Football

Falcao's age not an issue for United

Manchester United have shot down rumours that their star loan striker Radamel Falcao lied about his age, saying the speculation was never an issue for the club.

In recent days, reports have resurfaced that the Colombian is 30 and not 28.

The issue is of significance to the Old Trafford club as United have an option to sign the forward permanently next season after his £16 million ($32.4m) loan ends at the end of the season.

The Daily Mail reported that the Red Devils sought assurances from Falcao's camp on transfer-deadline day and were satisfied with the proof provided.

The date of birth on the Colombian passport, which was used to seal his £280,000-a-week contract and secure his work permit, was stated as Feb 10, 1986.

United said: "We were aware of the rumours but it was never an issue for us."

Speculation about the striker's age is not new.

It first surfaced when Falcao, who made his senior debut for Colombian Second Division club Lanceros at just 13, was plying his trade in Argentina for River Plate.

It was then claimed that he falsified his age so that he could play in the Under-20 World Cup in Holland in 2005.

Two years ago, the Colombian's school in Santander leaked documents that he was born in 1984, two years later that the date stated in his passport.

His family subsequently shared his birth certificate with the media in his native Colombia.

Falcao, himself, has also refuted rumours regarding his age in the past.

Last year, he tweeted: "I have been surprised with stories in the media about my age.

"They are totally ridiculous. I want to deny these claims and end this issue once and for all."

But it is believed that United's main concern with Falcao had to do with his fitness rather than his age.

Having undergone surgery to repair a cruciate-ligament injury, the poacher passed a rigorous United medical before turning out for his country for the first time since missing out on the World Cup due to injury.

He played 13 minutes of a 1-0 loss to Brazil last week.

TOP LEVEL

Falcao later said: "Physically, I feel spectacular. As I get into game shape, I believe I'll show I'm still at the top level."

Meanwhile, former United boss David Moyes told The Sun yesterday that donning the captain's armband for club and country could make Wayne Rooney a better player.

He said: "It is a terrific time for Wayne professionally and he is ready for it.

"At this time in his career, I am sure he wants to take on that extra responsibility the captaincies bring. It could make him an even better player... Some people might wonder if we have seen the best of him. I don't. I still believe he is one of the best in the Premier League.

"There will always be young players pushing hard for his place but, right now, I don't believe there is anyone who can dislodge him for club and country."

- Wire Services.

"We were aware of the rumours (regarding Falcao’s age) but it was never an issue for us."

— A statement from Manchester United

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