“Falcao Has Made Clever Decisions”
“Falcao Has Made Clever Decisions”
On February 10th, one of the greatest worldwide soccer stars Radamel Falcao, celebrated his 29th birthday. PanamericanWorld has exclusively interviewed the Tiger’s friend, adviser and main support: his father Radamel Garcia, who shares confidences, the same competitive soccer approach and an uncontrollable wish to grow and be better. Now that Radamel’s career has taken a new turn with Van Gaal’s Manchester United, Radamel senior talks to PanamericanWorld about his son’s career, the milestones that have backed up his legend, the uneasiness due to his serious injure and the willpower to go beyond setbacks and stand among the elite.
His Talent and Love for Soccer
Since his very first steps, even in the cradle, I gave him different balls – soccer, baseball, basketball – and I realized that he liked playing with them. A friend of mine, who was an indoor soccer coach, told me once: “Rada, look at the way your son easily goes upstairs and downstairs”. He had an amazing coordination when he was only 2 or 3 years old, and my friend said: “Your son is going to play because his movements are pretty-well coordinated.”
His Beginning in the Soccer Realm
I used to play soccer in Colombia and he was always there with me, hidden in the area of reserve players. When the first half was over, he used to come running, hold my hands and tell: “Dad, dad attack so you can score goals, attack because you always stay behind and never attack”. In Venezuela he started playing in junior category in the different teams I was playing with.
His Relation with Baseball
Falcao had never played baseball. One day he took a baseball glove, but he didn’t know how to catch the ball. He was pitched a ball and he couldn’t catch it, so the ball hit his nose, he began bleeding and the other kids laughed at him. That night, when I got home he was waiting for me and told me: Dad, I want to learn how to play baseball”; so I bought the necessary items and I started teaching him. Then he said: “I want to play with a team”, I talked to a coach and he told me to send Radamel. Afterwards, he told me: “Radamel is a very good player, he is really fast and that’s good”. So he joined the team, playing soccer in the mornings of weekends and baseball in the afternoons, or vice versa.
His Return to Colombia
I wanted Falcao to play in Santa Fe, because I played in Santa Fe, but the training field was way too far, near Fontibón, and his mother used to take him, she got loss several times and then she never took him again. I suggested taking him to Millonarios, which was closer, but he was never invited to play, they used to call him in the last minutes and there was sun, cold, rain... So his mother decided to stop taking him. That was when I returned to Venezuela organized a fine team with Alvaro Poveda. One day, Silvano told me that he needed one goalkeeper and two forwards to play in Argentina. I gave him Falcao and he didn’t think he was a good player, but he took him. When they came back from Buenos Aires he asked me to leave my son with his team. I agreed, but I told him that Falcao was my player.
The Velez Sarsfield Test
He first played in Velez and stayed there, but they called me from Buenos Aires and told me that he had to give away 90 per cent of the pass and I said no, if that was the condition he would come back to me and play in Santa Fe, Millonarios or Nacional, as all the teams were waiting for him.
River Plate: The Beginning of Success
I always wanted him to be a soccer player, to follow my lead, to have fun playing soccer and thanks God my dream came true. When he was leaving to Buenos Aires, I asked him if he was sure and he wouldn’t get bored, he said: “No, Dad, relax. That was the opportunity I was waiting for and I have to take it, that’s what I want”. He traveled and he was happy, made friends and adapted.
Porto: The Gateway to Europe
He was looking forward to making incursions into the European soccer. Most of the players are entering through Portugal and I believe that was the best choice. It was very useful, he did it great, and it was a clever move. Falcao won everything in Porto: four cups, UEFA, he was the top scorer.
Atletico: Arriving in Madrid
The fact that you miss one Copa Libertadores or one Champions is not serious; people are not going to die because of that. The thing is that there are people that turn everything into a soap opera and try to get a piece of news, but you have to think about yourself, your future, when you retire; you always have to think about yourself because when you are down nobody is going to think about you, that’s soccer. With Atletico he nearly won everything, but the League, but he was an UEFA champion, UEFA top scorer, champion of Europe’s Super cup, top scorer in that unforgettable final, he won Copa del Rey…
Monaco: An Unexpected Team
All decisions are correct, because each human being has a way of thinking; you only have to think about yourself. There are people that criticize everybody because they don’t have problems. Then, when you are going to make real money, they say that you changed money for soccer. When a soccer player goes to the butcher’s shop he doesn’t say that he has scored a thousand goals, but the point is that he is shy of money.
I believe that God has always stood by him because he has faced hard situations and has gotten over adversities. Perhaps the one up there does things to see how he acts, but thank God he has always recovered his pace and the things he has lost have been multiplied. He has missed two world cups: both junior and senior. I know that God holds great things in store for him, but that helps him see how life is, identify his true friends, since there are many people around you when you have money, but when you are down you realize who is sincere.
The World Cup Pressure
Everybody wanted him to go and he was very excited, he was fighting, training three times a day. He was suffering, eager to go and I was helping him and encouraging him. I followed him until one day when we sat down and I told him “You think that you’re going to play, but this is what I believe: you have to think about yourself because, if anything goes wrong, nobody is going to think about you. When something happens the people wash their hands, turn their back on you, soccer is a reality.”
No to Real Madrid
The Real Madrid executives decided to do another thing, they chose not to take this option, and they have the money, they make the calls and decide who to buy or not. That’s what happened.
Present Day with Manchester United
It’s a great team, one of the best teams on the face of Earth. There were other three of four teams, but United was the finest choice. I believe it was the right decision. I spent a month here, I watched five games and the experience was excellent.
I don’t want to talk about this because I’m a coach too, the decisions made by head coaches are to be respected, they are in charge, and they have to make decisions for thirty billion people. I don’t question that because that’s a very hard task.
The Piece of Advice
Life is not easy; I’ve always told him that he has to fight to get what he wants. There are two ways: the short one and the long one. When you get things easy, they don’t last longer, but when you fight to achieve things with your sweating forehead, then you value your things.
When he underwent the first surgery I told him: “This has happened for you to take your soccer career seriously, you have to be a good human being, good friend, good partner, respect fans even if they shout at you, respect journalists...