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Former Man United and Chelsea striker finally earns international recall

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Radamel Falcao has said he never lost faith that he would return to Colombia's national team as he prepares for his first international appearance in 13 months. The 30-year-old was last week recalled by coach Jose Pekerman for Colombia's World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Argentina.

"You always suffer when you are left out. Everybody wants to be here all the time. But the coaching staff were always in contact, They visited me several times and that gave me hope that sooner or later I'd be back playing for the national team," the Monaco striker told reporters on Wednesday.

Falcao was one of the world's most feared strikers before suffering a serious knee injury in January 2014, forcing him to miss the World Cup in Brazil five months later.

He subsequently endured wretched spells at Manchester United and Chelsea before returning to Monaco in the summer.

The former Atletico Madrid, Porto and River Plate star has since scored six times in nine outings for the Ligue 1 team, including a brace in their 3-0 Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow last week.

Colombia are currently fourth in the 10-team South American zone standings with 17 points from 10 matches, four points behind leaders Brazil.

The top four teams at the end of the two-year qualifying tournament will earn a direct berth at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The fifth-ranked side will book a play-off spot.