Final Report – Colombians in Europe 2016/17 (Part II)

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This is the second part of my report regarding the performance of the Colombian footballers in Europe during the 2016/17 season. In case you’ve missed, here’s the first part. Enjoy!

The United Kingdom en_lang

David Ospina – Colombia’s best goalkeeper shares his spot in Arsenal’s goal along with legendary Petr Cech. Usually Arsene Wenger gives Ospina to play in domestic cup competitions and Champions League matches, while the Czech keeper plays during the Premier League matches. Overall Ospina played very well and wenger his happy with him, but Ospina may move in order to find a team where he’ll be the no. 1 choice. Turkish side, Fenerbahce, already contacted with his agent, no one will surprise if he’ll move from Arsenal soon. This year Ospina didn’t play too much, only 13 matches, mostly because Arsenal was eliminated too fast from their cup competitions. He played in the FA cup final vs. Chelsea and was one of the best players on the field when Arsenal won 2-1 to clinch the title. Grade – 7.5

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David Ospina managed to finish the season with a title. Will stay in London?

Bernardo Espinoza – Not much to say about the center back of Middlesbrough. Barely played this season, only 7 matches. In the past he was a part of Colombia’s full squad, now he didn’t even make it to the newly promoted Premier League side. Grade – 1

Juan Camilo Zuñiga – Few years ago he was one of the best right backs in Europe and a regular starter of Napoli & Colombia. Now he is in his second season out on loan, this time in Watford, but the guy simply cannot return to his previous form. Last season with Bologna he only played 9 matches, this time he doubled it and played 17 times for Watford with one goal. But it’s still not enough, surely not to return to the national team. Maybe he’ll decide to return to South America in order to gain more playing time, most likely that he won’t continue in Watford. Grade – 3

Greece gr-t

Victor Ibarbo – After a disappointed six months in Atletico Nacional, Ibarbo was loaned out to Panathinaikos Athens. Unfortunately, things didn’t improve there also. Ibarbo still looked heavy, not as fast as he used to be and didn’t perform well. 15 matches overall and three goals were his contribution to the team. Since March he is playing for Japanese side, Sagan Tosu. Grade – 3

France fr-m

Radamel Falcao Garcia – What a brilliant season for Colombia’s best striker ever. They said that he is done. They said that he won’t be the same ever again. They said that he won’t return to the national team again. So they said. Falcao returned to Monaco after two horrible season in Manchester United and Chelsea. At first he shouldn’t supposed to stay there, but after couple of good friendly matches, coach Jardim convinced him to stay and it was the best decision of Falcao in a long time. He became the captain of the club and started the season very well, when he score almost in every game, leading the offense to be the best in Europe. Several months later, his duo with wonder kid, Kylian Mbappe, was one of the best in Europe. Monaco had an amazing season, when they took the Ligue 1 Championship for the first time since 2000, setting new team record of 95 points and above 100 goals scored. They lost in the French cup final to PSG but also made a wonderful campaign in the Champions League, reaching the semi final before losing to Juventus. Falcao returned to the national team for the first time since the Copa America 2015 thanks to a wonderful season where he played 43 matches and scored 30 goals, including 7 in the Champions League. Now there’s a rumor that Atletico Madrid wants him back, but Monaco won’t give up on him so easily. Grade – 10

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Falcao brought back the smile to his face

Felipe Pardo – The striker started the season with Olympiakos but it wasn’t as good as the season before. He didn’t start, didn’t get too many opportunities and played only 11 matches in all competitions, scoring three goals. in January his moved on loan to Nantes from the French league and managed to score only one time in 14 matches. He will return to Olympiakos at the end of the season. Grade – 3 

Switzerland switzerland-t

Eder Alvarez Balanta – One of the most promising youngsters of Colombia, center back Balanta Alvarez, joined FC Basel, the best team in the country, on July 2016 for around $4M (for 80% of his card) and managed to take the starting lineup spot. In general it was a decent and even good season for Balanta, his debut year in Europe, winning both Swiss Super Cup and Swiss State Cup, but unfortunately he is ruled out since March due to a serious injury. He played 26 matches, scored 2 goals and passed 1 assist. Grade- 6.5

Belgium belgium-t

Jose Izquierdo – It was the best season in the short career of the 24-year-old striker, who plays for FC Brugge. He joined two years ago and already became one of the best players in the club if not the best. Last year he was chosen for the best player in the league, this year he scored the highest numbers of goals since he came to Belgium – 14. Despite his good numbers, Brugge couldn’t win the title but Izquierdo already made his name across Europe and even got his first call to the national team by Jose Pekerman for the games vs. Spain and Cameroon in June 2017. The latest rumor links him with Inter Milan for 15M and most probably he will leave Belgium soon. Grade – 8

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Jose Izquierdo, wanted by Inter according the rumors

Helibelton Palacios – The young right back joined FC Brugge from Deportivo Cali on January 7th 2017. Despite his short period with the club, he managed to play 11 games in to start in several of them. Had a decent performances and we have to see if he can maintain his spot as a starter for the next few years. Grade – 6

Turkey tr-t

Hugo Rodallega – For many people he was one of the wasted talented players Colombia had. Played in small English clubs like Wigan and Fulham and now he is in Turkey. Was the best player of Akhisar last year, scoring 19 goals in 34 matches but this year started slow with only 4 goals in 17 matches. In January 2017 moved to a bigger club, Trabzonspor, and finished with 5 goals in 14 matches. Should continue with the team next year also. Grade – 6.5

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Rodallega with the uniform of Trabzonspor

Fabian Castillo – After being one of the best players in the MLS, talented Castillo tried his luck this season for the first time in Europe, playing for Turkish side Trabzonspor. at first he came on loan and on January 2017, Trabzon decided to buy him permanently. Unfortunately, and despite many chances that he received, Castillo still cannot repeat the form he had in the United States, scoring only three goals in 33 matches for Trabzon. His co-patriot, Hugo Rodallega, joined the team on January 2017 and maybe next season we’ll see this Colombian duo playing much better together. Grade – 4

 

Portugal po-t

Guillermo Celis – The defensive midfielder who was purchased by Benfica from Junior couldn’t prove himself with the eagles, playing just three games. In the last day of the transfer window on January 31st, Vitoria Guimaraes decided to loan him for six months, where he played 13 matches without scoring. He did arrived to the final of the Portuguese cup, but lost to…Benfica. He also won the Supercup with Benfica in the beginning of the season. Will return to Benfica for the upcoming season. Grade – 3

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