Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez turned 34 on 24 January, and has given an interview to France Football, with comments carried by Marca, about his departure from Barcelona. “What really bothered me was that they told me I was older and that I could no longer play at the highest level,” he said. “They told me they no longer counted on me. I deserved respect.”
“If I hadn’t shown anything at Barcelona for three or four seasons I would have understood, but I scored over 20 goals each season. I’ve always had good statistics, behind only [Lionel] Messi. I wasn’t going to be happy where people no longer loved me.”
Barcelona’s loss has been Atletico’s gain. In Diego Simeone Suarez has found a man expert in channelling an adversarial spirit into on-pitch gains. The Uruguayan has thrived under the Argentine’s guidance, causing havoc amongst La Liga defences while simultaneously coaching youngsters like Joao Felix and Marcos Llorente in the art of becoming a killer in the final third.
Suarez has scored 16 goals from 20 La Liga games this season, as well as contributing two assists. He’s top of the standings for this season’s Pichichi alongside his old friend Messi, and has been offensively to Los Rojiblancos what Jan Oblak has been defensively. They’re top of the table, three points clear of Real Madrid, and face Chelsea in the first leg of the last 16 of the Champions League tonight.