EL RENACER DE FALCAO GARCÍA

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22 de Enero de 2014, Stade de Gerland, Lyon, Francia. Radamel Falcao García se preparaba para los que serían los meses más emocionantes de su vida. Tras más de 20 años sin asistir a la cita Orbital, la selección colombiana de fútbol, de la mano del oriundo de Santa Marta, se preparaba para volver a un Mundial de Fútbol. Absolutamente nadie en Colombia o en el mundo del fútbol, se habría imaginado lo que estaba a punto de ocurrir.

Al minuto 29 el “Tigre” anotaba el primero de su equipo para darle la ventaja al Mónaco ante el modesto Monts d’Or Azergues Foot. Un día más en la oficina para uno de los mejores “nueve” del mundo. Con cada minuto en la cancha, desde que había llegado a Francia, el delantero se había encargado de cerrar la boca a quienes habían criticado su llegada al Principado. Aquellos mismos que habían criticado su traspaso de River a Porto y de ahí al Atletico Madrid. Diez minutos después de anotar, García Zárate recibía un balón al borde del área. Su instinto matador lo hizo girar y encarar, buscaba el ángulo para rematar. Estaba “dulce” para el gol y lo sabía. El balón iba su lado, no lo tocaba, el jugador lo veía y, como si tuviera vida propia, el balón sabía qué hacer: debía rodar a la par del goleador. La varita mágica que tenía en su pierna derecha se preparaba para sacar un conejo de la galera… Lo que ocurrió después, todos lo sabemos.

La recuperación empezó tan pronto como fue posible. Los mejores médicos y tecnología de punta estaban al servicio del samario. El objetivo: Brasil 2014. El resultado: Imposible. Aunque el delantero fue convocado por el DT argentino Jose Néstor Pekerman para integrar la nómina previa al mundial, su recuperación no se logró al 100%. Desde lo físico no estaba a tope y en lo futbolístico estaba lejos de ser el delantero que hacía soñar a sus compatriotas con una actuación histórica en el mundial. La selección, sin Falcao, fue al Mundial y llegó a cuartos de final. James Rodríguez, compañero de Radamel en el Mónaco, tomaría el lugar que era para el Tigre en la plantilla del Real Madrid. El delantero continuaba con su recuperación.

3 de Agosto de 2014, Emirates Stadium, Londres, Inglaterra. ¡Llamen a los servicios de seguridad! ¡Un tigre anda suelto, con mucha hambre y ganas de demostrar que sigue siendo uno de los mejores! Se disputaba una edición más de la Emirates Cup y era el momento ideal para que Falcao volviera a frotar la lámpara. El felino estaba en su hábitat –el corazón del área-, el tiro libre se ejecutaba desde la izquierda del área Gunner y como no podía ser de otra manera, Falcao la mandó al fondo de la red. ¡Volvió el Tigre! La euforia se apoderó de los fanáticos alrededor del mundo. La pelota sonreía porque uno de los que mejor sabía usarla estaba de regreso. Era solo cuestión de tiempo para que la forma física volviera a ser la de antes, la confianza del tigre estaba intacta y su fútbol, ni se diga. Pero el delantero no era del todo feliz. La avalancha de emociones positivas que sentía por estar de nuevo en las canchas anotando goles, se contrastaba con la desilusión de las promesas rotas. El gran proyecto económico y futbolístico que le habían planteado cuando fue a Mónaco no era tal, y Falcao quería más. Parecía que el Tigre estaba de regreso y su nombre y profesionalismo, más que su presente, lo llevaron a la cuna del fútbol. Primero al Manchester United; el proyecto de Louis van Gaal recién empezaba y tras su destacada participación como DT de la selección holandesa en Brasil 2014, parecía que era el lugar ideal para que el ariete volviera a ser el de antes. Cuatro goles en 29 partidos (17 como titular) fue el saldo del primer año de Falcao en Inglaterra.

El presente de los Red Devils no era el mejor. En un equipo con Di María, Van Persie, Rooney y Falcao, los Mancunianos no pudieron imponer condiciones en ataque y sufriendo de más a penas lograron clasificarse a fase previa de la Champions League. El United y Radamel tomarían rumbos separados al final de esa temporada. La temporada 2015/16 se presentaba con una nueva oportunidad para el colombiano quien se mudaría de la lluviosa ciudad de Manchester a la encopetada ciudad de Londres. Chelsea el destino elegido. José Mourinho, el Chelsea y el delantero habían coqueteado durante varias temporadas pero nunca habían coincidido. 12 partidos, un gol y un par de lesiones después, parecía que estas esperanzas del delantero en Europa finalizaban junto con la temporada. La MLS, el fútbol chino, River Plate y hasta Millonarios en su país natal sonaban como los posibles destinos para la temporada 2016/17. Ni el Manchester United ni el Chelsea pudieron ofrecerle al delantero las herramientas necesarias para sentirse cómodo y sin presión para hacer su trabajo. Los dirigidos por Van Gaal nunca materializaron las ilusiones de “una de las mejores delanteras del mundo” y los de Mourinho pasaron de campeones defensores a pelear en la parte media de la tabla, lo que terminaría con la destitución del DT portugués a mitad de temporada y con esa destitución las posibilidades del delantero de hacerse con un puesto en el primer equipo “Blue”. El periplo por Inglaterra no solo significó un paso atrás en la carrera del delantero por no poder estar a la altura de las expectativas, ni él ni los equipos en los que estuvo. Y la selección no podía ser ajena al presente del jugador. José Pekerman decidió confiar en la capacidad del atacante, especialmente durante la primera parte de su estancia en Manchester, pero en la medida que pasaban los meses y los partidos, Falcao era cada vez menos tenido en cuenta y terminó por ser excluido de la selección.

Más allá de la incapacidad para demostrar su grandeza, por el motivo que fuera, y fiel a su instinto felino, el samario no estaba dispuesto a darse por vencido y, decidió jugarse su última carta Europea en Mónaco, el club que en su momento apostó fuerte por él. Con una gran temporada en la que fue capitán del equipo, los de principado lograron lo que parecía imposible: quedarse con el título de Ligue 1 por encima del Paris Saint-Germain. Ya afianzado nuevamente en la elite, Falcao lucha por tener revancha y jugar el Mundial de Rusia 2018. El Tigre ha vuelto: resurgió de las cenizas como el famoso Ave Fénix.

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