The iconic partnership of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Barcelona is a thing of the past and the greatest player in the world is clearly unhappy to see it.
Meanwhile, the Uruguayan pairing of Suarez and manager Diego Simeone is just beginning (and we think Joao Felix may have something to say here, too).
Atletico Madrid announced the signing of ex-Liverpool star Suarez on Friday, injecting power into its attack in a bid to overtake Real Madrid and Barca and reclaim La Liga superiority.
Suarez will turn 34 in January. The two sides meet Nov. 22 in Madrid and May 9 at the Camp Nou.
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He scored 20 or more goals in each of his six seasons at Barcelona, including a career-high 58 (with 40 league goals) in 2015-16. He bagged 21 goals and 11 assists despite being limited to under 2700 minutes last season due to injuries.
Could Suarez’s arrival have a bonus outcome and strengthen the resolve of countryman Jose María Gimenez to stay in Madrid? The aforementioned trio is part of a history of Uruguayan success at Atleti, as Diego Godin, Diego Forlan, and Fernando Correa have all delivered the goods.
Messi and Suarez enjoyed a terrific chemistry on- and off-the-field with Barcelona (Who can forget the photo of the pair calmly watching their kids play soccer, which is turned into a meme used by every soccer coach in the world to decry more volatile soccer parents and guardians).
The Argentine used Instagram to salute his CONMEBOL and now La Liga rival. He’s not happy. Here are some selections from his post, translated by Sky Sports.
“You deserved a fitting farewell for the person that you are: One of the best players in the club’s history, having achieved incredible things both individually and collectively. You didn’t deserve to be pushed out the way they did, but the truth is nothing surprises me anymore.”
“I was gradually accepting it, but when I got into the dressing room today, how hard it’s going to be to no longer have you around in the day-to-day on and off the pitch really dawned on me. We’re going to miss you so much. …. I wish you all the best for your new challenge. Sending love to you and your family. See you soon, mate.”
Messi tried to leave Barcelona earlier this summer but La Liga backed the club’s reading of his contract and the player was unwilling to expose his club to a court battle.
It’s going to be an interesting journey through Messi’s presumed final year at his beloved Barcelona. Will the club’s presidential elections and/or transfer actions do enough to keep him a one-club man beyond the summer of 2021?