Silvano Espindola, the man responsible for bringing Radamel Falcao to River Plate and credited as being ‘El Tigre’s’ mentor as the player’s first agent, has revealed that the Manchester United striker has lost confidence in his game and is very unhappy under Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford.
In an interview with AS Colombia, Espindola admitted that he has spoken to Falcao on many occasions over the past several days and they have both cried over his current situation and loss of form at United.
“We talk a lot. I’m not going to say that he feels happy because he’s not. We’ve spoken many times and cried together. It’s not an easy situation because every player wants to play and every goal-scorer wants to score goals, that’s normal. But, at the moment, he isn’t scoring and that’s part of his football. He’s recovering his best form. When we spoke, I told him that this happens to every striker, that he’ll get over this poor run, and has happened to every great striker. When you don’t score, you’re going to begin to feel the pressure.”
Espindola states that Falcao has overcome his physical injury that cost him the end of the 2013-14 season at Monaco and a World Cup appearance, but has yet to find his playing rhythm, which is difficult when he doesn’t play consistently.
“The injury is in the past. The problem stems from the intensity in his game, and he hasn’t hit his maximum level yet. He needs to rediscover this intensity. Because it’s not that he’s scared about reinjuring himself, it’s the lack of rhythm.”
Falcao’s critics feel that the Colombian star’s best days are behind him and that he hasn’t hit the form that made him such a coveted striker at Atletico Madrid, but Espindola doesn’t subscribe to that notion and feels that very soon he’ll overcome his woes and it will come by scoring goals.
“When he scores again, everyone will start saying, “El Tigre is back”, but ‘El Tigre’ never left. It’s odd because he’s never gone through something like this before, a poor run of form like this. It’s a very new situation for him and it all depends on when he scores again. This is what we need, that he starts scoring again.”
Espindola then spoke about Falcao’s stint playing with the Manchester United U-21 side and the fact that he didn’t finish the game, only playing 70 minutes.
“When he was on his way to the ground to play this game with the reserves, he called me. We spoke for 20 minutes until he reached the stadium and he told me, “I’ve never been through something like this, I don’t know how to deal with this situation. It feels weird for me!” In addition, he also felt a little nervous because he was afraid of playing games against these players and the second division and the third division. At these levels, they’re used to hard tackles and fouls. That’s how he got injured in France, with a team from the fourth division.
“Only played 70 minutes? I want to clarify the belief that Falcao should’ve known about this. Before it, Van Gaal should’ve said: ‘You’re going to play for 70 minutes with the U-21s, that’s all’. If the Dutchman had clarified this, the fans wouldn’t have started to believe that his level was so bad that he couldn’t even finish a game against the youth players. But Falcao isn’t going to say anything about this, because he doesn’t want stir up trouble with Van Gaal. And that’s admirable. He doesn’t want to create drama, he wants to work hard and wait for his time to come.”
On the topic of Van Gaal, Espindola went on to speak about Falcao's relationship with the Dutchman, amid rumours that tensions are strained between the two.
"He's never said anything. Like I said, he's sad, that I can't deny. For me, what surprised me the most is his professionalism. I've known him since he was a boy and he never stops surprising me. My job is to motivate him and support him. Assure him that everything's going to be ok and I always tell him. Take advantage of the minutes they're giving you to show how great of a player you really are! He never complains, he holds no grudges. He always has the same attitude. I assure you that he's going through a difficult moment in his life, but he's still training every day like nothing ever happened. If they give him 10 minutes at the end of the game, he does the best he possibly can. He's put on a clinic in professionalism at Manchester United.
"My opinion of Van Gaal? Van Gaal doesn't have much tact when it comes to this side of football. I'm led to believe that because it's not just Falcao in this situation, but a lot of players. He's a manager that kills confidence, he destroys it. It's happened to many great players who were playing at a very high level and with Van Gaal, they became less. Something he does takes away the confidence of these players."
Espindola went on to conclude that, in hindsight, it may have been a mistake to join Manchester United but it's very difficult to determine that when he agreed to move to Old Trafford, but does believe that he may make another switch in the summer, hinting at a possible move to Real Madrid.
"A lot of journalists have said: 'Falcao made a mistake. If he hadn't gone to Manchester United he would've been in the quarterfinals of the Champions League with Monaco'. It's easy to say that six months later! At the moment, he had to decide about going to Manchester United, he had to leave. This was the best option for him, without a doubt. I know in his heart that 'Falqui' has a great desire to play in the Champions League next season and doesn't know if Manchester United will qualify. This is his dream and he'll decide at the end of the season, but that's a long way off.
"He's very reserved when speaking about his future. We have yet to speak about an offer because he prefers to focus on recovering his best form at Manchester. Every day you read that this team wants him, that he wants another, but they're all just rumours. Sometimes the owners pay the media for them to say that they're players are wanted all over Europe. There's always been one club that's always been following him, I'm not going to say which, but it's a club that is still awaiting news on his situation. But at this moment, it's all just rumours."