Radamel Falcao rejected two Chinese league offers to stay at Chelsea
Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao said he was tempted by two separate offers in the Chinese Super League, but his preference has been to stick it out in the Premier League and return to full form.
Falcao has made just 11 appearances for the Blues in all competitions since arriving at Stamford Bridge on loan from Monaco in the summer, scoring one goal, and has not featured since picking up what former boss Jose Mourinho described as "an important muscular injury" in training in November.
In the wake of Mourinho's departure, Falcao said that he expected to be given more first-team opportunities at Chelsea in the second half of the season, but interim manager Guus Hiddink subsequently revealed that the striker had suffered a "very serious" setback in his recovery from a thigh injury.
"I am certain that this week I will be taken into consideration [to play]," the Colombian told El Tiempo newspaper. "I am fine, I feel good and at the level of the squad. I have to go step by step, calmly and with prudence."
The 30-year-old striker said he rejected two offers from China in the most recent transfer window to stay at Chelsea.
"It is true that I had two different offers in Chinese football but I stayed in England to give myself a chance," he said. "Going there would have been the easy way out, because it was a great offer. But I preferred to stay here and fight."
The 30-year-old was widely considered one of the deadliest goal scorers in world football prior to rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament for Monaco in January 2013, but Falcao said that injury has nothing to do with his more recent problems.
"I try to give my all every day at training. I think that God willing I will return to top form, play regularly and have continuity. I do on the field what I know how to do, the same way and with the same passion as always. I give my best, but I have to take things day by day," he said. "My priority today is to feel better again on the field and earn a spot on the first team so that hopefully, in the near future, I can once again score goals and help the team win."
To his critics, Falcao said: "Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I know that my career is up for public judgment, but I also know that in football, things change. It is true that one cannot always win, but one must keep working and have faith that in the future, the situation will improve."
Asked what his agent, Jorge Mendes, has said about his chances of staying at Chelsea when his loan ends on April 29, Falcao said he does not know.
"I am focused on this club and I live from day to day," he said. "Football changes quickly and what cannot possibly happen today turns into something that can maybe happen tomorrow. I am not thinking about what might happen on April 29. My job is to give it my everything from day to day and when the moment comes to make decision, well, then I shall analyse and we shall see. Because in football, things change."
Falcao admitted that he struggled at Manchester United.
"I was used to playing all the time and being a starter," he said. "After my knee surgery I went to Manchester United and they were beginning a new process after 25 years with the same manager [Alex Ferguson]. They had many new players and I didn't have the opportunities I expected. Because of that, I sought other options and came to Chelsea, they were the league champions. I accepted the challenge of staying here, in England, when I could have gone anywhere else but I wanted to stay here to give myself another chance.
"Chelsea's level of play dropped and we couldn't sustain that championship level," he said. "The results were adverse and that made my opportunities for regular play more complicated. After my last injury, well, I lost a lot of time."