If you ever hypothesized that the Europa Cup last season was the competition with the talent, the passion, and the more compelling matches, then you had your proof today. It was Atletico at the end looking as if it could have played another 90 minutes while Chelsea looked like it wanted back those 90 minutes, each minute more painful than the one before.
Radamel Falcao made them look like a team from Shrewington Newsbury and remember this is a Chelsea team that is exponentially better than the one that won the Champions League because they have you know, creativity now for £80m more and Fernando Torres improved version 3.7. The Spanish striker was returning to his old club for what should have been a sweet reunion but at the end was all snarly like and ready to punch every Rojiblanco fan in the face.
The Colombian scored a hat trick and each of his goals had this sweet, calculating touch. You realize Falcao is a pretty special player not because he scores a zillion goals. He is special because he makes himself available and seamless with the team.
It’s not as if he has to have service at his feet, he’s most happy to go to midfield or to the wing and help Koke, Arda Turan, Gabi and Adrian Lopez get him the ball which when he does, shows how he sets up with a perfect first touch. Then with a wiggle and shake, he creates space, affixes a mental map of goalie and gaps between goalie and obstructing structures or between goalie’s legs, and pulls the trigger. If there were tests of visuo-spatial superiority, Falcao would be breaking all sorts of records. There are few who can do it better than Falcao. Check out his second goal.