Falcao is back in LaLiga Santander eight years after leaving Atletico de Madrid, this time with Rayo Vallecano. The Colombian superstar has started with a bang too, proving that quality is truly permanent.
1. Falcao kicked off his second spell in LaLiga and career at Rayo Vallecano in tremendous form. The Colombian is just the third player in Rayo history to score in his first two LaLiga Santander games for the club in the 21st century. The first was Moises Arteaga in 2001, the second a certain Diego Costa in 2012.
2. His chosen squad number at Rayo (3) is an odd one for a striker, but one filled with personal importance. It was the number his father Radamel Garcia, a centre-back, wore during his career and is a tribute to the man who died in 2019.
3. In fact, his name is another tribute. His parents named him Radamel Falcao in tribute to former Brazil midfielder Paulo Roberto Falcao, widely considered one of the greatest Brazilians of all time and a long-time legend at both Internacional and AS Roma.
4. Falcao is known as ‘The Tiger’ thanks to a popular sports TV show back in Colombia, ‘El Tigre de Esso,’ ‘The Esso Tiger.’ During the early days of his career, River Plate teammate Gonzalo Ludeña – who is still a close friend – gave him the nickname which has stuck ever since.
5. Falcao may be a footballing superstar, but he’s a huge fan of another sport too: baseball. He lived in Venezuela, where his father played professional football, between the ages of 5 and 10 and developed a love for the country’s most popular sport.
In fact, in an interview with France Football back in 2019 he expressed his desire to play the sport once he retired from football: “I love baseball. When I was little, in Venezuela, where I grew up, it was the sport I practiced, at a very good level… I often talk about it with my wife. I think when I finish my football career, I’ll start one as a professional baseball player.”
What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Asensio’s hat-trick to Ansu Fati’s long-awaited return.
Here’s all you need to know from a busy week in LaLiga which included back-to-back midweek and weekend matchdays.
Ansu Fati’s triumphant return
Barcelona’s 18-year-old superstar Ansu Fati hadn’t played since last November due to a knee injury, but the young forward was able to return to action on Sunday against Levante. The Barça fans at the Camp Nou were thrilled to see him back on the pitch, 323 days after his last appearance – and he even scored the third goal of his side’s 3-0 victory to earn a standing ovation.
La Real overcome the injuries
Despite missing 10 players due to injuries, Real Sociedad stayed strong and were up to the challenge, beating Elche 1-0 on Sunday. The Basque side have now taken 16 points from their first seven matches of the LaLiga Santander season, propelling them up to second place, behind only Real Madrid.
Three in three for Falcao
Radamel Falcao has had the perfect start to his Rayo Vallecano career. After scoring on his debut against Getafe, the Colombian centre-forward then netted a stoppage time winner in a 2-1 midweek victory at Athletic Club, before producing the go-ahead goal as Rayo overcame Cádiz 3-1 on Sunday. The newly promoted side are now up to fifth in the table – their best ever start to a top flight season.
Benzema hits 200
Real Madrid enjoyed a big midweek victory, defeating RCD Mallorca 6-1 – but that wasn’t the only cause to celebrate. Karim Benzema hit a milestone during the win: his 200th LaLiga Santander goal. The Frenchman is just the 10th player to ever hit that number.
Asensio’s hometown hat-trick
Real Madrid’s midweek victory over RCD Mallorca was also special for Marco Asensio. He celebrated his return to the starting line-up against his boyhood club with the first hat-trick of his Real Madrid career – which was also the first three-goal haul for any player this LaLiga Santander season.
Alavés’ first win comes against the champions
After failing to pick up a point across their first five matches of the season, Alavés finally tasted victory this weekend, against current champions Atlético de Madrid no less. A 1-0 win over the Rojiblancos meant Alavés were finally able to put some points on the board and to do so in impressive fashion.
Iñaki Williams matches Larrañaga’s record
This weekend Iñaki Williams matched the record the most consecutive matches played in LaLiga Santander history. It’s now an incredible 202 in a row for the Basque forward, who drew level with Juan Antonio Larrañaga’s record. Williams hasn’t missed a match since April 2016, an absolutely remarkable run, and will this coming weekend break the historic record.
Some good news for Getafe
With Getafe yet to pick up a point, it hasn’t been a good start to the season for the Azulones. However, there was some good news this week as Jakub Jankto’s injury isn’t as bad as it first seemed. The Czech winger had to be stretchered off during their clash against Atlético de Madrid in midweek and it appeared he may have suffered a leg break. Thankfully, that isn’t the case and Jankto’s injury is a sprained ankle, meaning he can return in just a few weeks.
Support for La Palma from across LaLiga
The Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption in La Palma has wreaked havoc on the Canarian island and has been a huge news story in Spain and across much of Europe over the past week. LaLiga, as well as its clubs and players, have expressed support for all those affected, Tenerife’s players have taken to the pitch with a message of ‘We are La Palma’ on their shirts, while other teams joined together behind a banner of ‘Strength and support for La Palma’ before kick-off in their fixtures.
ElClasico: it’s set
The date and time of the first ElClasico clash of the season has been set. FC Barcelona will host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday October 24th, with the biggest club match in the world kicking off at 4.15pm CEST.