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Football

Falcao aims to take Monaco to ‘European peak’

Colombian forward Radamel Falcao looks on during a press conference on July 9, 2013 in Monaco. (AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE)

MONACO: Monaco’s newly acquired Colombian striker Radamel Falcao said Tuesday he wanted to steer the ambitious freshly promoted French Ligue 1 side “to the top of European football.” Falcao, 27, joined the principality outfit from Spanish side Atletico Madrid at the end of May for a French record 60 million euros ($77.2 million), as Monaco signaled their intent following the club’s return to the top-flight.

“I’m delighted to be part of this project, we want to bring Monaco to the top of European football,” said Falcao as he was presented to the media Tuesday.

“We have great players, great desire and lots of ambition. We want to build a strong and close-knit team with the desire to excel and win lots of trophies,” added the Colombian.

Monaco sporting director Vadim Vasilyev admitted the acquisition of one of the game’s top strikers was a real coup for the club.

“We had a lot of competition for the signature of Radamel Falcao. That’s normal and it’s fantastic that he chose to join Monaco.

“We hope to build a team around Falcao. He represents everything we like, he’s a great person and a great player,” concluded Vasilyev.

Falcao’s international teammate James Rodriguez and Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho were also unveiled to the press following their arrivals from Porto.

“I wanted to discover a different league. Ligue 1 is evolving right now and has quite a few good teams such as Paris, Marseille, Lyon and now Monaco,” said the 26-year-old Moutinho.

“The medium-term project of qualifying for the Champions League from this season onwards and the presence of great players, all that appealed to me. We want to show ourselves in Europe,” he added.

Monaco also announced Tuesday that they would appeal their two-point deduction for next season, according to a club source.

The team were deducted two points, with a third suspended, and ordered to play a game behind closed doors as punishment for their supporters’ behavior during a Ligue 2 match at home to Le Mans on May 17. Fans set off bangers and flares and invaded the pitch, while one spectator attacked the referee.

Monaco will appeal against the Professional Football League’s decision claiming the punishment was “severe” and didn’t take into account “the work done by the club over several years for the best organization of home matches.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 10, 2013, on page 15.

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