Brazil legend Ronaldo has likened Falcao’s injury troubles to his own, hailed James Rodriguez and backed Colombia to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
O Fenômeno suffered two career-threatening injuries – the second of which left him heading into Korea/Japan 2002 having barely played in over two years. Amazingly, Ronaldo hit eight goals in seven games – no player had scored more than six in almost three decades – to propel *A Seleção *to their fifth crown.
“The worst thing that can happen to a footballer is an injury,” said Ronaldo. “It takes the life of a footballer. It happened to me twice, very severely, but I always had it in my head that I could get through it.
“My first injury had me out for a year and eight months, and the second for a year and two months. Luiz Felipe Scolari took me to the World Cup because he had a plan and I was on the bench at Inter, regaining confidence, and the end result was incredible. Falcao’s case is the same: I’m sure he’ll return even stronger. The worst is over. You win confidence back with the ball – it’s not a gift. He’ll regain his confidence little by little.
“There’s always a new opportunity in football. There’s always the next Sunday to play again and write your own script. I wish him all the luck in the world.”
Falcao, who missed Brazil 2014 due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, has scored six goals in eight appearances for Monaco this season – form that rewarded him with a Colombia recall on Friday for the Russia 2018 qualifiers at home to Chile and away to Argentina.
The 30-year-old reacted on Twitter: "Happy to represent my country again. I am taking on this chance with great hope. It is a very special call.”
Ronaldo backs Colombia to qualify, lauds James
Los Cafeteros are fourth in South American qualifying, behind Ecuador on goal difference, Uruguay by three points and leaders Brazil by four.
“Colombia will be at the next World Cup,” said Ronaldo. “They should be proud because they have always had stars, and now they have James [Rodriguez], [Carlos] Bacca. Right now I live in Madrid and I closely follow James. The goal he scored against Uruguay at the Maracana at the World Cup was a work of art, spectacular."