Arsenal's annual Emirates Cup preseason tournament, beginning next weekend. The news is the clearest sign yet that the deadly Colombian striker is close to a full recovery from major ACL damage sustained last season.
The 28-year-old has spent the summer stepping up his recovery and looks likely to run out for Monaco for the first time in six months when they tackle Valencia – and then potentially either Arsenal or Benfica – at the Emirates Cup tournament, which takes place over the weekend of August 2-3.
Falcao's prospective comeback from the injury that ruled him out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is a hot topic in this transfer window. But as CBSSports.com's Jeff Borzello notes, Falcao's absence in Brazil hardly resulted in disappointment for Colombia:
I sort of think Colombia has been better without Falcao. Just like Atletico Madrid was. Better link-up play between midfielders and striker.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 28, 2014
At the moment, though, Falcao is still an AS Monaco player. That's why Arsenal fans will be happy. The Ligue 1 outfit are scheduled to play the Gunners on Sunday, August 3.
Getting the chance to see one of the world's most potent finishers will be a major boost for the crowds at what is usually a very successful curtain-raising prequel to Arsenal's competitive season.
WhoScored.com on Twitter notes Falcao's goal-scoring prowess:
Falcao: Despite leaving in 2013, only Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more La Liga goals in the last 3 seasons than Falcao (52)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 27, 2014
Former Real Madrid centre-back and current Monaco player Ricardo Carvalho praised Falcao's combination of skill and professionalism to AS earlier this summer, per Goal.com:
I think Falcao is the missing piece that would make Madrid's attack perfect. Cristiano [Ronaldo] is the best player in the world, [Gareth] Bale is very good and Falcao is the best striker.
Cristiano, Bale and Falcao would be the most feared attacking trio in the history of football. I am a defender and I would not want to face them. ...
... Everyone knows that Cristiano is the best player in the world, and the most professional.
In terms of professionalism, Falcao is the player who is the closest. He will have a very long career because of the care he takes.
As for potential suitors such as Madrid, Los Blancos chief Carlo Ancelotti will be very encouraged by the assessment from new Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim.
Jardim is anticipating the end of Falcao's recovery process, per L'Equipe (h/t The Guardian): "I think he will be able to start playing again at the Emirates Cup. He is now in the final phase of his recuperation."
Those positive words could, of course, accelerate any potential transfer away from Monaco. However, interested clubs are likely to first want a glimpse of how Falcao fares after such a serious injury.
That will be particularly important for a player now 28. The Emirates Cup is the perfect setting to gauge the early progress of Falcao's comeback bid.