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Nov 27, 2012

Falcao: Atletico out to end derby hoodoo

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao says he is not interested in just a draw in Saturday's derby at Real Madrid.

• Diego delighted as Atletico march

Falcao says he and his team-mates, who are currently eight points ahead of their city rivals in the Primera Division table, are targeting a first victory in the fixture in 13 years when they visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

"We players will go out looking to win," Falcao said. "I do not see myself happy to take a draw. Sometimes depending on the circumstances of a game a draw is okay but when we take to the field, we go out to win.

"Players always want to win and take on challenges. The competitive spirit to overcome your opponent comes from inside."

When told that Atletico might be seen as favourites for the game given the respective clubs' recent form, Falcao offered the Colombian version of the English phrase 'the form book goes out the window in derbies' in response.

"I have played in many big derbies and outside circumstances are forgotten in these types of games," he said. "The players go out to win them without any rucksack holding them back. They will look at the game like in this way. We cannot relax."

Atletico have an awful recent record in derby games against Madrid, with no win at the Bernabeu since 1999, and have often fallen apart in the fixture in recent seasons. However, Falcao says current coach Diego Simeone, who he first met aged 21 when 'El Cholo' was his coach at River Plate in Argentina, had instilled a much tougher mental attitude in this Atletico squad.

"We are very strong as a team, maybe more united and compact," he said. "I have never played there, I cannot compare the experience. We are professional players and know how to handle different grounds and pressures. [Simeone] has been important, his way of thinking, of living football, the clarity with which he communicates his ideas and the confidence he gives every player. This allows the squad to raise its level."

Falcao, who said he knows Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo as they share the same agent in Jorge Mendes, and is friendly with Kaka as they attend the same church in Madrid, did not discuss any potential future big money moves to either Madrid or Chelsea, instead saying he planned to end his career at Millonarios - back home in the Colombian capital of Bogota.

"I have said that I would like to retire at Millonarios, the team I support where I have never played," he said. "They live there very well, I am very comfortable and enjoy the city."

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