Europe news

Falcao linked as Monaco go up

May 11, 2013
By ESPN staff

An injury-time goal from Ibrahima Toure sealed Monaco's promotion to Ligue 1 - and with it an escalation of both the row about the principality club's tax status and speculation about their potential transfer targets.

Falcao equalised for Atletico just a minute after Jonas gave Valencia the lead
GettyImagesFalcao has been linked with Monaco

Monaco, managed by Claudio Ranieri, returned to the top flight after a two-year absence as Toure's strike secured a 1-0 win at Nimes.

Reports in both France and Spain have linked them with an audacious move for Atletico Madrid's star striker Radamel Falcao, whose contract has a €60 million release clause.

Spanish paper AS and French paper L'Equipe said the switch was possible switch after Spanish television reported that Monaco's billionaire owner, Dimitri Rybolovlev, had held talks with the Colombia international last month.

But L'Equipe quoted a scornful Ranieri as saying: "Falcao is coming to Monaco? Ah, like Beckham! When he comes, I'll tell you all."

Ligue 1 clubs are increasingly questioning Monaco's privileged financial status. A 19th-century agreement between France and Monaco means foreign players at the club pay no income tax, enabling Monaco to pay higher wages than their rivals.

And a deal drawn up between the two in the 1960s means both foreign and French players cost the 2003-04 Champions League runners-up significantly less to employ than they would have cost their Ligue 1 counterparts.

The French Football League's (LFP) Administrative Council recently voted to require all clubs participating in their competitions to be based in France for tax purposes by the end of the 2013-14 season.

However, talks with Monaco over a potential compromise have since been broken off, the club have threatened to go to the courts - and now some Ligue 1 presidents are considering boycotting games against Ranieri's side next season.

"It's an extreme line to take. If they're talking about it, it's not by chance. But why not?" Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud told RMC Radio. "They'll be top of the table with 114 points. As they'll win all of their games 3-0 by forfeit, they'll have scored 114 goals, have 114 points and conceded none. So they'll be record champions."