Radamel Falcao will not have the chance to play for Colombia in the coming World Cup after failing to recover from a serious knee injury.
The 28-year-old striker was initially included in Colombia’s 30-man squad for this summer's finals with the hope of a rapid recovery but, after consulting with medical experts, the injury has ruled Falcao out of the side's final 23-man roster.
Falcao suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in January earlier this year while playing for Monaco in the French Cup. Surgery followed, but a sufficient recovery did not materialise in time for the finals as medical staff took the decision against Falcao making the trip to Brazil this month.
At a press conference in Buenos Aires, a disappointed Falcao commented: "We've got to press on and support the team from the outside and wish all my team mates the best for a good World Cup.
"Today I'm in very good shape but conscious that I still need a bit [more time] to play again and I didn't want to deny a place to a team-mate who was 100 per cent fit, nor do something imprudent to damage my health."
Falcao was a key player for Colombia in World Cup qualifying, the striker having scored nine goals in 13 matches.
Colombia's team coach José Pékerman described his tough decision to leave out Falcao as “the saddest day I’ve had since becoming Colombia coach”, adding that injured defender Luis Amaranto Perea and forward Luis Muriel will also not make the trip to Brazil.
Appearing in their first World Cup finals for 16 years, Colombia take on Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan in Group C. Click here to compare Colombia's betting odds for the 2014 World Cup
Colombia's official 2014 World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe)
Defenders: Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Pablo Armero (Napoli), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Mario Yepes (Atalanta), Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia Union - currently on loan to San Lorenzo), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Eder Alvarez-Balanta (River Plate)
Midfielders: James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Aldo Ramirez (Morelia), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional), Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina)
Strikers: Jackson Martinez (Porto), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund).
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