Former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has claimed that his previous club couldn’t keep hold of its best players during his time in Spain.
Falcao, who spent two seasons at the Vicente Calderón earlier in his career, will return to face Atletico with Monaco for the first time since his controversial £50 million move in 2013.
Monaco sit bottom of Group A and are already eliminated from the Champions League while Atletico sit level on points with leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Thierry Henry is also looking forward to a return to a country where he spent three successful seasons during his playing days.
Despite his relatively short time in the Spanish capital, Radamel Falcao made a huge impression on the Atleti fans. His deadly combination of pace, power and prolific finishing put him on a pedestal with the greatest strikers in the world.
Falcao netted twice in the 2012 Europa League final against Athletic Bilbao in Bucharest before putting three past European Champions Chelsea in the Super Cup. He was voted into the FIFA World XI later that year, being included ahead of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Didier Drogba and Sergio Aguero.
“It’s always good to return to Atletico’s stadium, it’s been a long time. The moments that I lived and the memories will always stay with me. Reconnecting with the fans and club will generate a lot of emotion,” said Falcao ahead of his return.
“Since I left Atletico, the team has been able to keep its most important players. When I was there, they weren’t able to do that. They couldn’t keep players like Aguero, Forlan and others.”
Falcao left Madrid for Monaco in 2013, with many football fans citing money as the reason for the move. A series of knee problems and two loan spells in the Premier League have limited Falcao’s influence on the French club but he was an integral part of the Monaco team that won the Ligue 1 title in 2017.
His current manager also spent time in Spain during his playing career. Thierry Henry revealed in the same press conference what he’d taken away from Spanish football through his three years at Barcelona: “I learned that every time here plays well, above all away from home. When we came to play with Barça it wasn’t easy, the teams tried to play attacking football and the fans put pressure on you.
“I learned from Guardiola, from La Liga, how the teams played. I had the opportunity to learn about many leagues but Spain was a fantastic time for me.”
Like Falcao, Henry is looking forward to facing Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone in particular: “Like Falcao said, we don’t fear them. It’s difficult to play against one of the best teams and one of the best coaches. You have to be positive, it’s going to be a battle.”
A win for Simeone against Henry and Monaco would guarantee qualification for the knockout stage while Monaco are simply playing for pride.