Falcao Scores Against Barcelona, but Could Be Set for Monaco

Samuel Marsden@@samuelmarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 25:  Radamel Falcao of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal 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

Radamel Falcao did what Radamel Falcao has done consistently in La Liga. He scored against one of Spain's apex predators.

In Atletico Madrid's last three matches against Real Madrid or Barcelona, the Colombian has opened the scoring; on Sunday night against Barca, last month against Real and in December at Camp Nou.

Twice last season he equalized after Los Rojiblancos had dropped behind too—at the Vicente Calderon against both Barca and Madrid.

Unfortunately, Atleti did what Atleti, recently, do consistently, too. They lost to one of the giants.

In seven league appearances against the two, the 27-year-old known as El Tigre—because of his ability to pounce almost silently—has scored five goals.

Atletico have lost all seven matches.

The most recent defeat has a different feel, though. Like it's the end of something.

There's still the Copa del Rey final against Jose Mourinho's side to come, but the press box was awash with rumors before the game.

Rumors that Falcao will not have the chance to fire Atleti to victory over Barcelona or Real Madrid at the Calderon again, because he's off to Caludio Ranieri's Monaco, who have just been promoted to the French top-flight:

It's a story which has been circulating the World Wide Web 2013 style this past week, but on Sunday it took on more authority.

The Daily Mail in England reported Monaco's wealthy Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev was prepared to meet Falcao's £50 million release clause, scuppering Chelsea's hopes of landing the forward.

Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio then tweeted (in Italian) that the deal was indeed done.

Atleti, as recently as yesterday (via Sky Sports), denied there was any truth in the move, but the increase in the buzz surrounding the deal suggests it's more than just hearsay.

Falcao, like many players based in Madrid, possesses Jorge Mendes as his agent. Mendes is a man who (as outlined by Gabriele Marcotti here) has far too much of a say in football than the sport should allow.

If money dictates the yachts of Monaco can offer the most suitable deal for him, the yachts of Monaco will be where he's happy to send his client.

Champions League or no Champions League.

And that is where the crime is.

Radamel Falcao's goals against the top two may not have brought the results he would have liked, but his goals elsewhere have fired Atleti into next season's Champions League; not to mention winning them last year's Europa League.

He'll turn 28 during the 2013/14 campaign. Does he really want another season hiding in the shadow's of Europe's elite?

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