MONACO (AP) " Monaco's top scorer Radamel Falcao looks set to stay at the French league leaders next season.
The Colombia striker, who has one year left on his contract, gave reassuring signs he will stay in an interview with sports daily L'Equipe - and there was plenty of support too from Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semifinal against Juventus.
Falcao turned down a lucrative move to the Chinese league in January and is happy to extend his contract, he told L'Equipe on Tuesday, providing the club pledges to be ambitious next season.
"I feel very good, we're all happy and the results are good. All will depend on the club's objectives," Falcao said. "If Monaco still has the objective of winning trophies in France and in Europe " which is why I came here " then I will be delighted to stay."
Ahead of Wednesday's first leg match, Jardim made it clear that the club wants to keep its top striker.
"We want the big players to stay with Monaco and Falcao is one of those," Jardim told a pre-match news conference. "Everyone wants him to stay."
The first of Monaco's 146 goals this season was scored by Falcao way back on July 27, against Turkish side Fenerbahce in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
At that point, few were backing him to reach 28 overall for the season and rediscover the form that made him one of Europe's most feared strikers before a serious knee injury in 2014. He has netted 19 in 26 league games this season for French league leader Monaco, even more impressive considering seven of those have been as a substitute.
"It's been a great experience to play alongside him," Monaco's Brazilian center half Jemerson said Tuesday. "When he plays, he is often decisive for us. Defenders are a bit wary of facing him and it's important to have players like that in your side."
Falcao has fought back from disappointing loan spells with Manchester United and Chelsea in the past two seasons and is close to his best.
Although he missed a penalty at Manchester City in the first leg of their Round-of-16 contest, he also scored two well-taken goals in that game. In the return leg against Borussia Dortmund, his excellent diving header made it 2-0 and put Monaco on course for a semifinal spot after a 3-1 win made it 6-3 on aggregate.
"Before his injury, Falcao was one of the best strikers around," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said Tuesday through a translator. "He's coming back very strongly."
Falcao has formed a superb partnership with 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, who has netted 24 times.
Mbappe's pace, power and brutally direct style gels perfectly with the guile, movement and experience of Falcao. The Colombian rocketed to international fame after scoring 70 goals in 91 games with Atletico Madrid before joining Monaco in the summer of 2013.
The 31-year-old forward has 234 goals in 397 career games, having also enjoyed productive spells with River Plate and Porto.
A miserable five goals in a combined 41 games for Manchester United and Chelsea failed to shake his self-belief.
"It's one of my best seasons," Falcao said. "If we win the two competitions we're involved in, it will be the best, for sure."