Luis Suarez had an incredible debut season for Atletico Madrid during the 2020/21 campaign, where his 21 goals and three assists in 32 La Liga appearances helped the Spanish giants to their 11th league title and their second under Diego Simeone. The side impressively went on to finish the term two points ahead of local rivals Real Madrid and seven points above Lionel Messi’s Barcelona.
The 34-year-old continues to prove the critics and doubters wrong, especially the ones who were previously part of the Barcelona board, who thought he was too old and could no longer play at the top level of football. He has also shown up those Barcelona fans who wanted the former Ajax and Liverpool striker to be distanced from the team and to prepare for the future without him.
A year later, he is enjoying life at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium as a La Liga winner, whilst his former club are trying to pick themselves up from the floor following the departure of Messi to Paris Saint-Germain. And just 15 minutes away from Atletico’s ground, Real Madrid are going through problems of their own, as they are experiencing a new era without defensive duo, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, along with a quiet summer window compared to their usual standards.
It is not normal to see Barcelona and Real Madrid go through such a difficult period, especially at the same time, and it could take some time before they dominate La Liga again. However, in the current and present moment, Atletico Madrid’s time has come to sit at the top of La Liga football, where they deserve appreciation and plaudit for their never-say-die attitude.
The individual contribution of Luis Suarez to the Atletico Madrid title-winning campaign has certainly cemented his legacy as the best striker of the last decade. He has proven himself as a world class number nine in the Eredivisie, Premier League, Champions League and in La Liga with two different clubs. Not only that, but he ended last season with 21 league goals from 43 shots on target, an incredible conversion rate for such a defensive-minded team.
His experience as a winner and his vocal presence has taken Atletico Madrid’s work rate to another level and has helped them to progress the ball forward with more consistency. As the side are not drilled into dominating possession and creating chances, it leaves some players in the team unsure of what to do in the final third, but Suarez enters with his guidance and leadership.
Given that Luis Suarez has had a busy summer being involved in the Copa America with Uruguay, he is expected to have a slow start to the season with Atletico Madrid, starting the first couple of league matches on the bench before returning to full match fitness. In the meantime, Simeone will have to depend on Angel Correa, Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco for goals.
Looking at the Spanish side in general, they have done superbly well to keep key individuals such as Kieran Trippier and Saul Niguez at the club despite constant rumours linking them to a move away from Wanda Metropolitano. Also, the recent contract extension for Llorente till 2027 is huge news for the manager and the supporters, as his versatility and end product is crucial to the team.
With Luis Suarez looking to continue his form from the previous term, there should be zero problems in the Uruguayan goal-scoring machine achieving 15-20 league goals again for Atletico Madrid, which is all it could take for Los Colchoneros to defend their league title given their immaculate defensive record. If he scores week in and out without fail, the La Liga trophy is simply Atletico Madrid’s title to lose.
At the end of the day, El Pistolero’s contract ends in the summer of 2022, and if he was to guide Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid to another league title as well as assist the team to advance far in the Champions League competition, the people of Madrid will remember him forever. His name would up there in the club’s history along with the likes of Diego Godin, Fernando Torres and Koke, who are highly appreciated in the capital city of Spain due to their services for the red and whites.
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