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Tito Vilanova returns to dugout as Barcelona win 4-0 against Espanyol

Vilanova returns to dugout as Messi gets his first of the year in 4-0 Barca win

PUBLISHED:

20:22 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 6 January 2013

Tito Vilanova returned to the Barcelona bench with the minimum of fuss tonight as his side got all of their work done inside the first 30 minutes of the Catalan derby.

Manager Vilanova, back at the helm after a brief spell out for surgery on his parotid gland after contracting cancer for the second time, was given the easiest of nights as his stellar cast of players made life comfortable for him.

They had scored all of their goals by the time the 30th minute ticked by and after that it was procession football, with Pedro twice denied a hat-trick by the offside flag while other chances also passed.

Back with a bang: Pedro Rodriguez scores past Kiko Casilla

Back with a bang: Pedro Rodriguez scores past Kiko Casilla

After Xavi had opened the scoring, Pedro then chimed in with his brace before Lionel Messi set off on his pursuit of 100 goals this year with a penalty.

The Argentinian scored a record-breaking 91 times in 2012 and is expected to go even further this time around. His only regret will be that he did not make the most of the leisurely second-half conditions.

The writing was on the wall for Javier Aguirre's side early on, with Xavi's goal setting the template for how Barca would play all night.

All together now: Barcelona's players celebrate their 4-0 win

All together now: Barcelona's players celebrate their 4-0 win

Messi slid a pass through to Andres
Iniesta on the left, the cut-back arriving for Xavi to tap in from close
range, and he opened his body slightly to make the finish.

Three minutes later Messi and Cesc
Fabregas combined to release Iniesta but he was denied by Francisco
Casilla, but the keeper could do nothing as Pedro got his first in the
15th minute.

Again it was from a cut-back, this
time from Fabregas, and at first it looked as though it was Messi`s
goal, with replays then showing Pedro got the slightest of touches to
his shot.

Good to be back: Tito Vilanova returned to the dug-out to see Barcelona win 4-0

Good to be back: Tito Vilanova returned to the dug-out to see Barcelona win 4-0

It was three with 27 minutes gone,
Pedro racing onto Sergio Busquets' defence-splitting pass and lobbing
Casilla, and the keeper was all at sea again a minute later as he
bundled over Fabregas as he went away from goal.

Messi duly stepped up and converted from the spot, the first goal of what will no doubt be many this year.

The brakes were applied a little after that, with Espanyol defending better and Barca not as incisive. Casilla denied

In the goals: Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013

In the goals: Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013

Fabregas and a flag denied Pedro a 65th-minute hat-trick when Fabregas, crossing after Messi`s pass, was called offside.

The same thing happened again with 17
minutes left as Pedro chipped wide to Alves and then followed in to
score from the cross, while Espanyol`s only real chance ended with
Victor Valdes saving from a clean-through Juan Albin.

Messi then rattled the bar with a
25-yard free-kick, but after such an early rush, there would be no more
goals as Barca restored their 16-point lead over Real Madrid.

Mersey XI for 2012… combined Liverpool and Everton side

Mersey XI for 2012: Find out who makes the cut for our combined Liverpool-Everton side

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 28 December 2012

It has been another dramatic year on Merseyside. Trophies have been won, managers have gone, big signings have arrived and the banter between supporters remains as fierce as ever.

But, given the way both teams have performed over the last 12 months, if you were to pick a team that comprises both Liverpool and Everton players, who would make your final cut History suggests a Mersey XI would be dominated by Red shirts but is that now the case

This time last year, Mersey Beat put forward its Liver-ton team of 2011. It was as follows…

Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Lucas, Marouane Fellaini, Maxi Rodriguez, Leon Osman, Craig Bellamy, Luis Suarez.

That was seven Reds, compared to four Blues. Will that be the case now

Here, for your arguing and debating, is the class of 2012. Some choices are obvious, others less so. The system we have chosen is 4-1-3-2, so there should be plenty of goals.

GOALKEEPER…

TIM HOWARD – Everton’s No 1 takes the gloves off Pepe Reina. /12/28/article-2254232-1687D968000005DC-44_634x416.jpg” width=”634″ height=”416″ alt=”Net gains: Tim Howard is the rock at the back for Everton” class=”blkBorder” />

Net gains: Tim Howard is the rock at the back for Everton

RIGHT-BACK…

GLEN JOHNSON – The lazy argument to put forward about Johnson is that he can’t defend. That simply isn’t the case. Whether he has been played on the left or in his natural position on the right, his performances through the year have generally been high class.

CENTRAL DEFENDERS…

PHIL JAGIELKA and DANIEL AGGER – Everton’s vice-captain has stamped himself as one of England’s best and has claims to be first choice at international level, now that John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are out of the picture. Agger, meanwhile, has enjoyed his best year at Liverpool and regularly showed why Manchester City made a 20million offer for him.

Inspirational: Phil Jagielka

Hardman: Daniel Agger

No way past: Phil Jagielka (left) and Daniel Agger have been solid for their respective sides

LEFT-BACK…

LEIGHTON BAINES – The upward trajectory Baines has been on shows no signs of tapering out. A sign of how good he has been comes from the fact that a legitimate debate can be held over who should start for England: him or Ashley Cole. The first name on Everton’s team-sheet.

HOLDING MIDFIELDER…

DARRON GIBSON – Is this the most contentious selection He was rather unheralded when arriving from Manchester United but he has been crucial in Everton’s development. His range of passing and discipline has been outstanding.

Central figure: Darron Gibson has been an inspired signing for David Moyes

Central figure: Darron Gibson has been an inspired signing for David Moyes

RIGHT-SIDE ATTACK…

LEON OSMAN – That he was given a first England cap in November shows how well Osman has played this year. David Moyes described him recently as having “happy feet” and when he gets on the ball, he is always capable of making something happen.

LEFT-SIDE ATTACK…

STEVEN GERRARD – Finishing a momentous year in which he won his 100th cap in style, been back to his best in recent weeks and – significantly – looks fitter than he has in recent seasons. Was England's top performer at Euro 2012.

Leader: Steven Gerrard still commands the park for Liverpool

Leader: Steven Gerrard still commands the park for Liverpool

ATTACKING MIDFIELDER…

MAROUANE FELLAINI – Some colossal displays over the past 12 months, the highlights being his bullying of Manchester United in August and his domination of Arsenal in November. Hugely effective in both an attacking and defensive role. Obvious choice.

CENTRE-FORWARDS…

NIKICA JELAVIC and LUIS SUAREZ –
Surely this selection cannot be debated Jelavic has stripped the art
of striking down to its most basic form. Shoot and score. A man with ice
in his veins, he rarely looks like missing when presented with a chance
and the 5million it cost to sign him from Rangers was superb business.
As for Suarez, his importance to Liverpool simply cannot be
underestimated. A genuine world class talent and a frequent scorer. What
more could you want

Hitman: Nikica Jelavic

Deadly: Luis Suarez

Deadly: Nikica Jelavic (left) and Luis Suarez are among the Premier League's most clinical strikers

So, then, the roles are reversed. This time it’s seven Blues, compared to four Reds.

Do you agree Let us know your thoughts.

More of the same in 12 months but, for now, Happy New Year to you all.

Lionel Messi beats Muller"s goalscoring record as 86th strike of 2012 opens scoring for Barcelona at Real Betis

EIGHT SIX goals in ONE year… and he's not done yet! Messi breaks Muller record with early double strike against Betis

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UPDATED:

21:25 GMT, 9 December 2012

MESSI SPECIAL

Click here for Sportmail's month-by-month, goal-by-goal video, picture and stats special to mark Messi's achievement

Lionel Messi has surpassed Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals for club and country in a calendar year after scoring twice in the opening 25 minutes for Barcelona against Real Betis.

The Argentinian, who started the match on 84 goals, required just 15 minutes to break the deadlock and equal the record.

Collecting the ball on the inside right channel, he drove diagonally into the penalty area, beating three defenders before picking out the bottom corner.

His 86th arrived ten minutes later in a move he started and finished before firing the ball into the same corner.

Messi has also become Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga, with his tally now standing on 192, two ahead of Cesar Rodriguez.

Messi has been in hot pursuit of Muller's record, set in 1972 when he scored 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in all competitions.

Record breaker: Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes to get the two goals he needed to break Gerd Muller's calendar year goalscoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes to get the two goals he needed to break Gerd Muller's calendar year goalscoring record

Double trouble: Messi scored the two goals after 15 and 25 minutes as Barcelona seized control of their match at Real Betis

Double trouble: Messi scored the two goals after 15 and 25 minutes as Barcelona seized control of their match at Real Betis

Teamwork: Messi is congratulated by his Barcelona teammates after breaking the record

Teamwork: Messi is congratulated by his Barcelona teammates after breaking the record

There had been some doubt about
whether Messi would make the team after bruising his left knee in the
midweek Champions League draw with Benfica.

But he was able to train with his
teammates on Saturday after making a swift recovery and coach Tito
Vilanova passed him fit to make the journey to Seville.

Barcelona can establish a six-point lead at the top of La Liga if they beat fifth-place Betis.

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Nani left out of Manchester United team calendar

Nani out of the picture at Man United as out-of-favour winger is left off calendar for 2013

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UPDATED:

08:01 GMT, 4 December 2012

Manchester United winger Nani is the latest star name to be hit by the curse of the Christmas calendar.

For the 26-year-old winger, who's
future at Old Trafford has been cast in doubt by his reluctance to sign a
new contract, has been left out of the club's official 2013
calendar.

Out in the cold: Nani heading for the exit door

Out in the cold: Nani heading for the exit door

It follows Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna being
omitted from Arsenal's official 2013 calendar, fueling speculation they
will become the next big-name players to leave the club.

Nani has featured for the past three seasons but his absence this time around will fuel talk of him being sold in the New Year.

Nani reportedly had a bust-up with promising United midfielder Davide Petrucci earlier this season and has not played since he was hauled off during their Champions League match at Braga at the start of the month.

The 26-year-old has two years left on his existing deal and is reported to be holding out for around 130,000-a-week.

United seem reluctant to go that far and Zenit St. Petersburg and Paris St. Germain are ready to make a bid in the January transfer window.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson could move for Porto star James Rodriguez or Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha to replace him.

James Rodriguez: Manchester United watch Porto winger for seventh time this season

So is he the new Nani, Fergie United scouts watch Porto's 36m Rodriguez for SEVENTH time this season

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UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 13 November 2012

Manchester United scouts watched Porto striker James Rodriguez on Sunday for a seventh time this season, proving Sir Alex Ferguson’s interest in the 'new Nani' is as keen as ever.

Rodgriguez starred in Porto’s 2-1 victory over Academica and representatives from Old Trafford flew out to watch him first-hand — despite a release clause of 36million.

Rodriguez is one of Colombia’s hottest prospects. The 21-year-old has already earned been hailed as the ‘new Carlos Valderrama’, the ‘South American Cristiano Ronaldo’ and the new Nani.

In demand: James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring Porto's opening goal against Academica on Sunday

In demand: James Rodriguez – mobbed by his team-mates (below) celebrates after scoring Porto's opening goal against Academica on Sunday in front of watching Manchester United scouts

Porto player mob Rodriguez after he scored on Sunday

United have stepped up their pursuit of Rodriguez but been stunned by a massive hike in his asking price.

Sportsmail can reveal that United have been shocked by news that Rodriguez has renegotiated his Porto deal and agreed a significant increase in his transfer market valuation.

When United last enquired about cost, they were told they would have to pay 24m to buy him out of his contract. In a readjustment that surely places the goalscoring winger beyond their reach, the release clause now stands at 36m.

United have a ready-made bargaining tool in unsettled Portugal winger Nani, who could be used in a part-exchange package.

Porto
would happily welcome him back to his homeland but cannot afford his
current wage, let alone the 130,000 a week he is thought to be seeking
to stay at Old Trafford.

On the ball: Porto rate the Colombia star at 36million

On the ball: Porto rate the Colombia star at 36million

Porto
are unlikely to consider any bid for Rodriguez that falls below the
buy-out figure in his contract after seeing him further enhance his
reputation by laying on a fourth-minute opener for fellow-

Colombian Jackson Martinez and follow up with two goals of his own on Friday night.

It
leaves Ferguson exploring ways of raising funds to finance what would
be an expensive January transaction, with finding a buyer for Nani
appearing to be his main priority.

Rodriguez
was captain of the Colombian-U20 team, leading them to a victory at the
2011 Toulon Tournament where he was voted the best player.

He joined Porto for 4m from Argentine team Club Atletico Banfield in 2010.

Lionel Messi could be better than Pele

76 (and counting) reasons why Messi could be better than Pele…

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 12 November 2012

The swish of a left boot, a helpless goalkeeper getting neck ache as he watches the ball arc over his head, goal for Lionel Andres Messi.

Check it out on YouTube. May 1, 2005 is the date and Albacete are the opponents. A baby-faced Argentine magician, aged 17 years, 10 months and seven days, becomes the youngest Barcelona player in history to score a league goal.

As Messi bounced in celebration with cheeky provider Ronaldinho, who could have guessed that the first would lead to a flood and then a torrent

Scroll down to watch Messi's first goal for Barcelona back in 2005…

Scoring for fun: Messi punishes Mallorca on Sunday night

Scoring for fun: Messi punishes Mallorca on Sunday night

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With each strike another record tumbles, which is not reassuring news for Saudi Arabia goalkeepr Waleed Abdullah after Messi grabbed his 75th and 76th goals of 2012 in Sunday’s 4-2 La Liga win over Mallorca.

Messi, 25, has nine games left to net 10 goals and score more in a calendar year than anyone in history, starting on Wednesday in Riyadh when Argentina take on Saudi Arabia.

His run of form reads 15 goals in 11 matches, which suggests it is only a matter of when, not if, Messi breaks the record.

Sunday’s double against Mallorca took Messi past Pele, who scored 75 goals in 53 matches in 1958 for Santos and Brazil. It also puts German legend Gerd Muller within his sights. The stocky forward hit 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.

the legends hes joined.jpg

The only way is up: Messi is on course to become the greatest ever

The only way is up: Messi is on course to become the greatest ever

Messi has already surpassed Muller in terms of goals per season. In the 2011-12 campaign he scored 73, breaking the European club record set in 1972-73.

In March he passed Cesar Rodriguez’s 57-year-old milestone of 232 goals to become Barca’s all-time leading scorer. He also scored a European Cup record-equalling 14 goals in the Champions League, netting a best of five goals in one game.

Last week he was presented with his second Golden Boot award and he is again favourite to win the Ballon D’Or for the fourth successive year.

‘Leo’s records are spectacular,’ admitted Barcelona’s Tito Vilanova in what has to go down as one of the more obvious managerial pronouncements.

‘It’s spectacular when you think that he scores so many goals. Few players reach these numbers in seven or eight seasons. He does it in one.

More to come: Messi is still only 25

More to come: Messi is still only 25

HOW THE GOALS HAVE GONE IN…

Lionel Messi has scored 64 of his 76 goals in 2012 for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina. His mercurial left foot has accounted for the majority of his goals, with 69 of them coming from that side. He has also scored four with his right foot and three with his head. Messi has netted 64 goals inside the box, including 14 penalties, and 12 outside, of which seven have been free-kicks. Messi has bagged 14 braces and an incredible nine hat-tricks – including two for Argentina in wins against Switzerland and Brazil.

‘And most of his goals are great goals. We are unlikely to see another player like him and, if we do, it won’t be for a very long time.’

If Abdullah needed any further warning, then his manager is well placed to provide it. Dutchman Frank Rijkaard was once Messi’s coach at the Nou Camp and watched him evolve into the best player in the world.

Many things have changed since May 1, 2005, not least the fact that Messi is now a proud father. On the pitch, however, he continues to raise the bar.

At 5ft 6in, he is two inches shorter than Pele and three inches shorter than Muller, who was far more stocky. Yet, despite his slight build, Messi barely misses a match through injury. More records await.

and dont forget rival ronaldo.jpg

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Alberto Contador wins Vuelta a Espana title

Contador wins Vuelta title as Brit star Froome hangs on to fourth

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UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 9 September 2012

Alberto Contador has won the Vuelta a Espana title for the second time after he held off the challenge of Alejandro Valverde in the final stage between Cercedilla and Madrid.

The 29-year-old Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider maintained a one minute, 17 second advantage over his rival and fellow Spaniard in the 115-kilometre race.

Leading the way: Contador (centre) has won the Vuelta a Espana title

Leading the way: Contador (centre) has won the Vuelta a Espana title

The Tour was Contador's first since he was banned after testing positive for clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France.

The final leg was won by John Degenkolb – his fifth triumph in this year's competition – in two hours, 44 minutes and 57 seconds, with the German rider finishing strongly to outsprint the rest of the field.

Contador finished 54th in the 21st stage and although Valverde came sixth he will have to settle for second.

Joaquin Rodriguez finished third overall, 21 seconds behind Valverde while Britain's Chris Froome was fourth, almost nine minutes back.

Alberto Contador retains red jersey in Vuelta a Espana

Contador keeps Vuelta red jersey as Froome remains in fourth after 18th stage

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UPDATED:

17:47 GMT, 6 September 2012

Alberto Contador retained the red jersey in the Vuelta a Espana after Radioshack's Daniele Bennati won stage 18 to Valladolid on Thursday.

Contador, riding for Team Saxo Bank in his first grand tour since returning from a drug ban, remains a minute and 52 seconds clear of fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) after the pair were awarded the same time in the peloton.

Leading the way: Contador retained the red jersey

Leading the way: Contador retained the red jersey

But at the front of the pack, it was Italian Bennati who won the sprint for the line ahead of Team Sky's Ben Swift.

A third Spaniard, early race leader Joaquin Rodriguez, lies third in the overall standings and also sports the green jersey as points leader.

Swift's team-mate Chris Froome is fourth, almost 10 minutes off Contador's lead.

Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome falls back as Joaquin Rodriguez keeps lead

Froome falls back as Rodriguez fends off Contador to keep Vuelta lead

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UPDATED:

18:32 GMT, 2 September 2012


Leaders: Spanish cyclists Joaquin Rodriguez (right) of Katusha and Alberto Contador (left) of tSaxo Bank-Tinkoff

Leaders: Spanish cyclists Joaquin Rodriguez (right) of Katusha and Alberto Contador (left) of tSaxo Bank-Tinkoff

Joaquin Rodriguez withstood the attacks of fellow Spaniard Alberto Contador to defend his overall lead on the 15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana on a day which saw Chris Froome lose further ground on the leaders.

The stage was won by Caja Rural's Antonio Piedra who escaped a small breakaway group with 10 kilometres to go on the 186.5km stage into Lagos de Covadonga in the Picos de Europa mountains to win in a time of five hours, one minute and 23 seconds.

Ruben Perez of Euskadi-Euskaltel, Lloyd
Mondory of Ag2r La Mondiale and Piedra's team-mate David de la Fuente
were next, just over two minutes in arrears.

Rodriguez, of Katusha, had beaten Contador to the 14th stage win and spent today making sure his rival could not get away in the battle for the leader's red jersey, particularly on the final special category climb at the end of the stage at the summit in Lagos de Covadonga.

In the overall standings Rodriguez remains 22 seconds ahead of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank's Contador, with Movistar's Alejandro Valverde one minute 41 off the lead and Team Sky's Froome now 2:16 in arrears of Rodriguez.

Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 4

Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 4: Falcao runs riot as Di Matteo's Blues crash and burn

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 31 August 2012

Chelsea suffered UEFA Super Cup humiliation as Radamel Falcao showed them what might have been with a devastating hat-trick to help hand Atletico Madrid a crushing win.

The Blues looked anything but European champions in what was one of their most clueless performances since Roman Abramovich first began his quest for the greatest prize in club football.

The Russian also spent 80million this summer in a bid to ensure he would not have to wait another eight years for more Champions League glory.

Party time: Atletico Madrid's players celebrate with the trophy at the end of the UEFA Super Cup

Party time: Atletico Madrid's players celebrate with the trophy at the end of the UEFA Super Cup

MATCH FACTS

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole (Bertrand 89), Mikel, Lampard, Ramires (Oscar 46), Hazard, Mata (Sturridge 81), Torres.

Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Romeu, Moses, Meireles.

Booked: Ivanovic.

Goals: Cahill 74.

Atletico Madrid: Courtois,
Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis, Mario Suarez, Gabi, Adrian
(Rodriguez 56), Koke (Raul Garcia 81), Turan, Falcao (Emre 87).

Subs Not Used: Sergio Asenjo, Silvio, Cata Diaz, Diego Costa.

Goals: Falcao 6,19,45,Miranda 60.

Att: 14,312

Ref: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

But it was the one who got away who came back to haunt him on transfer deadline day this evening as former target Falcao took advantage of some inept defending and tactical naiveti to plunder a first-half treble, with Joao Miranda piling on the misery before Gary Cahill grabbed a consolation.

Falcao's hat-trick was his second in four days and saw him completely outshine Fernando Torres, who endured a nightmare reunion with his boyhood idols just 24 hours after declaring his 18 months of hell was a thing of the past.

The outlook had certainly looked rosy for him and Chelsea at the start of a season which has seen him score three times and storm to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

They did lose the Community Shield to Manchester City, however, and another defeat with a trophy on the line cast doubt on their chances of success this season and manager Roberto Di Matteo's reshaping of the side.

The game was the last Super Cup match to be played at the Stade Louis II, with the fixture touring the continent from next year.

Stunner: Falcao curls home his and Athletico Madrid's second goal against Chelsea

Stunner: Falcao curls home his and Athletico Madrid's second goal against Chelsea

Chelsea had been involved the first time it came to Monaco in 1998, Di Matteo playing in a famous 1-0 win over Real Madrid.

But staging such a showpiece event at such a hopelessly outmoded venue always seemed to defy logic.

The stadium also held bad as well as good memories for Chelsea, whose eight-year Champions League heartache under Roman Abramovich began there in the 2004 semi-finals.

Overun: Falcao scores again as Chelsea fall apart in the Super Cup in Monaco

Overun: Falcao scores again as Chelsea fall apart in the Super Cup in Monaco

There were certainly plenty of empty seats in the blue half of what is only an 18,000-seater ground, perhaps not surprising with a Club World Cup trip to Japan on the horizon.

Those who stayed away were doubtless glad they saved their money as Europa League winners Atletico were allowed to create chances almost at will.

Falcao served a fourth-minute warning when his sliding finish hit the crossbar but he made no mistake three minutes later when he raced clear, waited for Petr Cech to commit and dinked the ball beyond the lunging David Luiz on the line and in off the post.

Helpless: Chelsea players stand in disbelief as Atletico Madrid run riot in Monaco

Helpless: Chelsea players stand in disbelief as Atletico Madrid run riot in Monaco

Chelsea did briefly look a threat at the other end, Eden Hazard drilling over, but their midfield had almost no structure and Adrian Lopez and Arda Turan both went close before Falcao struck again in the 18th minute.

Unbelievably, the Blues defence simply stood off one of the world's most lethal finishers as he curled a delicious 15-yard shot into the top corner.

Chelsea now needed the kind of comeback that helped them secure European glory last season but there was no discipline to their attacking and Cech saved from Gabi after Atletico found themselves five on three.

Hat-trick here: Falcao celebrates grabbing his third goal as Athletico Madrid stun Chelsea

Hat-trick here: Falcao celebrates grabbing his third goal as Athletico Madrid stun Chelsea

Falcao hit the woodwork for the second time when he threw his head at Lopez's air-shot only to see it hit the post – but he completed a deserved hat-trick moments before half-time when Turan was allowed to run 60 yards unchallenged and squared for the unmarked striker to finish.

Torres's first real attempt of the game in the 50th minute was almost laughable by comparison as Chelsea brought on Oscar for Ramires at the restart.

The change failed to have the desired effect as Atletico made it 4-0 on the hour mark, Miranda poking Mario Suarez's lay-off home.

Gloss: Miranda adds a fourth for the Spanish side as Chelsea fall apart again

Gloss: Miranda adds a fourth for the Spanish side as Chelsea fall apart again

Jorge Koke's crossed free-kick almost went straight through but was saved by Cech before Cahill drilled home after Atletico failed to clear Frank Lampard's corner.

The Spaniards looked more than capable of restoring their four-goal cushion and David Luiz even turned Emre Belozoglu's cross against his own post in stoppage-time.