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This time 12 months ago Radamel Falcao was wasting away on the Chelsea FC bench. 12 months before that he was struggling to make an impact at Manchester United, despite earning upwards of £250,000-a-week in the Premier League.
Despite making a name for himself as one of world football’s best players a few seasons ago, having scored 52 times in 68 La Liga games for Atletico Madrid, the years that followed didn’t quite go to plan. Understandably, many thought that the Colombian hitman’s time at the top had come to an end. Yet, he is proving this season that he is still among the best goalscorers around.
Monaco currently find themselves at the top of Ligue 1, as they march towards their first top flight title since the 1999/2000 season. Many felt that Paris Saint-Germain would cope with the loss of star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bounty of goals and secure a fifth consecutive title, but Monaco have the edge as the title race comes to a close.
The club’s rise has been no lucky feat - they currently rank as one of Europe’s most potent attacking sides, having scored 88 goals in just 31 Ligue 1 matches so far. Those goals have come from all over the pitch, with the young crop of Kylian Mbappé, Thomas Lemar and Fabinho having all impressed. However, while Monaco’s inexperienced players have been hugely impressive, it is the veteran who has stolen the show.
The injury problems that have hampered Falcao’s career in recent seasons are still present. He missed the first three games of the campaign as a result of a recurring hamstring injury and the same problem kept him out of the clash against SM Caen last week. Yet, he is coping far better this season and was able to pick up where he left off upon returning to face SCO Angers on Saturday afternoon.
Falcao scored the only goal of the game to hand Monaco all three points. That was his 24th strike of the season, having featured in just 32 games so far. Add in his five assists and it is clear that Falcao is back to his blistering best.
All in all, Falcao’s goals and assists have single handedly earned Monaco a total of six points so far this term that they otherwise would have lost. It may not sound like much, but with three points currently separating them from PSG, Falcao’s reinvigorated form could be the difference between finishing first and finishing second next month.
Having cost the club €60 million back in 2013, for the past three years it seemed that Monaco would never see a return on their outlay. Yet, if Falcao helps to break PSG’s Ligue 1 dominance this season, his hefty transfer fee would be well and truly paid off.