How much are James and Falcao missing from the National Team?

Teacher: has the era of glories, idols, James and Falcao passed in the Colombian National Team?

It will depend a lot on them. James has a very high injury profile subject. He suffered 29 injuries after the World Cup in Brazil. It has been more or less 600 days without playing in these 6 years. And then, the football condition. He has lost tone. Soccer changed a lot.

In what sense?

Football is now physical, direct, fast, with straights that go, come, score, run.

And James isn’t very good at it?

He is a technically very gifted boy, but a trotter.

(In other news: Fuad Char breaks silence about Teo’s non-renewal)

What do you call being a trotter?

It is when you do not run the court, but rather jog it. In football you can no longer jog. It is played by running. And obviously that the speed of the ordinary athlete is very different from the speed of the footballer. He has to adjust his physique and I don’t know if he is fit and eager. And apart from that, it has to come to add, like anyone else. Whoever arrives with the pretense of a star, unless it is Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, because it will cost a lot. If he is there for that, they will surely call him again.

And the case of Falcao, my Falqui?

It’s very similar. Falcao, for example, at Galatasaray, of the 68 games they have had, has only played 31. He has lost more than 54 percent of those played. He is also a man with a high injury profile, with 400 days absent for 15 injuries from 2016 to date. We are talking about players who are not in their physical prime.

James is still very young. But Falcao is already marked by age …

Yes, and he has to adapt to the football that is played now. The one in which he stood out is no longer played: the football of the ’10’, which is no longer an essential figure in tactical models. The only ones who don’t run, Messi doesn’t run much, but Cristiano does, for example. He is an athlete who runs, scores, comes and goes. I have great appreciation for Falcao, great affection, but I would ask him to understand that our flag is yellow, blue and red, in that order. Reversing the flag does not suit him.

James Rodriguez

James Rodríguez, Colombian player who was not called up to the National Team.


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Who do you think has been the best soccer commentator in the history of Colombia?

Very difficult, because I only share with those of today. I have great respect for two, who are Iván Mejía and Wbeimar Muñoz. People who have prepared themselves, have studied and have concepts.

You are very controversial …

We are not in this profession to say what people want to hear.

And among the player-commentators, which one do you like the most?

I like them more playing. It is one thing to play soccer, and another to understand the game. And many played at a time when the game as such, the playful, was more important than today, when you follow the players from the smallest detail. It is part of a fairly scientific or very scientific topic, which is more of a game. One thing is to play well and another thing is to understand it.

What is your ideal alignment in Colombian soccer history?

Uuyyy, it puts me on a very difficult subject. But I’m going to tell you one thing: the circumstance of players like Pibe Valderrama, Faustino Asprilla, Fredy Rincón, like the younger Falcao, or Willington Ortiz or Henry Caicedo or Miguel Escobar, difficult, difficult, that it happens again. It takes a genetic miracle. Something is missing for many: maturity, character and understanding that football has changed. Now you have to play and work. In an average 95 minute game, a player touches the ball for 5 minutes. What are you doing in the other 90s? To work. Play for teammates, to get the ball back, to score, to run, to come and go. To work. The other time he plays without the ball, and for that, sacrifice quotas are needed that the Colombian footballer, by idiosyncrasy, because we are like that, is not very happy to comply.

Why do you think coach Rueda finally called off Falcao and James, who sent word that he was physically very well?

Here is a regular conduit, the national team doctor. It is not that if it seems to me that I am well, I have to be there. No Colombian player, listen to me well, can say today: I am the undisputed starter of the National Team. First, because since 2001 Colombia does not win any title. In addition, the only Colombian player who plays in a top team abroad, I’m talking about the top 10 in the ranking, is Cuadrado. The others play in medium teams, or boys. A preselected player, there are 50, goes through a physical and technical sieve. If there is any physical doubt, the National Team doctor, and not my doctor, is the one who determines if I am in competitive conditions.

(We suggest: Players bag: ups and downs of Colombian soccer)

Radamel Falcao Garcia

Radamel Falcao García, forward who was not called up to the National Team either.

And the one of the Colombia Selection considered that not?

He’s the boss. Second, he came from not playing for Everton. He even did something he shouldn’t have done: the team played the last game and came earlier to Colombia. I accompany my colleagues until the last day. He could not play the last games because he was injured.

James mentioned with his own name many players of the National Team of whom he feels superior …

Yes, it is a very ugly spectacle that one demeans those who did great things for Colombian soccer. Fredy Rincón, Pibe Valderrama, Faustino Asprilla or James himself. Those egos kill, which are sometimes superior to the National Team and its teams.

Will we classify Qatar, teacher?

I hope so. But there is no need to look either down, where Venezuela and Bolivia are, or up, where Brazil and Argentina are.

Will we reach the final of the Copa América? What do you think of those who say that the game against Uruguay was played well, but that a leader was lacking? Would we have won with James Rodríguez without penalties?

I think with James we would not have done the job we did. I don’t know why they are asking for a leader. What Colombia did was extraordinary tactically and physically. And of sacrifice. Those things James doesn’t do. This was a hard-working, hard-working, self-sacrificing team that did not renounce the attack. That he defended well, and in which all eleven players committed. I don’t think the team lacked a leader. You want to find the rope for the stick. As we were expecting the team to lose and they did not succeed, now they are looking for anything.

Falcao, for example, in Galatasaray, of the 68 games they have had, they have only played 31. They have lost more than 54 percent of those played.

Why did we miss a goal?

Because unfortunately we are, and that is a mistake, putting all the nines together. We have to put just one, or two, I deleted and another, because it is the only one that complements the others. Of the rest, the team has done it impeccable. All the international press has said it.

Are the successes obtained at the National Team level an isolated event or do they indicate that we are on the right track?

Win games, anyone wins. The titles are those that consecrate you and those that really give you the cache. What Brazil has, what Argentina has, are world titles.

Short questions: Pelé, Maradona or Cruyff?


Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar?


Who has been the best player in the world in history?

In my time: Diego Maradona.

Guardiola, Zidane or Mourinho?


What will happen to James at Everton, with the departure of Ancelotti?

Benítez will arrive, with whom he had problems in Madrid. Well, he has had problems with almost all the coaches, except Ancelotti. He has two options: fulfill his contract, since he does not have any offer from outside, or that the Milan thing works for him, which is what his manager, Jorge Mendes, is looking for, and run away from the arrival of Benítez.

Who is more important, the coach or the players?

There are coaches who live off the players. And players who need the guidance of a good coach. Very complex. There is no fair proportion. It’s like the chicken and the egg: what came first?

What awaits the world of football in a post-covid panorama? Many soccer leagues and teams around the world are in a critical situation. For example, in France I understand that all equipment is for sale, and the television rights contract went to the floor …

People are already returning to the stadiums, we have already seen it at the Eurocup. Television rights, even if they say the opposite, are always worth more and have always been the salvation of football teams. I think that next year the teams will have a little more fluidity and will return to a cash state similar to that of 2019.

How does the Betplay League compare today with other leagues on the continent, in terms of football and financial solvency?

Local football has lived on television and the ‘sponsorship’ of the sponsor of the championship. In Colombia you don’t live off merchandising. The teams live from the payment of television rights, and from a social mass that the important teams have, such as Millonarios, Nacional, América, Deportivo Cali, Junior. Some fans who buy some season tickets. The great entrance is in the participation in Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Exceptionally, there was a company that wanted to buy, brought by some football leaders, but normally here international rights are not sold, they belong to the owner of local rights. They wanted to broaden the spectrum with that company, which turned out to be bad and a business that turned out badly; accentuated by the pandemic. We have a selling football. It has two or three players that it sells to Europe. The best players go there. Here we play domestic, local, home football. Our football is not exported at the image level or at the television level.

I think with James we would not have done the job we did. I don’t know why they are asking for a leader. What Colombia did was extraordinary tactically and physically. And of sacrifice

Do you see the possibility of foreign investment in local football?

The subject of investment funds is very difficult, which go for big booties. We are not big booty. We do not generate large profits either. Holding the players is very difficult. We have some that charge a lot of money, for our lifestyle and for our competitive style and for our economy.

Do you think there are ways to retain the best talent in local football for a little longer?

Normally, the player aspires to play on the outside because they are going to pay much higher figures, and with much more important figuration. I don’t think they can be held back. You have to try is that they do not leave so young. It cannot be said that it is a success to send players to Albania or Luxembourg, when there are inferior championships there.

But isn’t Europe a very good place?

In Europe not everything is good. There are big leagues, but there are also smaller ones than ours. Now, go and convince the players that it is not good to go and play in Ukraine, they are going to say that Ukraine is more important than Colombia.

We say goodbye with what we started: is there life for the Colombian National Team after James and Falcao?

But of course … In Spain, for example, there is life after Sergio Ramos and Iniesta. In Italy there is life after the greats who left. In England, look at you. In France formerly there were others. Everything in life is generational. The same we said when Fredy Rincón and Pibe Valderrama were there, or what are we going to do now that Asprilla leaves … Do you know where there are essentials? In the cemetery… Ultimately, we are all replaceable and replaceable.

Special for THE TIME