Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has classed red-hot striker Radamel Falcao as one of the top three players on the planet - and issued an ominous warning to future opponents that the Colombia ace is still improving.
Falcao's superb match-winning free-kick at Real Sociedad at the weekend took his season tally to 12 in all competitions, having last term netted 36 goals in his maiden campaign with Atletico.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's visit of Academica in the Europa League - a competition Falcao has won in the last two years with Porto and Atletico but has yet to be unleashed upon this season - Simeone heaped praise on the 26-year-old, who he believes is in a similar class to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Asked if he thought it was unfair Falcao was not being talked about as a candidate to win the Ballon D'Or, Simeone said: "Absolutely. He was the leading scorer in the last two Europa Leagues, won them both, won the European Supercopa....he is among the three best players in the world.
"Ronaldo and Messi have shown what they can do but he has nothing to be jealous of anybody else for."
Falcao has scored in each of his last 10 games for club and country, netting 16 goals in total, but Simeone has suggested there is even more to come from the former River Plate striker in terms of effectiveness in front of net.
"I think that he's growing game by game with regards to deciding where best to be inside the area," he said.
"Every day he is more competitive and more potent in a place where there are less and less strikers of this type."