Football Football

Atletico set off scramble for Falcao


RADAMEL-FALCAOSINGAPORE, May 21- Atletico Madrid left this summer’s expected blockbuster transfer in Radamel Falcao’s hands on Tuesday when they admitted the prolific striker was free to leave and decide his own future.

Chief executive Miguel Angel Gil-Marin said he didn’t know if Falcao would still be at the club after his 28 La Liga goals this season reportedly attracted multi-million dollar offers from some of Europe’s top clubs.

“Next season? I don’t know, it depends on the player,” Gil-Marin told reporters in Singapore. “If the player decides to go, Atletico will help him. Or if he prefers to be with us, for us it’s perfect.”

Chelsea, Monaco, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City — who are preparing a record £54 million deal, according to British press — have all been linked to the long-haired Colombian.

Falcao did little more than give a thumbs-up to waiting media as he arrived for a football clinic with schoolchildren at Singapore’s Jalan Besar Stadium, where Atletico will play a friendly on Wednesday.

But last week, the 27-year-old laughed off intense speculation he was about to sign for Monaco.

“If you believe what is being reported, I have already signed for half the clubs in Europe: Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid,” Falcao said.

“Last year, before the (Europa League) final in Bucharest (against Athletic Bilbao), people said I was going to leave and that the club didn’t have the budget to keep me.

“All I can say is that I have a contract with Atletico and everything else is speculation.”

Atletico arrived in Singapore fresh from last week’s Spanish Cup victory over arch-rivals Real, in which Falcao set up his team’s first goal.