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The sporting director emphasised the sacrifices his side made to ensure the prolific Colombia striker stayed in the Spanish capital and hailed Diego Simeone's reign at the helm

Jose Luis Caminero has revealed the "titanic efforts" that Atletico Madrid were forced to make in order to keep Radamel Falcao at the Vicente Calderon this season.

The striker joined Los Rojiblancos in the summer of 2011 from Porto for a reported 40 million and scored 36 goals to fire his side to fifth place in La Liga and help win the Europa League trophy.

His exploits unsurprisingly saw him linked with a move away, but the sporting director is delighted to reap the rewards for the hard work he put in to ensure the Colombian remained loyal to the club.

"You have to appreciate the efforts made by the club," he told the club's official website. "In these times it is difficult to keep a player of his class.

"You can bet it was a titanic effort and we thank them [Falcao and his representatives].

"We have all benefited [from his stay] and we are happy to have one of the best players in the world at this club."

Caminero then lavished praise on coach and former midfielder Diego Simeone for steadying the ship shortly after his arrival last December and building on his initial success by guiding Atleti to second spot this term, while securing their progression in Europe and the Copa del Rey.

"Simeone is a clear point of reference," he added. "He was here as a player and knows what is required and what is sought for the identity of the club.

"He has given the team the desire to win. His guts and character can be seen in our fast style of play. The side is conscious of the need to go game by game and it shows in every match.

"It has been a job well done and the players and the coach have connected quickly with each other.

"Their work is what has made the team. The fans and the club are united, there is a positive feeling and it is a very good time where we all want to keep working."

The ex-Spain international also looked ahead to the second half of the campaign and was certain that the capital outfit are well on course to reach all of their objectives come May.

"We ended 2012 on a high note," Caminero remarked. "Our main objective [for the season] was to get into the Champions League and we are still working on that idea.

"We also want to go as far as possible in Europe and the Copa del Rey. The commitment of the players and the coach is sky high and I give a very good score for a difficult year.

"We are required to face every game like a final, but we are prepared to take on any challenge."

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