Chelsea target Falcao won’t leave Atletico in January
Speaking at the 7th Dubai International Sports Conference at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel here on Saturday, the in-demand Colombian hitman insisted he would snub a possible move to one of the continent’s biggest clubs in order to stay with Atletico, at least until the end of the season.
The 26-year-old was talking during a discussion on modern players with cancer-surviving Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, who himself revealed he would give up his place in the team if he fails to reach his former standards following his return to training this month after a liver transplant.
Clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with a January move for 20-goal forward Falcao as he has a reported â¬58.7 million (Dh287.6 million) buyout clause in his Atletico contract, which runs until the summer of 2015.
But the former Porto and River Plate man said: “I have three years of contract with Atletico Madrid, I have seen a great season with the squad and my aim is to finish this season properly.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future but the club has made a major effort that I stay with them this year and for the moment I’m only thinking about fulfilling the objectives of the team and my own personal objectives.
“I feel pride to learn that the work I have been doing is acknowledged by other clubs. Having said that, I’m very happy in my club and I’m very calm. I know we are having a good season and I hope to continue in this way because this will help Atletico Madrid and myself — everyone will benefit.”
Abidal, meanwhile, told the Dubai crowd he wanted to earn his place in the Barcelona team on merit after making a rapid recovery from surgery in April.
“I’m much better now in terms of health. It’s been a tough path the last few years, but I feel much better now and doctors have given me the go-ahead to return to training. I don’t have the exact date of when I’m going to start playing, but at the moment I’m enjoying every single day just training with the team,” the 61-cap Frenchman said.
“I think it’s going to be difficult to have the same kind of physical condition as before, but I will try to do my best and try to help the team. If I see that I cannot go any longer and that I can’t do it, then I will give my position to younger players. I’m 33 years old, it’s the end of my career. I have enjoyed it greatly but, when the time comes, God will show me a different way and I will have to follow my new path.”
On Friday night, Abidal was awarded the Globe Soccer Player of his Career at the third annual Audi Football Night in Dubai.
In a glittering gala event, part of the Dubai International Sports Conference, Abidal was presented with the honour by Chayne Brand, Marketing Director, Audi Middle East, and Alexandre Rosell, President of FC Barcelona, in front of many of the game’s biggest names, including Real Madrid coach JosÃ¨ Mourinho and Radamel Falcao.
Presented by Al Nabooda Automobiles, the official dealer of Audi in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain, the awards event took place at the Armani Hotel.
An illustrious awards panel comprising 13 top representatives from the world of sport, including former England manager Fabio Capello, former Portugal star Luis Figo, Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and Mohammad Al Kamali, Secretary General UAE National Olympic Committee, decided the winners in each of the 10 categories.
Other winners on the night were Atletico Madrid for Globe Soccer Club of the Year, Diego Maradona for Player of the Century and Hassan Mohammad for UAE Goal Scorer of the Year.