The Uruguayan striker has so far been decisive for his new club having hit 16 goals in the league so far and propelling them to the top of the standings with 54 points from their opening 22 matches – three clear of their nearest challengers with a game in hand.
Thomas Tuchel has now confirmed that Paris Saint-Germain – whom he left in December – were interested in signing the veteran striker last summer when it became evident he would be leaving the Camp Nou.
The German boss – who replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge earlier this year – will now come up against the striker as he prepares his Chelsea side to face the Spanish league leaders in the Round of 16 first leg.
Tuchel explained in his pre-match press conference, in quotes carried by Diario Sport: “There was a possibility that he was going to leave Barcelona. We tried but he preferred to stay in Spain and sign for Atletico.
“We were interested in signing one of the best forwards in world football. I think he is a natural striker. He has that quality that all forwards have. He always wants to show his desire to score, score and score. We know his qualities and we will try to stop him.”