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The Argentina international has warned his teammates to be wary of the prolific striker when his country meets Colombia in Friday's South American qualifier.

Argentina star Javier Mascherano has praised Colombia forward Radamel Falcao, labelling him as "one of the most important strikers in the world."

The two nations are set to meet in World Cup qualifying on Friday with Argentina leading the CONMEBOL table on 24 points while Colombia is in third place on 19 points with a game in hand. Mascherano has warned his side against the threat of Falcao, whom he came up against in La Liga when the former Atletico Madrid attacker played against Barcelona.

"Falcao is one of the most important strikers in the world. He has improved a lot in the last three or four years," Mascherano told reporters. "His improvement has been something out of this world. In the national team we have players that know him well, like [on-loan Getafe defender] Federico Fernandez, [Inter's] Hugo Campagnaro and [Benfica's] Ezequiel Garay.

"[Colombia coach Jose] Pekerman has built a team with players around Falcao, so we will have to dismantle their offensive rhythm."

Falcao recently joined newly promoted Ligue 1 side Monaco for 60 million euros after netting 34 goals this season.