Monaco: Radamel Falcao’s reputation as one of the most wanted strikers in the world was underlined when he grabbed a hat-trick in Atletico Madrid’s 4-1 Super Cup rout of Chelsea on Friday but his club said he was going nowhere.
The Colombian international, nicknamed the Tiger, scored three times in the first half against the European champions and hit the post three times as the Europa League winners ran riot in Monaco.
“There is only one Falcao and he is ours,” Atletico’s majority shareholder Miguel Angel Gil told Spanish television. “He is a great team player. We are going to fight to keep him.”
Atletico splashed out $50.42 million to buy the striker from Porto last year, after he netted 17 goals to lead the Portuguese team to victory in the 2011 Europa League final, and he quickly helped repay some of the outlay.
Brought in to replace Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan, Falcao scored 12 times to help the Spaniards to victory in last season’s Europa League and bagged two in the final against Athletic Bilbao.
He also bagged 24 in La Liga.
Falcao started out where he left off last season, notching a hattrick against Bilbao in the league on Monday.
“I have dreamed of scoring this amount of goals. I thank God for the opportunity,” he said on Friday.
“We played a great game and we are delighted. We have to work to maintain this level. We knew we had to start with great intensity from the first minute and we were very effective with the chances we had.”
Asked about his future with Atletico, Falcao said: “I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. I know some clubs were interested in maybe signing me in the summer but Atletico made every effort to keep me and I am delighted — this was our reward.”
With the transfer window in Europe about to close Atletico, who are struggling with huge debt problems like many Spanish clubs, look to have secured their prize asset at least for the coming season.
Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo said his side’s chances were ruined by Falcao’s opening goals in the sixth and 19th minutes.