Atletico Madrid fans must be relieved now that their star striker Radamel Falcao has pledged his future to the side from the Spanish capital.
But, in this era, you can’t count too much on professional footballers pledging their future to their teams for only to move on soon after.
When they move on, some claim it was for the best of their careers in terms of winning trophies and (earning an extra quid), while others, for instance Andy Carroll (Newcastle United to Liverpool) can go as far as claiming they’ve been forced out by their clubs because the offer was ‘too good to turn down.”
Falcao made the pledge this week in a bid to quell speculation about a move away from Madrid’s second biggest club following claims by his father last month that his son’s dream was to play for city rivals Real Madrid.
Other clubs including the two Premier League big spenders Manchester City and Chelsea have been credited with interest in the former FC Porto front-man, who has netted seven goals in just six games league matches this season.
“Yes, I thought about the possibility of leaving when the club said that it would be difficult to continue if it did not get into the Champions League. The future was uncertain because of finances but the team made a big push and almost all the squad stayed,” he told Spanish sports daily Marca.
He added, “That’s something that shows how well Atletico is being managed. I’m under contract for a few more years, my reality is Atletico and I can’t think about anything else”.
And going by the trend most current players, Falcao’s pledge sounds more like, ‘hey I’m an Atletico Madrid player currently, but if an offer comes around I will probably make the move’.
Atletico Madrid are a club in financial troubles and you would assume that when a great offer came for their star player, it would take the board little time to make up their mind on what they prefer most, money or retaining a player, who would wish to play for a bigger club with bigger ambitions.
The reality is that Atletico don’t have a choice if Chelsea or PSG or Russian side Makhachkala (of Eto’o) come in with an offer of over £35 million in January.
The Spanish side has already been denied their Europa League prize money and the money for participating in the competition this year because they have defaulted on their scheduled payments to Porto over, coincidentally, Falcao’s transfer last year, and the club is in massive debt.
So should any club around Europe want him and put in an acceptable bid, it’s hard to see them not accepting it, as we’ve seen with both Fornando Torres (reported £25 million to Liverpool) and Sergio Aguero (reported £38m to Manchester City).
However, if they get the Champions League this season (which they probably will) it gives them enough money to pay of their yearly amount of debt meaning they can keep their key players.
If they don’t qualify for Europe’s lucrative competition, that is when they need to sell, that’s when the odds of Falaco staying after this season will fall from slim to nil.
Chelsea is most likely the next stop for the former River Plate striker, who netted a beautiful hat trick in the European Super Cup in August in-front of the Blues owner Roman Abramovich.
With only as a recognised striker Fernando Torres, the European champions cannot achieve their ambitions, and if or when they get Falcao, Di Mateo’s team will be unstoppable.
Falcao, 26, has scored an astonishing 115 goals in just three years in European football. Atletico paid £32million to sign him from Porto only last summer
He’s La Liga’s top scorer with 7 goals, one better than Messi and Ronaldo, who come head-to-head on Sunday in the second El Clasico of the season at Nou Camp after their first meet in the Spanish Super Cup last month which Real Madrid won.