Columbian superstar Radamel Falcao has been ruled out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup after failing to recover from a serious knee injury that he suffered earlier this year.
Falcao played a key role in helping Colombia finish second behind Argentina in the CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup qualifying tournament, but his World Cup dreams were put on hold when he suffered a torn ACL when playing for Monaco in January and was forced to undergo surgery.
The prolific goalscorer remained confident that he would be fit to play for Colombia during the Soccer World Cup and he joined Colombia’s training camp for the event, but this morning ruled himself out of the tournament due to a lack of match fitness.
“I had lots of hopes but, well, we’ve got to press on and support the team from the outside and wish all my team mates the best for a good World Cup,” Falcao said.
“Today I’m in very good shape but conscious that I still need a bit (more time) to play again and I didn’t want to deny a place to a team mate who was 100 per cent fit, nor do something imprudent to damage my health.”
Falcao scored nine goals for Colombia during their qualification campaign and was set to carry the hopes of his nation in Brazil; with many experts predicting that the side was capable of recording Colombia’s best ever result at the World Cup.
Colombia Manager Jose Pekerman admits that Falcao’s withdrawal was a blow to his side chances in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but maintains that he was happy with his decision to give the superstar every possible chance to play a part in the tournament.
“This is the saddest day I’ve had since becoming Colombia coach,” Pekerman said.
“We can say to all of Colombia that he did more than was within his power to play.
“He deserved the right for us to wait and keep the hope alive.”
Colombia take on Greece in their opening World Cup clash on June 15 at Estadio Mineirao before meeting Cote d’Ivoire at Estadio Nacional on Friday June 20 and Japan at Arena Pantanal on Wednesday June 25.
The Colombians are favourites to win all three of their pool games at Ladbrokes Australia and are available at 2014 FIFA World Cup odds of $29 to win the entire tournament.