CAPE TOWN — Pierre Spies ( who is set to join Jake White at Montpellier in France, says he was deemed surplus to requirements at the Bulls.
The Springbok No 8 will first head to Japan for a short stint there, before joining up with the former Springbok coach at Montpellier in February next year.
Spies last week told French newspaper Midi Olympique that the Bulls didn’t want him anymore.
“The Bulls told me that they weren’t going to keep me,” Spies was quoted as saying.
“That’s when Jake White called me. Having come across him with the Springboks, I know he’s world rugby’s best leader. I said yes immediately.”
According to Netwerk24, there were rumours that the Bulls wanted to get rid of Spies because he was earning a huge salary after 11 years at the union.
Spies, 30, has been capped 53 times by the Springboks. — Sport24 LONDON — The 2012 European Super Cup final was effectively over within the first half itself.
The Europa League winners had not only overcome the more illustrious Champions League victors, they ripped them apart, limb by limb. The dismemberment was almost exclusively carried out by a single ferocious beast, El Tigre they called him.
It was then that the footballing world saw the very best of Radamel Falcao. He completed an exquisite first-half hat-trick to bring Chelsea to their knees and his performance in the 4-1 triumph epitomized a period during which he was at the peak of his powers. There were rumours that the Premier League outfit were close to signing him then and on paper, it seemed like a perfect fit.
However, their efforts to land the Colombian never came to fruition but three years on, a move to Stamford Bridge appears to be on the cards for Falcao. Unfortunately, they won’t be acquiring the services of the striker from two years ago when he was the world’s foremost frontman, daring to challenge the phenomenal scoring records of the Cristiano Ronaldo-lionel Messi duopoly.
Now, as much as we’ve wished it, we haven’t seen that Falcao for a long time and it’s become apparent now that we perhaps never will again.
After establishing himself as a juggernaut in European football with prolific terms at FC Porto and Atletico Madrid, Falcao moved to AS Monaco in the summer of 2013 for a reported fee of €60 million.
He got off to a modest but respectful start in his new surroundings, scoring 11 times in 19 appearances during the first half of the season. However, a serious knee injury not only ruled him out of the rest of the campaign but also the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
After months of rehabilitation, Falcao was deemed fit for the new season and scored twice in Monaco’s opening three fixtures in spite of being off the pace. A shock loan move to Manchester United was scrutinized and considered a huge gamble, and it turned out to be a disappointing one.
Falcao looked like a shadow of himself at Old Trafford, scoring just once in his first eight games for the Manchester outfit. He struggled for fitness during the first couple of months of the season but despite being free of all ailments and afforded plenty of opportunities for the rest of the campaign, he failed to come to life.
Even after a full recovery, he wasn’t able to produce a performance that at the very least resembled the spectacular striker he was. One could forgive him for being rusty or struggling to regain his form in front of goal. However, his shortcomings were far more serious than that. His touch had completely more often. However, he snatched at the couple of decent chances that came his way and was largely overshadowed by his team-mates.
In the final group game against Peru, Falcao finally managed to register a shot on target when Pedro Gallese denied him. He headed over a decent opportunity in the second half too but failed to make a real impact again and was replaced in the 66th minute.
What Falcao does have going for him though is that the two men - or the two ‘Joses’ - who could hold the fate of his career in their hands are both in his corner. Colombia coach Jose Pekerman recently backed his skipper to be “a success’ at Chelsea along with compatriot Juan Cuadrado. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho is clearly a fan of Falcao’s and is even peeved at the general impression of him in England. “It hurts me that people in England believe that Falcao is the one seen at Manchester United. He is a player who I know, who I have followed since Atletico Madrid, and if I can help Falcao to reach his level, I will do it,” the Chelsea boss vowed.
Mourinho is a top tactician and an excellent man manager. He may well help Falcao step up but it’s still highly unlikely, even with his abilities, that he’d be able to restore the striker to his former glory. Meanwhile, the cautionary tale of signing a high-profile striker who can never quite recover from a knee injury is one that Chelsea are all too familiar with.
Andriy Shevchenko suffered a bad knee injury prior to the 2006 World Cup, after which he signed for the Blues for a record £30.8 million. Fernando Torres underwent two major knee operations in the preceding 12 months of his £50 million move to Chelsea, once again setting the bar in the transfer market. However, the Spaniard’s problems were also attributed to a series of hamstring problems before the operations which saw him lose his greatest asset – acceleration.
Falcao’s situation at present bears an uncanny resemblance to that of his illustrious predecessors except for the fact that he would be a less expensive gamble, arriving without a hefty transfer fee. Chelsea would have to shell out around £14 million pounds for his extravagant wages but that may prove to be an acceptable expense if it gains favour with his influential agent, Jorge Mendes for future transactions.
El Tigre was an exhilarating player to watch in his prime but sadly, he has lost his ferocity, tenacity and most notably, his killer instinct. His style itself is in contrast to what it was in the past. He used to go straight for the jugular but now he ambles about, hoping to feed off scraps. It’s time to accept that Falcao is no longer the animal, the jungle cat that he was. His prowl has been replaced by an awkward scurry and he becomes more domesticated with every passing day. — www.
RADAMEL Falcao has been disappointing in Colombia colours at the ongoing COPA America.