Club Atlético de Madrid striker Falcao sounded a timely warning to Friday's UEFA Super Cup opponents Chelsea FC by registering the Liga's first hat-trick of 2012/13 in his side's 4-0 home victory over last season's UEFA Europa League final opponents Athletic Club.
'El Tigre' had scored twice as Diego Simeone's team triumphed 3-0 against Athletic in May's final in Bucharest and, on Monday night, he again had the Rojiblancos 2-0 in front at the break with fine strikes. The 26-year-old completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after the restart before midfielder Tiago added a fourth with a long-range effort.
"We are in good spirits and are now looking forward to [Chelsea] on Friday," said Falcao. "
I am pretty satisfied with the part I played tonight but I have to say that above all it's great that the team played so well and managed to gain such a convincing win."
After arriving at the Vicente Calderón last summer, the Colombian international went on to become the first player to top the UEFA Europa League (and UEFA Cup) goalscoring chart two years running; his 12 strikes last term added to his 17-goal record haul in FC Porto's trophy-winning run the season before.
Now off the mark for this campaign, the former CA River Plate forward insists he wants to better the 36 goals he managed in 50 outings in all competitions last term. "I have said many times how happy I am at Atlético and my aim is to improve on last year's statistics."
The first to sing Falcao's praises after Atlético's first victory of 2012/13 was coach Simeone, who said the No9's performance was "extraordinary, almost perfect".
"With him in that form we were able to find our way quite easily," Simeone said, before turning to Friday's Monaco assignment. "We are now going to face one of the biggest teams in England who are extremely powerful. The match represents so much hope and expectation for everyone associated with our club."
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.