Radamel Falcao, sidelined since mid-January by a left knee injury that needed surgery, was among 30 players picked Tuesday for Colombia’s preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup.
Falcao was hurt Jan. 22 while playing for Monaco against an amateur team in the French Cup and had surgery three days later to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The 28-year-old forward, who finished 11th in FIFA Player of the Year voting announced in January, has 20 goals in 51 international appearances, including nine goals in qualifying for this year’s World Cup.
“I am getting better and I’m very happy with how the knee is reacting,” Falcao wrote this week on social media. “I’m starting on the pitch with the ball, again getting used to what used to be familiar.”
Coach Jose Pekerman has until June 2 to select his 23-man roster.
Colombia, preparing for its first World Cup since 1998, plays in Group C with Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan.
Goalkeepers: Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), David Ospina (Nice, France), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe)
Defenders: Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Pablo Armero (West Ham, England), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate, Argentina), Aquivaldo Mosquera (America, Mexico), Amaranto Perea (Cruz Azul, Mexico), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Mario Yepes (Atalanta, Italy), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan, Italy), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli, Italy)
Midfielders: Abel Aguilar (Toulouse, France), Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina, Italy), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan, Italy), Víctor Ibarbo (Cagliari, Italy), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional). Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto, Portugal), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia, Mexico), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Carlos Sanchez (Elche, Spain), Elkin Soto (Mainz, Germany), Macnelly Torres (Al Shabab, Saudi Arabia), Juan Edwin Valencia (Fluminense, Brazil)
Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Sevilla, Spain), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate, Argentina), Jackson Martinez (Porto, Portugal), Luis Fernando Muriel (Udinese, Italy), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin, Germany)