Falcao says scoring four goals against Villarreal CF in the last four represents a "highlight of my career", and as FC Porto gear up for the UEFA Europa League final he is eager to add another – SC Braga, the on-song striker knows, will have other ideas.
This has been a sensational campaign for Porto. On Saturday the newly-crowned champions became only the second side after SL Benfica in 1972/73 to go through a Liga campaign unbeaten by defeating CS Marítimo 2-0, and are two matches away from a historic treble. Vitória SC await in next Sunday's Portuguese Cup showpiece but for now all talk of that and emulating José Mourinho's 2002/03 team's clean sweep are being ignored – Porto are not looking beyond Dublin.
"We had a clear mentality this season," said Falcao, scorer of 15 goals in his last eight games. "We wanted to get as far as possible in every competition. On a personal level, I wanted to play well in all competitions and give my best for the team. In the Europa League I have been scoring lots of goals and while I'm very happy about the standard I have managed all round, I've saved my best for the Europa League."
That is an understatement. The Colombian international had scored 11 goals in as many games in the competition going into the semi-final meeting with Villarreal. By the end of the tie it was 16 in 13, a second-leg strike supplementing his maiden polka (the Iberian term for a four-goal haul) in the first. "It's a highlight of my career," said the 25-year-old. "To come from behind was special, but to go on and win 5-1 in front of our fans meant a lot."
There will be a sizeable contingent of Porto supporters for the final in Dublin on Wednesday, too, all expecting another grandstand performance against a Braga side they have beaten twice this season. It may not be quite that easy though, according to Falcao, citing the Arsenalistas' triumphs over Liverpool FC, FC Dynamo Kyiv and SL Benfica as evidence. "Braga have demonstrated over the season that they have a strong team, achieving great results at home and away.
"We know it will be a difficult match, but first and foremost we are thinking about ourselves and what we can do; we will do all we can to stop Braga playing their own game."
A goal would do the trick, and having broken Jürgen Klinsmann's 15-year-old record for a single UEFA Europa League or UEFA Cup campaign last time out, Falcao is not ready to stop just yet. "
Being in my second year in Europe, and beating the record of an incredible player like Klinsmann, who was a role model for me, means a lot. It's very important on a personal level, but it's more important to win the Europa League: that's the goal now."
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