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Featured Image Credit: PA
Radamel Falcao has admitted that he opted for the No 3 shirt at Rayo Vallecano as a fitting tribute to his father -- and revealed the significance behind the number.
The 35-year-old Colombia striker left Galatasaray in early September after mutually terminating his contract with the Super Lig club.
Falcao made his stunning return to Spain by completing a free transfer to Rayo on a one-year deal.
However, the former Atletico Madrid star grabbed headlines for the unusual decision to take the No 3 shirt, which is more associated with defenders than forwards.
Falcao revealed at his Rayo presentation that his father played with the No 3 number, adding that he “transmitted to me the passion for this sport.”
The Rayo striker’s father, Radamel Garcia, passed away in 2019 at the age of 61.
“I want to thank Fran Garcia, number three was available,” Falcao said.
“For my father it had a lot of meaning, he transmitted to me the passion for this sport, he played with that number, it is the one he liked the most and what better than to play with number three.”
Falcao spent two years with Galatasaray and made 43 appearances during his two injury-hit seasons in Turkey.
The Colombia international endured disappointing loan spells with Manchester United and Chelsea during his time at Monaco.
However, Falcao was once considered one of the best strikers in the world during his time with Atletico Madrid from 2011 to 2013.
Falcao arrived at Atletico from Porto in an initial £36m deal and captured the Copa del Rey, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup during his time with the club.
The former United and Chelsea striker has urged his Rayo teammates to “dream” for more success rather than simply focusing on “staying up” in La Liga.
“I know the objectives the team has very well. We are prepared for them,” he said.
“I am very surprised of the quality of the squad. There are fantastic players.
“They all want to win. Once things start to roll, we are going to be able to dream of a little more than staying up.”