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Falcao happy to play second fiddle for Atlético

Published: Tuesday 8 May 2012, 19.59CET
Falcao's exploits have led to a Bucharest metro station being named in his honour, but, ahead of the final, he stresses he is just part of Club Atlético de Madrid's finely-tuned side.
by John Atkin
from National Arena Bucharest
Falcao happy to play second fiddle for Atlético
Falcao speaks at Tuesday's press conference ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

AtléticoAthletic

Goals scored33
 
28
Attempts on target80
 
81
Attempts off target64
 
100
Corners86
 
96
Offsides38
 
37
Fouls committed276
 
219
Yellow cards32
 
39
Red cards1
 
1

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Published: Tuesday 8 May 2012, 19.59CET

Falcao happy to play second fiddle for Atlético

Falcao's exploits have led to a Bucharest metro station being named in his honour, but, ahead of the final, he stresses he is just part of Club Atlético de Madrid's finely-tuned side.

Bucharest's annual two-week EUROPAfest music event is in full swing, but as football temporarily took centre stage, Falcao was keen to stress that Club Atlético de Madrid are anything but a one-man band.

Having added ten goals this season to the 17 he mustered last term in FC Porto's run to glory, including the winner in the Dublin final, the striker is being billed in some quarters as a kind of UEFA Europa League juggernaut. That, he insists, could not be further from the truth. "A goal in games like this marks a player," he said, having had a metro station in the city temporarily named after him. "If you score in games like these it's a very special feeling, it helps you relax; but it's always more important to win."

Atlético are favourites to do so against Athletic Club amid a strong end to the campaign, a seven-match unbeaten run meaning hopes of a UEFA Champions League place are still alive going into the last game of the Liga season. Falcao is taking nothing for granted, however. "This is going to be a very tough match – like any other final. Both teams want to win, both teams can win. Both coaches know each other very well, as do the teams. I believe the small things will make all the difference."

The sense of excitement and anticipation is tangible, though followers of his Twitter account knew that already as his missives get more and more frequent – his eulogies to the movie American Reunion could soon be happily consigned to the past (or, at least, buried down the page). Falcao, though, is very much in the present, and on the cusp of something unique: becoming the first player to win back-to-back UEFA Europa League titles with different clubs.

He admits that would be "special" but immediately returns to extolling the virtues of a team ethos, of the orchestra over the virtuoso performer. He projects the same mantra on to Wednesday's opponents in the Romanian capital. "Athletic don't depend on any individual player. They're full of them, and they tend to step up when it matters; they're big-game players. They have a very strong side, but we don't focus on individuals.

"Atlético have experience and experience is always important in these matches, but when you are young you have a real appetite for winning. It's finding the balance that is key – I think we have it."

Last updated: 05/12/12 2.35CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000277/match=2007480/prematch/focus/index.html#falcao+extols+team+virtues

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