LONDON — 2016 Copa America Centenario? 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio? Or both?
Radamel Falcao is up for anything and the captain of Colombia’s national team has made himself available for both tournaments this summer.
Speaking to ProSoccerTalk at a PUMA event in London, 30-year-old Falcao revealed that he wants to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for Colombia as one of the three over-aged players.
Falcao admitted that being part of Carlos Restrepo’s squad for the tournament would make up for not playing in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to a torn ACL.
Los Cafeteros took the 2014 tournament by storm, reaching the quarterfinal before being beaten by hosts Brazil, but they haven’t competed at the Olympics since 1992 in Barcelona
“El Tigre” wants in.
“Yes, I said before I would like to be part of the Olympics games but it doesn’t depend only on me,” Falcao said. “I couldn’t go to the 2014 World Cup and maybe the Olympic games is a big opportunity. I will be working hard to be fit then the decision depends on the coach.”
In March Colombia’s U-23 side beat their U.S. counterparts in a playoff for the final spot in the Olympic soccer tournament.
After spending most of the past two seasons on the bench for Manchester United and Chelsea while on loan from AS Monaco, Falcao is eager for any chance he can get to play games and score goals. Colombia’s captain currently has 25 goals in 63 appearances for the full national team and will be hoping a big summer in two high-profile tournaments will put himself in the shop window.
During his prolific spell with FC Porto and Atletico Madrid from 2009-13 the striker scored 142 goals in 178 overall appearances. However with Chelsea and Man United in the last two seasons he has scored just five goals in 41 appearances and his future remains uncertain with his contract at Monaco running until 2018 but another loan deal likely.
Focusing on the Copa America Centenario — which runs from June 3-26 in the United States of America this summer — Falcao is likely to captain Colombia as they’ve been drawn in Group A with Paraguay, Costa Rica and the host nation, the U.S. national team.
Falcao has been impressed with the growth of the game in the U.S. and believes Jurgen Klinsmann’s will have extra motivation to try and win the tournament.
“Football is growing there but it has even more potential to grow there,” Falcao said. “The U.S. national team have a pretty strong squad and obviously with the players playing at home they will do everything to keep the Copa America at home.”
What about Colombia’s chances of winning?
“The fact that every country from North, Central and South America is playing in this tournament makes it very exciting,” Falcao said. “We have a good chance because our team at the moment is very strong. We would like to win the Copa America.”
With other star players such as Lionel Messi and Neymar wanting to play in both the Copa America and at Rio 2016, issues have arisen with their club side, Barcelona, about them not getting enough rest. The Olympic soccer tournament runs from Aug. 4-20 and that would mean potentially missing the first two weeks of the domestic seasons in most European leagues.
That’s not a problem for Falcao, who admitted that he would be interested in playing in both the Copa America and Olympics this summer.
“At the end of the day it is the coach’s decision to decide which is going to be the squad for each of the tournaments because he also has to think about the World Cup qualifiers in-between,” Falcao explained. “It is up to the coach to make the squads but obviously like every player I think that both tournaments are very interesting.”