Spanish Football: Falcao future dominates Copa final build-up

14May 2013

Primera Division Spanyol


Reports that Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao will move to newly-promoted Monaco in the summer are the talk of Madrid ahead of a derby clash in this week's Copa del Rey final, says Ben Lyttleton...


In football, everything is connected; which is why Monaco securing promotion to Ligue 1 on Saturday, the same day that Frank Lampard broke Chelsea's all-time scoring  record, was significant.


The coach that signed Lampard to Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri, is Monaco coach and earlier in the day had laughed off report that Monaco had secured the signature of  Radamel Falcao for next season (Ranieri, meanwhile, may be replaced by Roberto Mancini, whose Manchester City side lost the FA Cup final on Saturday).


As for Falcao, it is an open secret that the Colombian will leave Atletico Madrid after two prolific seasons in the Spanish capital: in his first year, he top-scored  as the club won the Europa League, his second in as many seasons, and this season has excelled as Atletico have secured third place and a spot in next season's  Champions League.


In his two seasons with Atletico, Falcao has scored 69 goals in 87 games; were it not for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he would be top scorer in Spain as well.


On Sunday night, Falcao scored against Barcelona for the third successive time, but his opening goal was cancelled out by late efforts from Cesc Fabregas and a Gabriel  Fernandez own goal; the result secured Barcelona's Liga title win and kept them on track to equal Real Madrid's 100-point record haul from 2011.


Falcao's scoring record is why Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain all want to sign the 27-year-old this summer. In a market where there are not many  top-class strikers who might be available - only Edinson Cavani and, maybe, Wayne Rooney, could be on the market - Falcao stands out. He is as close as you can get to  a guarantee of goals; and the deal with Monaco, while denied by Atletico, will help his negotiating position when it comes to other clubs.


Monaco, reported L'Equipe on Saturday, has agreed to pay Atletico the full €60m release clause in his contract and is the only club among his suitors that have agreed  to pay him the €10m annual salary he has demanded; the fact that Monaco is a tax haven has given them an advantage that the French football league is trying to  overturn. As a Principality, Monaco's tax-free status has become a huge talking-point of late.


After a recent meeting between French FA (FFF) president Noel Le Graet and Monaco's owner, the Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev, the club sent out a press release  claiming the FFF, to whom Monaco had appealed, had demanded €200m as a compensation payment to French clubs to resolve the tax issue. The FFF responded the same day  insisting that "it was Monaco who had proposed a payment of €200m in a timeframe and a manner yet to be determined".


If Monacao do sign Falcao, they would instantly become credible challengers to the expected dominance of PSG in Ligue 1. In a poll revealed in L'Equipe on Monday,  readers were asked if PSG, who clinched on Sunday night, would retain the crown next season: 91 per cent said 'Oui'. That number might decrease if Falcao lands in  Monte Carlo.


The Colombian once admitted that he could draw a diagram of every goal he has ever scored. "I never think I'm not going to score, I never panic, I never start to  worry," he has said. "I believe I will score. I just know, no matter how long I have to wait, that the goal will come."


This week, he will hope to prove that again as Atletico take on Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final first leg. Atletico are 6.4 to win the game, with Madrid 1.51.


The underdogs, who have not beaten their city rivals since 1999, are 3.85 to take the trophy, and ensure that Jose Mourinho ends his last season in Madrid, who are  1.89, without a title. Mourinho, it has been reported, also wants Falcao if he takes the job at Chelsea.


It might help that the pair share an agent in Jorge Mendes. As I said, everything is connected.



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Keywords: Spanish Football, Falcao, Copa del Rey, final, Ben Lyttleton

Source: Betfair

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