17 July, 2008

Obscure South American of the Week Catorce

Name – Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate

Affiliation – River Plate

Reason for Coolness – He looks a lot like a pirate and his nickname is El Tigre. That’s Spanish for The Tiger!

Reason for Obscurity – Unless you’re a murderous drug dealer with aspirations of pulling the strings behind a puppet government intent on draining your homeland of all profitable resources that aren’t nailed down, Columbians in general tend to fly pretty much under the radar.

Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate, known simply as Falcao to his friends, is without doubt one of the most talented players to have emerged from South America in recent years, and it seems to be just a matter of time before the prolific striker joins one of Europe's big guns.

The 22-year-old Colombian international has attracted interest from arch-rivals Real Madrid and Manchester United this closed season, a fact which his agent Nestor Sivori is obviously not eager to play down. Reports from Argentina also indicate that a move to one of these clubs could be on the cards, with the player himself even admitting recently that he may have already played his final match for River Plate.

Falcao is a dynamic striker noted for his strong burst of pace and ability to finish with both feet. His father, Radamel García, also played professionally, as a defender in Colombia, and the Falcao name is actually taken from the 1980s Brazil and Roma legend Paulo Roberto Falcao.

The ace forward was one of River's key players in their recent Clausura Championship title triumph last season, netting several crucial goals throughout the campaign. Based on his performances in 2007, Falcao was voted a member of the prestigious ‘XI of America’ in the annual survey of South American sports journalists, while on an individual level, he also came fifth in overall voting for South American Player of the Year. In total he has bagged 38 goals in 58 appearances for River Plate and at an international level he has played 15 times with 9 goals to his name.

Finally, a pointless unrelated side-fact is that, like many other famous South American stars, Falcao is a devout Catholic and leader of two church youth groups: ‘Locos Por Jesus’ and ‘Atletas de Cristo.’ Enough of that though, check here to see a handy compilation of all his 2007 goals; there are some seriously sweet ones in here so don’t miss out:

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