Another great play-making talent from that brilliant Brazilian side of 1982. Yet, whilst Zico was doing his magic high up the pitch, Falcao was picking his passes out from deeper.
Those watching Serie A in 1980 and 1981 were lucky enough to see a player at the peak of his talents, whilst the 1982 World Cup brought him to the attention of a global audience. And boy, did they sit up and take notice.
Falcao started his career in Porto Alegre with Internacional, joining the club as a 17 year-old in 1971 and making his professional debut two years later in 1973. He would quickly establish himself as a mainstay in the team and would go on to become the symbol of one of the great dynasties of Brazilian league football, as the club claimed three titles in the space of five seasons between 1975 and 1979. This was the first time that Internacional had won the Brazilian national title in their history, so it would propel Falcao to legendary status amongst the Colorados (the nickname given t fans of the club).
Falcao's time at Internacional would be capped by their 1979 title, the club becoming the first, and still only, team to finish the season undefeated, an incredible feat that would solidify their status as one of the greatest club sides in Brazilian football history.
His performances were rewarded at an individual level as he was named the winner of the Bola de Prata award (Brazilian Footballer of the Year) in both 1978 and 1979.
Despite all of his success in Brazil, Falcao was still relatively unknown in Europe, one of the main reasons being that he'd not been selected for the 1978 World Cup squad, national team coach Claudio Coutinho picking São Paulo's defensive midfielder Chicão ahead of him. It was a strange decision given the lack of quality on show by the Seleção for the majority of the tournament, but summed up the team's negative footballing philosophy of the time. However, despite missing out on the chance to shine on the world's biggest stage, scouts were still well aware of Falcao's talent and success. Italian clubs, now free to sign one foreign player after the lifting of their ban, started to sniff around, and Roma in particular showed a keen interest in him. They'd also been linked to the other great Brazilian talent of the late 1970s, Zico, as well as Roberto Rivellino, now a veteran and seeing out his career with Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, but in the end made a move to sign Falcao. It would prove to be a great decision for both club and player.