Colombian striker Radamel Falcao gave his first interview as a Chelsea player to the club website.
He seems very enthusiastic to start this new adventure with the Blues:
It has been a busy summer for you…
“Yes, I had the Copa America, playing with my national team, and then a holiday. I went for 14 days to visit my family and friends in Colombia and had time to enjoy my people, and then straight here where I have quickly joined the pre-season.”
Jose Mourinho says you come to Chelsea with great motivation to show England how good you are…
“I am with a lot of motivation to join Chelsea. I have challenged myself to play in the Premier League and I am enjoying living this experience with a lot of motivation, with a lot of concentration, because I want to triumph with Chelsea. I want to win the league and to be important in the team.”
It must have been good to hear the manager make it clear over the course of the summer how much he admires you?
“He sent some messages to support me and he said that he believes in me and has faith in me, and for that reason I am very grateful to him and I want to give my 100 per cent for the team and for him.”
You moved to Porto from South America five years after he left but did people there still speak about Jose Mourinho during your time?
“Yes, he left a lot of influence in Porto, and the tactics and the way Porto plays is a legacy of what Jose did there.”
Chelsea fans were grateful when your powerful shot hit the post rather than the net back in April and we went on to record an important 1-0 win over Manchester United. Were Chelsea the best team you played against last season?
“Chelsea showed during the whole season their quality and they maintained that during the whole season. The performance was high and they were the best team during the season.”
There are many of your Colombian fans making their presence heard in Montreal this week. How big are Chelsea back in Colombia?
“In Colombia Chelsea has a lot of supporters and now with Juan Cuadrado and me, 45 million people watch each game, and not only in Colombia, in all of the continent Chelsea has fans.”
You know Juan well, tells us about him…
“Juan is a happy person with very good qualities and skills and he only needs time to grow in this club and be important, like he was when playing in Italy. He is a fantastic player and everybody supports him because all the players and coaches know about his quality. He is so quick over a few metres and I think this season will be a good one for him.
“I talked with Juan before I came to Chelsea but I had decided I would like to join Chelsea some years ago. The media talked about me and Chelsea and it was not possible but this summer finally I come.”
Did you also ask your team-mate at Monaco, Ricardo Carvalho, about us?
“He spoke with me about the club and told me how big is Chelsea and that he had a very good time here. He enjoyed it a lot and he is grateful to the team. He is also a very good defender.”
You are reunited with Diego Costa, a true character…
“He is crazy! And happy. I know him from Atletico and we enjoyed very good times. We shared very good moments and he is a great guy. Among funny moments there, I remember from the cold pool he sent the water over the players – every time!
“We are used to playing together, and the 2012/13 year was very good for Atletico when we scored a lot of goals. We are different kinds of strikers and we complement each other.”
The 2013 Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid when you provided a great assist for Diego Costa to equalise equally well especially stands out…
“We were great in that game. For us it was a fantastic win in the stadium of our main rival. It had been a lot of years without a win in that stadium.”
Thibaut Courtois played too…
“He is very good. He grew a lot as a goalkeeper at Atletico and I am happy for him. He’s a fantastic person as well.”
Coming on as a second-half substitute in a group-stage game for Porto against Chelsea in 2009 might not normally stick in the mind, but this was your Champions League debut…
“I never forget that first match in the Champions League, it was in Stamford Bridge and I liked the club and I thought in that moment I would like to play in this club in the future.
“That was a fantastic Chelsea squad with very good players. It was raining and I remember the pitch was fantastic, perfect, and I came on in the second half and I played well. I remember John [Terry] and Ricardo [Carvalho] were the central defenders and for me it was a very good experience. Then when Porto played at home against Chelsea I was in the starting line-up.”
The next time you played Chelsea was in Monaco in the Super Cup in 2012, a game Blues fans remember but not for good reasons. You were brilliant that night…
“It was maybe my best performance in a match in Europe. I scored three goals and I hit the post twice in the first 45 minutes. It was a fantastic night and the whole Atletico team was brilliant.”
It might have been harder for you had John Terry played…
“John Terry is a legend of this club, of England and of football, and he is a leader. I am happy to share a dressing room with him.”
You might not have noticed but when you came off near the end, not only were the Atletico fans applauding you but the Chelsea fans also…
“I didn’t notice, but that is good.”
We are yet to know but your first football for Chelsea might be against Barcelona in Washington DC, an opponent you of course know well…
“It will be a very good match, two strong teams. The meaning in pre-season is different but always these type of matches create a good atmosphere in the crowd. It will be a good game for American fans to watch.”
Your full name is Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate, with Garcia from your father [a former player] and Zarate from your mother. Often with names in Spanish you would be known by a name containing one of those surnames, so why are your two first names used?
“I don’t know. A lot of people call me Falcao only. Radamel Falcao I am used to as well. My father is called Radamel too, and for that reason I like it that people call me just Falcao.”
Tells us about your English roots…
“My great grandfather was born in Yorkshire and he emigrated to Colombia and he had my grandmother there. Some people from my family came to England to visit Yorkshire and one year some of my cousins wanted to take British nationality but it was not possible. But all of the people in my family have a love for England”.