The next big things and the players to look for
You know the drill: Portuguese side brings in player from South America. South American player impresses - both in domestically and in European competition. Team in more established league signs said player for big bucks.
The same well-trodden path could be walked by Porto’s Radamel Falcao in the not too distant future.
The Colombian striker moved to Porto last summer and has been an instant hit in his first season at Estadio do Dragao, scoring 16 goals in 19 matches in the Portuguese Liga, with a further four in seven Champions League appearances.
The most recent of these was of course in last week's last 16 first leg win over Arsenal, although not all of his goals rely so heavily on defensive mix-ups (or poor refereeing, if you believe Arsene Wenger).
Falcao flashes his winning smile...
Falcao has already been linked with the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool over the past 18 months, and if he continues his impressive form through to the end of the season, he's sure to be one of the most sought-after players in the summer transfer window.
His first objective, however, will be to eliminate Arsenal from the Champions League in two weeks time.
FourFourTwo contributor Martin Mazur tells us more about the Colombian hotshot…
Clichy: "Isn't that Radamel Falcao?"
Name Radamel Falcao Age 23Position StrikerNationality Colombian Club PortoGames 29 Goals 23
Appearances can be deceptive. Away from the pitch, the young Colombian hot-shot is Radamel Garcia: a shy, softly spoken teenager who puts his success down to the grace of God.
On the pitch, however, the striking sensation morphs into Radamel Falcao: a fierce, uncompromising attacker who likes nothing more than winding up opposing defenders before scoring past them and celebrating like a man possessed.
And it’s this dual persona – levelheaded professional combined with multi-talented competitor –that makes the Colombian one of the world’s best young strikers.
The 23-year-old – who was named after the Brazilian midfielder by his dad – probably would have been playing in Europe sooner if hadn’t been for one of the worst Rover Plate sides of all time. Under the guidance of manager Diego Simeone, he only won one title and was sacrificed as right-winger.
Yet he never complained. With the strength of a raging bull, Falcao is a bundle of fearless energy, never pulling out of a 50-50 challenge, even if he knows winning the ball will cost a couple of teeth. For him, winning is everything.
This means that on top of being an incisive forward, he is the team’s first defender.
"You can call me Superbock..."
Signed to replace Lisandro Lopez at the Estadio do Dragao, he’s taken no time to settle, scoring more than a goal every other game during the first half of the season.
Expect the young gunslinger to fire Porto, as well as the Colombian national team, to bigger and better things.
Talentspotter ratings:Heading - 9Crossing - 6Tackling - 8Creativity - 5Passing - 6Work-rate - 10Pace - 7Shooting - 9Dribbling – 5Overall – 8
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