The other Falcao who has conquered the world once again

Brazil have become FIFA World Futsal Champions once again and it may be the final time we see the legendary 'Pele of Futsal' play at such a level. Falcao has wowed Futsal audiences for years but after scoring his 339th goal for Brazil in the final the legendary winger may not play at the next World Cup in four years time. Here is a quick look at his marvellous career.

Of course at the moment there is a man who goes by the name of Falcao causing waves in the world of association football. The Atletico Madrid and Colombia striker has been linked with nearly every club who have the financial means to accommodate his precocious talents.

While he is emerging as the leading light in the game another man; namesake of the Colombian striker is starting to edge toward the end of his career.

‘Falcao’ or Alessandro Rosa Vieira has been one of the leading lights in the short format cousin of the beautiful game known as Futsal. A sport of little recognition in recent years it has been thrown into the spotlight as many of the world’s most technically gifted players from countries such as Brazil, Spain and Portugal are known former participants in the sport. Played indoors with two teams of five the game is not a direct replica of the 5-a-side matches you encounter across our country where Futsal is still primitive in its maturity. Instead a harder and smaller ball is used in a small hard court with narrow but high goals. All these factors allow for the main attributes of technique, ball control, passing and creativity to come to the fore. Previous players of the game include Robinho, Deco, Ronaldinho and even the world’s best Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both played this magnificent game.

"In Argentina, when I was a young boy, I used to play a lot of Futsal on the street and with Newell's Old Boys. It was a really fun game that's helped me a great deal."

- Lionel Messi

"In Portugal, all we played growing up was Futsal. The smaller court helped my footwork skills, the nature of the game made me feel so free when I played. If it wasn't for Futsal, I would definitely not be the player I am today."

- Cristiano Ronaldo

Falcao is somewhat of a stalwart of the game and is admittedly the player who got me into watching it whenever I could owing to its poor coverage in the UK. He started his career with football club Corinthians and that was not his only foray into the association game with stints at Sao Paolo in 2000 and 2005 being unsuccessful. When it comes to Futsal however he is nothing but a success. Last season he helped Santos win the Futsal title in Brazil adding to his already hefty collection accumulated while at heavyweights Malwee/Jaragua. Unfortunately both clubs have since dissolved due to financial problems, a growing problem in the professional Futsal game.

For the Brazilian national Futsal team Falcao has played 201 games and scored 339 goals and helped them to winning the FIFA Futsal World Cup on two occasions in 2008 and again this weekend against Spain in the final of the latest Futsal World Cup in Thailand. Falcao scored an important equalising goal in the final before Neto, the star of the tournament, sealed victory for Brazil.

It now appears he may step aside and allow room for this next generation of Brazilian Futsal stars make the grade. At 35-years-old his fourth appearance at the FIFA Futsal World Cup may indeed be his last, but he leaves a lasting legacy on the sport that has created many kings of its more illustrious cousin.

Here are some videos of the ‘Pele of Futsal’…

This was after the win against Spain in 2008

Here he is scoring the last goal in a remarkable comeback against Argentina in the quarter finals of this year’s World Cup…

And here is a collection of his best moments…

image: © senadorcolombo

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