As we reported on Thursday, Atlético will head to Colombia days after their last league match of the season to face off against Colombian side Millonarios FC in Bogotá.
Rojiblanco striker Radamel Falcao, one of Colombia’s most famous native sons and a member of the Cafetero national team along with team-mate Luis Perea, represented Atleti in the official presentation of the friendly scheduled for the 16th of May.
The game, according to Atlético directors, has been set in order to increase the club’s presence in the Americas.
It’s the least Atleti can do in order to make up for punishing those in the New World with kick-off times at the local wee hours of the morning.
‘El Tigre’, who spent a part of his childhood in the ranks of Millos’ youth academy before moving on to Argentina, was clearly thrilled about the idea of playing in red and white on home soil.
“For me, it’s very exciting and a source of pride to return to my country with the Atleti shirt to take on Millonarios,” he said at Friday’s event.
In response to a question regarding the jeers aimed at him in recent matches at the Vicente Calderón, the lethal Colchonero forward said:
“The truth is, I’m not one to judge the people that come to the stadium. I will try to play at the highest level and hopefully the results will speak for themselves.”
Falcao continued: “What is a fact is that we need [the fans] to always support us, whether we play good or bad. I try to stay away from the commentary. We know what we want, we’re not worried about what is said on the outside.
“We only care about our remaining [matches], what’s in the past cannot be fixed now.”
The 26-year-old, Atlético’s leading scorer with 25 goals on the season in all competitions, feels that his strikes would be all for naught should Atleti fail to achieve their objectives.
“Things have been improving for the team and, individually, I’ve tried to help the team by scoring goals, because above all else, that’s why they brought me here.
“If as a team or collectively we don’t achieve our objectives, all of those goals will be worthless, they would only have value if they serve to do important things, if we achieve that, that’s when they would become valuable.”
While the friendly to be played in the Colombian capital in about two months time was the reason behind Falcao’s press conference, our No. 9 assured that only our upcoming La Liga clash is on his mind.
“We’re only thinking about Zaragoza and then, later, we’ll focus on the Europa League,” he said.
“We’re taking things game-by-game. If on Sunday we don’t come out with a good result, what we did against Athletic will not be worth much.
“From now on all our games will be finals and we have to make it into those [top] spots in the table, that’s our mantra right now and we want to play the match versus Zaragoza badly. They already showed, against Valencia, that they are alive.”
With regard to his compatriot Perea’s future, as the eight-year Atleti veteran has not extended his contract that expires this summer, Falcao said:
“Obviously I want him to renew because of what he means to me and what he has to offer this team, respect and professionalism, but I mean, these are decisions that the directors will have to make and I can’t opine much.”
Curiously, Perea wasn’t included in the ceremony for the friendly in his home country, despite being the national team captain and the foreigner with the most caps at Atlético.
Falcao aims to prove his countrymen wrong
Late Thursday evening, Falcao made an appearance on Spanish radio station Onda Cero’s programme “Al Primer Toque”, where he admitted that his countrymen were staunchly opposed to his decision to leave Porto.
“In my country, 99% of the people thought it was a mistake for me to leave Porto for Atleti,” he said.
“They said it wasn’t a big club and that I wouldn’t score more than 12 goals per season. My numbers speak for themselves without me having to respond verbally.”