Luis Suarez's contract was terminated by former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the player was allowed to join Atletico Madrid as a free agent last summer. The ex-Barca chief made several costly mistakes during his time in office and one of his most costly blunders was letting the Uruguyuan leave Nou Camp.
Failing to keep hold of such an influential player is a huge loss on its own. However, losing him to a direct rival for absolutely free, with no proper backup plan is a huge error.
One thing has been evident since El Pistolero switched between the two Spanish heavyweights: Barca are going further down 'the pit of hell' while Atletico have been growing in momentum.
In the absence of the Uruguayan, the Blaugrana have failed to get going consistently in attack. Without a proper replacement, they were forced to play many of their matches without a number nine.
Ronald Koeman has resorted to giving Martin Braithwaite the nod in the past few games. Although the Dane hasn't been a terrible option in his own right, he is clearly not on Luis Suarez's level.
Even Lionel Messi has been a shadow of his former self since he lost his best friend and partner-in-crime in the summer. The Argentine is surely missing the telepathic relationship that he shared with his fellow South American striker and it seems to be taking its toll on the player.
Meanwhile, Atletico have been firing on all cylinders since the campaign kicked off. The Rojiblancos currently lead the race for the Liga title, picking up 33 points after 11 victories, 2 draws and just one defeat from their 14 matches so far. Atletico also have two games in hand, which could potentially send them eight points clear of second-placed Real Madrid.
Diego Simeone's men are finally dreaming of finishing the campaign as league champions, with Suarez proudly leading the charge. The striker didn't need much time to prove to the Rojiblancos faithful just how influential he could be in Atletico's title hunt.
Suarez got his Atletico career off to a flying start with an impressive outing in his debut appearance. He scored twice and set up another goal in the 6-1 thrashing of Granada despite spending just 20 minutes on the pitch after coming on for Diego Costa in the 70th minute.
Ever since then, he's been a constant force in front of goal for Atletico. He currently has eight goals to his name from 11 La Liga appearances.
It's worth mentioning that his performances have established him as Atletico's undisputed number nine. However, he's never really had to fight for this spot - it came naturally to him.
His rival in that position, Diego Costa has praised him on multiple occasions. The Spaniard has even terminated his contract with the Rojiblancos - which has all but sealed Suarez's spot in the starting lineup.
The Uruguayan has been one of the top performers in the Spanish top flight this season. His eight goals place him second in the Liga top scorers' list, just a goal below first-placed Iago Aspas.
Ronald Koeman and Barcelona can only watch helplessly as El Pistolero continues to give to Atletico what the Catalans are greatly lacking at the moment.
Should he lead the Rojiblancos all the way to the league title this term, it would be a slap in the face for Barca. They will have no one other than the clueless Bartomeu to blame for their misfortunes.Published 02 Jan 2021, 21:34 IST