- The incomparable Falcao played his 258th and final game for Brazil
- He signed off by becoming the first player to reach 400 international goals
- Falcao finished the 4-2 win with two – both absolute scorchers
Futsal’s equivalent of the Takabisha roller coaster has come to its final stop – yet not before reaching an unprecedented peak on its climax.
Falcao brought the curtain down on his Brazil career – and the house down in his spiritual temple, the Arena Jaraguá – by becoming the first player in the history to score 400 international goals. Naturally, he did it in his trademarked genre, with a breathtaking back-heel in a 4-2 victory over Paraguay.
“Futsal took me away from my home, my family, my friends,” said the 41-year-old, who received the FIFA Award for an Outstanding Career at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ in 2016. “But everything was worth it – every absence, every trip.
“I know my importance to futsal, but I want everybody to know the importance of futsal in my life. It’s been 20 years of great happiness and great suffering. I leave here 100 per cent accomplished personally and professionally.”
Falcao remained beached on 399 throughout two clashes with Argentina four weeks ago. His announcement that Sunday’s game would be his last international – he’s play on at club level for a short while – came as a shock, particularly as it would be irrespective of whether the No12 cracked the 400-goal bullseye he’d romanced and targeted since giving his last show at the FIFA Futsal World Cup – a competition drenched in his enchanting aftershave – in 2016.
It took just two minutes and 31 seconds for Falcao to send the crowd in Santa Catarina – a futsal hub he considers his sporting home. The game was stopped for several minutes as Falcao was embraced, applauded by the gracious Paraguayans, and paraded a Brazil jersey with 400 on the back to his euphoric public.
Brazil led 2-0 at half-time, but with little over seven minutes remaining, it was 2-2. Paraguay were threatening to impair Falcao’s envoi. The showman was having none of it.
Falcao was virtually on the goal-line when the ball was rolled into him. Yet he produced a bewitching feint to drop the goalkeeper to his knees, flicked the ball up, and lobbed it over his rival and home from an acute angle.
“What is this!? What is this!? What is this!?” screamed the commentator on SporTV. “Falcao! He doesn’t know how to score a normal goal! A goal from another planet!”
It meant he signed off having scored 401 goals in 258 internationals – and with a 4-2 triumph after Je’s header with less than one-tenth of a second left on the clock. What a show – 20 years after the Futsal World Cup’s two-time adidas Golden Ball winner gave his very first for Brazil.
The habitually loquacious Falcao seemed at a loss for words afterwards. We've been at a loss for words for the last 20 trying to do justice to this Martian's genius.
Alessandro Rosa Vieira, muito obrigado for the innumerable and extraordinary memories.