Monday 07 November 2016, 11:55

Falcao: Working and fighting got me here

Radamel Falcao has attributed his comeback from injuries to his fighting spirit and revealed he has fond memories of playing for Colombia against Chile. The 30-year-old, who bagged a brace in Monaco’s 6-0 thrashing of Nancy on Saturday and has eight goals in nine games this season, returned to the Cafeteros squad for the first time in over a year for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifiers at home to La Roja and away to Argentina.

“I’m pleased with this new opportunity,” Falcao told reporters as he arrived in Barranquilla, where Colombia host Chile on Thursday. “I’ve worked hard to be able to return to the Colombian national team. It’s a call-up that I’d been awaiting for a long time. Thank God I could play, score goals, and earn the merit to be here.

“Fortunately I’ve been able to get through these types of situations. It is something I have lived through and overcome, and I didn’t want this to be an exception. Working and fighting you can get there."

In Brazil 2014 qualifying, a well-taken Falcao goal helped Colombia to a 3-1 comeback win over Chile in Santiago. In the return meeting in Barranquilla, La Roja led 3-0 with little over 20 minutes remaining, but a pair of Falcao penalties – he gave Claudio Bravo no chance with either – inspired Los Cafeteros to a 3-3 draw that seized them a return to the World Cup for the first time since France 1998.

“The dream for all of us is to be at the World Cup,” said the former River Plate, Porto and Atletico Madrid goal machine. “Chile bring us good memories, but this is a new chapter, a new match. Colombia and Chile are great national teams. have shown in recent Copa Americas that they are very strong, and now we expect to be strong in our home and realise our objective.”

Colombia are fourth in South American qualifying, behind Ecuador on goal difference, Uruguay by three points and leaders Brazil by four. Chile and Argentina are a point back in fifth and sixth.

With 25 goals in 62 internationals, Falcao is Colombia’s all-time joint-leading marksman alongside Arnoldo Iguaran. El Tigre came second, behind Miroslav Stoch, in the FIFA Puskás Award running in 2012.