No Manchester City, no Chelsea. There’s something special brewing in Atletico Madrid these past couple of seasons, and the biggest part of the equation is Radamel Falcao, probably the popular choice for best striker in the world at the moment. As long as he is happy with where the club is heading, it seems Atletico fans don’t need to worry too much.

That’s the way of the world these days, always has been. The big fish eat the little fish, or at least ask for some sacrifice from time to time, allowing the little fish to survive. Atletico Madrid aren’t out of the clear with their financial problems, but president Enrique Cerezo has been able to build, along with Jose Luis Caminero, the sporting director, a team that’s worthy of returning to the Champions League. A return to the elite group of European football means a much needed cash injection into the club’s treasure chest.

Falcao has been on the sights of the big clubs for about a year now. When he succeeded with Porto under Andre Villas-Boas, it was in the Europa League, so the big boys weren’t bothered with his scoring record. Last season, with Atletico, he got a much broader stage to preform in, and it didn’t really matter that his European triumph came in the secondary continental competition again.

Then came the performance against Chelsea in the Super Cup, and there was no stopping the rumors of Falcao making a €40 million move, at least, to one of the bigger clubs in the Premier League. So far this season Atletico are ranked second in Spain, enjoying a fabulous first half to the campaign except for the losses to Real Madrid and Barcelona, which leveled them and their ambitions a bit. Winning a league title for the first time since 1996 is going to take a bit more.

And that more revolves around keeping Falcao. Luckily for them, at least according to what Falcao is saying at the moment, the Colombian striker wants to stay.

I recognize the great effort Enrique Cerezo has made for me to stay at the club, and thank goodness our sporting results have been positive. We expect that to remain so until the end of the season.

Cerezo keeps talking about wanting to retain not just Falcao but the entire Atletico squad, hoping to build something permanent  which includes multiple qualifications to the Champions League and eventually the ability to make the two headed monster at the top of the La Liga open for a third applicant.

With Diego Simeone and with some of the signings over the last two seasons, it looks like Atletico are on the right way. Most players on their team are replaceable – Adrian is another name that keeps coming up in transfer rumors, usually linked with Arsenal. For Falcao, who has scored 56 goals in 66 matches since joining the team, there isn’t going to be a suitable replacement, no matter the amount of cash they manage to get for him.

Images: Source