Colombia-born soccer striker Radamel Falcao starred in Argentina before becoming a top goal scorer for Portugal’s F.C. Porto and Spain’s Atlético Madrid.
Born on February 10, 1986, in Santa Marta, Colombia, Radamel Falcao began his soccer career in Colombia at age 13. He continued his development with Argentina's Club Atlético River Plate, overcoming a serious knee injury to become a top scorer. Falcao later earned renown for his performances with F.C. Porto in Portugal and Atlético Madrid in Spain, finishing fifth in the Ballon d'Or voting in 2012.
Early Years and Career
Radamel Falcao García Zárate was born on February 10, 1986, in Santa Marta, Colombia, the son of former pro soccer player Radamel García Sr. After a tryout with Amsterdam's AFC Ajax at age 11, the talented youngster made his debut with Colombian second-tier club Lanceros Boyacá as a 13-year-old. He joined the youth system of Club Atlético River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at age 15, where his tenacity earned him the nickname "El Tigre" ("The Tiger") from teammates.
Named to River Plate's senior team in 2005, Falcao began the 2005-06 season with seven goals in as many games. But the young striker tore an anterior cruciate ligament that November, a devastating injury that knocked him out of action for almost a year.
Finally back to full health in 2007, Falcao displayed the goal-scoring wizardry that had surfaced before his injury. Despite standing a modest 5'10", the striker excelled at rising above defenders on corner kicks. He scored a total of 45 goals in just over 100 games for River Plate, his play helping the club win the Argentine first division in 2008.
Signed by Portuguese powerhouse F.C. Porto in 2009, Falcao proved he belonged in the European big leagues by finishing just short of the scoring title and leading Porto to a Portuguese Super Cup victory. He was even more impressive the following year, setting a UEFA Europa League record with 17 goals en route to a career-high 38, as Porto went on to claim league and Super Cup titles.
Falcao transferred in 2011 to Spain's Atlético Madrid, where he continued his dizzying scoring pace. He enjoyed UEFA Europa League and Super Cup championships with Atlético Madrid and finished fifth in the Ballon d'Or voting in 2012, though the highlight of his tenure came with a victory over Real Madrid in the May 2013 Copa del Rey final.
Shortly after the Copa del Rey success, Falcao transferred to AS Monaco FC in France's Ligue 1. It was an unsettling summer for the star striker, who faced rumors about an early departure from Monaco and reports indicating he was two years older than his listed age, but he remained hopeful of letting his play do the talking once his career resumed in France.