MILAN: Russia coach Fabio Capello praised Atletico Madrid star striker Radamel Falcao, saying the Colombia international has impressed him as much as Lionel Messi when he saw him for the first time.
The 26-year-old Falcao has been in sublime form in the opening weeks of this season, scoring hattricks against Athletic Bilbao and Chelsea, and his good performances have earned him positive words from the former England boss.
"Throughout my entire career, there has been only one player who impressed me as much as Messi when I first saw him against my Juventus at the Joan Gamper trophy, and that is Radamel Falcao," Capello told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He is a fantastic striker, without a doubt the best around at the moment."
Falcao has been linked with clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester City in recent weeks, but is under contract with Atletico until June 2016.
Atletico skipper Gabi also praised Falcao, and feels the Colombia international is the best striker in the world.
Falcao has impressed in recent weeks with hat-tricks against Athletic Bilbao and Chelsea.
And Gabi believes that many clubs would like to sign him if the opportunity arose.
"Falcao is the best No.9 in the world and everybody wants to sign him," Gabi told AS.
"He's very high on confidence at the moment and always works hard. He has found his best style of play. Moving around and inside the area rather than dropping deep to collect the ball. His aerial power is brutal. He is the best header in the world, well ahead of everybody else.
"I spend a lot of time with him as he's my roommate. He has a lot of ambition and he knows that he can achieve things here. He's happy to stay at Atletico and I can really see him staying put."