Atletico's Falcao destroys Chelsea in Super Cup humiliation
Radamel Falcao banged in a memorable hat-trick as Atletico Madrid trounced hapless Chelsea 4-1 on Friday, in a one-sided UEFA Super Cup clash, dpa reported.
The Super Cup is the European curtain-raiser played between the winner of the Champions League and the Europa League, and - as has happened so often before - it was the Europa League winners who seemed much hungrier and far more motivated.
It was Atletico's second Super Cup in three seasons. In 2010 they beat Champions League winner Inter Milan 2-0.
Around 10,000 Atletico fans enjoyed the win in the Stade de Louis II. Many more fans will receive Falcao and his team-mates when they fly back to Madrid with the trophy on Saturday.
Chelsea sorely lacked suspended captain John Terry. In his absence, the Blues defence never managed to come to grips with the impressive Falcao.
The Colombian striker scored two goals for Atletico in their 3-0 Europa League final thrashing of Athletic Bilbao in May, and he confirmed his status as one of world football's leading strikers on Friday with an astonishing first-half display.
Falcao started his exhibition in the sixth minute by making it 1-0 with a deft left-foot chip. He scored an even better goal 13 minutes later, finding the top corner of Petr Cech's goal with another precise left-foot finish.
Rampant Atletico looked capable of scoring with every attack, and Cech needed the help of his posts to keep them at bay.
Falcao completed his hat-trick just before half-time after being played through by the intelligent Arda Turan.
Atletico have done well to hold on to Falcao this summer, in the face of interest from many of Europe's top clubs.
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said during the half-time break: "Falcao did not want to leave us this summer and nobody came with enough money to pay for him.
"Today he is the best centre-forward in the world and he belongs to Atletico Madrid."
After the game Falcao said: "This is something that I had been dreaming about and now, thanks to God, it has come true.
"Finals have to be taken seriously from the very first minute, and tonight we did that the same as in Bucharest (where the Europa League final was played in May)."
Meanwhile, Atletico captain Gabi said: "We thought it was going to be more difficult tonight...We were deserved winners. With this attitude we can achieve important things."
Chelsea's defensive woes continued in the second half, and Brazilian defender Miranda made it 4-0 on the hour after the blue defence had failed to clear a free-kick.
Defender Gary Cahill pulled a consolation goal back for Chelsea 15 minutes from time, after Atletico had failed to deal with a corner from Frank Lampard.
At the other end, Cech had to be on his toes to prevent a fifth goal, and Chelsea defender David Luiz almost scored what would have been an embarrassing own goal.
Cahill said that it had been a massive game which the side had wanted to win. "It all fell to pieces. Everyone was way below par and it was embarrassing at times. We let ourselves down and now we need to bounce back in the league."
It was the last time that the Super Cup was staged in Monte Carlo, its home since 1998. From next season onwards it will be played at a different stadium every year.