Colombia v Peru Preview: Falcao out to silence his critics

The Chelsea striker will be determined to prove his worth when lining up for his team in this week’s 2018 World Cup qualification opener

Radamel Falcao will be looking to silence his critics when Colombia host Peru in their 2018 World Cup qualification opener on Thursday.

The Chelsea striker was his country’s undisputed star man not too long ago, but he has been struggling to find his best form since returning from the serious knee injury that kept him out of the 2014 World Cup.

Falcao was reinstated to the Colombia starting XI for the Copa America in Chile in June and July, but failed to make much of an impact and was criticised for his underwhelming performances.

However, with Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez unavailable due to injury, all eyes will be on Falcao once more and goalkeeper David Ospina is adamant that the national team still believe in their one-time talisman. 

“We know the quality of Falcao,” he said. “We are calm. 

“We must respect the work of Peru. They are excellent players with a mix of experience and youth. They have important players in their respective teams.

“They are strong defensively, have a great goalkeeper, great forwards and are a very compact team.”

Colombia will be heading into this week’s encounter as the favourites, but they will be all too aware that Peru are no pushovers following their 1-1 friendly draw in September.

Jose Pekerman’s men still have plenty of reason for optimism. They have not lost in their past four matches against Peru, winning two and drawing two.

Peru, meanwhile, will draw strength from both last month’s draw against Colombia, as well as from their impressive performances at the Copa America.

Ricardo Gareca’s men made it to the semi-finals in Chile, only to be narrowly beaten by the hosts.

Attacker Paolo Guerrero was one of the stars of the tournament with four goals and he will be determined to add to his tally against Colombia, needing only two more to leapfrog Teofilo Cubillas as Peru’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Nevertheless, Peru face an uphill task to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. They last made it to the finals in 1982, when they were eliminated at the group stages.

The Peruvians had to settle for seventh place in the table in their last attempt to qualify for a World Cup, collecting just 15 points from 16 games.

Falcao confident of Chelsea turnaround

The on-loan Blues forward praised the quality in the Stamford Bridge squad and remained determine to overcome their bad start

Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao is confident his team can turn their awful start to the Premier League season around.

Jose Mourinho’s men have won just two of their opening eight league games to sit 16th in the table, with their latest defeat a 3-1 loss at home to Southampton.

Falcao, who is on loan at Chelsea from Monaco, has only started once in the league this season, with six appearances off the bench.

But the 29-year-old believes Mourinho’s side can bounce back to winning ways after the international break.

“I’m OK. Growing up, every day I feel better,” Colombian international Falcao said on Monday.

“If the results are not the best in Chelsea, we have the capacity to reverse the situation.”

Despite his lack of game time, Falcao will lead Colombia into their World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay.

Goalkeeper and international team-mate David Ospina said he had no doubts over Falcao’s form.

“We know the quality of Falcao,” he said. ”We are calm.”

As for his side’s clash against Peru on Thursday, Ospina said Colombia were wary.

“We must respect the work of Peru. They are excellent players with a mix of experience and youth. They have important players in their respective teams,” he said.

“They are strong defensively, and have a great goalkeeper with great forwards and are a very compact team.”

Falcao invites Maradona to Stamford Bridge

The legendary Argentine watched on a private box as the striker and his Chelsea team-mates toiled to a 3-1 home loss to Southampton, with the Rugby World Cup next on his itinerary


Radamel Falcao invited Diego Maradona to Stamford Brdige on Saturday as Chelsea lost 3-1 at home to Southampton, with the striker again failing to impress in attack.

The legendary Argentine posted a picture of himself in a private box as part of an action-packed weekend of sport in England, with Argentina’s Rugby World Cup clash against Tonga coming on Sunday.

Despite the result, Maradona posted congratulations to Ronald Koeman’s team and will be hoping for a more positive result after 80 minutes at the Leicester City Stadium after friend Falcao struggled for 90 minutes.

Costa is aggressive in a good way, says Remy

The Spain international will sit out the Blues’ clash with Newcastle on Saturday due to suspension but his team-mate insists his temperament is not a problem

Chelsea forward Loic Remy says Diego Costa is “aggressive in a good way” and says he relishes playing alongside the Spain international.

Costa was hit with a three-game ban by the Football Association for striking Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny during the Premier League champions’ 2-0 win last weekend.

But Remy – who is vying to start Chelsea’s meeting with Newcastle on Saturday in place of his suspended team-mate – says Costa’s aggressive streak is a positive aspect of his game.

“Diego is really a good finisher,” Remy told Sky Sports. “He is a bit aggressive in a good way.

“[Radamel] Falcao as well, technically with the ball is really good. He can keep the ball.

“Me, I am more of a runner. We have different characteristics and that is good because the manager has the choice to manage the way he wants.”

The former QPR striker says he learns from training alongside Costa on a daily basis and claims he has a very different nature away from the pitch.

“Diego is the kind of player who can switch on during the game and that’s a good thing because outside the pitch, he is such a funny guy and joking all the time,” Remy continued.

“He is a different person on the pitch, but I think he is really passionate and that’s why he is like this. He never gives up and I think he is a very talented player.

“Off the pitch and in the dressing room, he is always doing cheeky things everywhere. For me, I am really happy and pleased to play with this kind of player.

“You learn a lot next to him. He is a striker, as I am, so I try to take an example from him and from Falcao as well.”

Jorge Mendes beaten to top spot in Forbes' list of richest agents

The representative of Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria has been named second in Forbes’ list behind Major League Baseball’s agent Scott Boras

Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has been placed second in Forbes’ list of richest agents.

Forbes estimate that the 49-year-old, who also represents Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and James Rodriguez has earned $95.6 million (£62.7m) in commissions, while his agency Gestifute has negotiated contracts worth a combined total of $956.4m (£627.7m).

But those figures are beaten by Scott Boras, who has earned $117.1m (£76.8m) in commission from his contract negotiations in Major League Baseball and tops Forbes’ current list.

Boras’ company represent the likes of Texas Rangers’ Prince Fielder and New York Yankees centre-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and hold around $2.3 billion in active player contracts.

Third in Forbes’ list is Tom Condon, who is considered the most powerful agent in the NFL.

Gareth Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, comes in at number four on the list. Barnett, who also represents Luke Shaw and Joe Hart, has earned around $44m (£28.8m) in commission, according to Forbes.

German football agent Volker Struth, whose notable clients include Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos and Marco Reus, is fifth in the list.