Temuco (Chile) (AFP) - More than 200 minutes played and barely a sniff of a goal: Radamel
Falcaos miserable season with Manchester
United has spilled over into
Colombias misfiring Copa America campaign.
Yet while the man known as "El Tigre" has singularly failed to bare his teeth in Chile, he
will once again wear the captains armband when Colombia line up for their quarter-final
clash with Argentina on Friday.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman is adamant that Falcaos position is secure despite a series
of performances which have left many wondering if the 29-year-old should make way for
Portos Jackson Martinez.
Falcao was anonymous in Colombias upset opening defeat to Venezuela, had only two attempts
on goal in the 1-0 win over Brazil and only a solitary effort in an uninspired 0-0 draw
Moreover, Colombia instantly looked more threatening when the in-form Martinez replaced
Falcao after an hour of the Peru clash on Sunday, his movement and physicality offering a
sharp contrast to his off-song skipper.
Adding insult to injury, Falcao has also been widely mocked on social media for an incident
early in the draw with Peru when he threw himself theatrically to the ground clutching his
face after a challenge with Carlos Zambrano.
A video clearly shows Zambrano made no contact with Falcao, and has fuelled anxiety amongst
fans of English champions Chelsea, who are widely expected to sign the struggling striker.
"We cant be seriously considering signing him," one Chelsea fan wailed on Twitter in
For now, however, Falcao remains a firm favourite with Pekerman, who is steadfast in his
belief that form may be temporary but class is permanent.
"Its true, some players havent really hit their top form, were not going to try and hide
that," Pekerman acknowledged.
"But we know who those players are and we know what they can do.
"I know it may be difficult for some people, but I think it is important to support the
players who have talent," Pekerman added, referring to Falcao, who has amassed 25 goals in
60 international appearances.
"If we want a team with a strong identity then we cannot allow ourselves to be swayed by
pressure to change the players from one day to the next," the Argentine added.
Falcaos woes have left Martinez champing at the bit.
Martinez, who is expected to clinch a transfer to Atletico Madrid in the coming days, has
enjoyed three successful seasons in Portugal, scoring 67 goals in the league, 13 goals in
the Portuguese cup and 14 in European competition.
"If it was up to me, Id be out on the pitch," Martinez said.
Pekerman however has urged patience, appearing to address Martinezs frustrations in veiled
comments earlier in the tournament.
"Its important to wait for opportunities to arise and to be ready to take them when they
do," Pekerman said.