Atlético’s two-goal hero of the Europa League has paid homage to the support he received from the other 10 men on the pitch during the 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Radamel Falcao’s incredible strike on just six minutes set the tone of the match for Atlético who hardly looked challenged from there on.
Speaking to UEFA.com, the Colombian said, “I can’t do justice to just how happy I am. I owe it to the team, they helped me a lot.
“I think the pressure we managed to put on them when they were on the ball was key, in every area of the pitch. It’s a dream come true.
“When I came to Atletico I said I’d come to win titles. I dedicate it to God and my family.”
Falcao’s double capped off a remarkable two seasons in the Europa League, having won the same trophy last year with Portuguese club FC Porto. The striker reflected upon the previous 24 months.
“I’m just speechless, unable to describe all this: to have won the Europa League with two different clubs, and above all to be the top scorer two years running.”
Victorious manager, Diego Simeone, couldn’t hide his delight at the performance Falcao and his team-mates put in.
“Tonight we showed what Atlético are about – a fast team, strong defensively and I’m very proud of this,” he said.
“Big players run a risk because they have experience but if they can’t put their past wins to one side and get excited, their experience counts for nothing.
“Falcao is the best example – he forgot what he did last year and because of that he could live the moment he did today.”
Simeone has turned his attention towards this weekend’s crucial match against Villarreal which may determine whether or not Atlético features in next season’s Champions League. ‘El Cholo’ sees it as a chance to persuade the other goalscorer from the final, the on-loan Diego, to stay.
“Diego is a player who makes the difference – if he’s playing well, you have a chance of winning. We have to try to get into the Champions League to see if he’ll stay with us.”