Simeone: Work has made Falcao the best
Hard work and desire have made Radamel Falcao the best striker in the world, his Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said.
Falcao's eight goals in six games have played a major part in putting Atletico joint top of the Primera Division standings alongside Barcelona - and explain why Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City are all reportedly interested in paying the €60 million release clause in his contract.
The Colombian international continued his superb start to the season with both goals in his country's 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against Paraguay on Friday, and arrived back in Madrid a day early for training this week.
Simeone told AS this type of commitment was the key to Falcao's success, saying: "Radamel has worked for this moment, and everything that is happening is a consequence of what he gives to football, of his work.
"I hope he can continue along this line because his best virtue is his character and his desire. He is definitely the best number nine in the world."
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said earlier this week that Falcao could remain at the Vicente Calderon club next season - even if another club offered to pay the €60 million clause - because the player is happy where he is.
Simeone said: "The president gave his opinion and expressed what he feels. But we are just thinking about [the next game against] Real Sociedad. They are a good team, above all at home. It will be a tough match."
The former Argentina international midfielder, who returned home to watch his son score as the albiceleste Under-20 team beat Chile 2-1 last weekend, said his objective was to ensure that none of his players relaxed after their impressive start.
"I try not to look back or forward, just to go from day to day, that is what works for me," he said. "That makes sure I do not forget that Atletico is a demanding club, which must be competitive.
"So I do not like the word 'relaxed' - it disturbs me, it makes me afraid. I want my team to be awake, to know they are playing a big opponent and to keep being competitive. And to keep playing as they have been. That is the objective for Sunday."