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Opinion: Barcelona have made a mistake in allowing Luis Suarez to join Atletico Madrid

Luis Suarez has played his final game for Barcelona and has signed for Athletico Madrid.
Luis Suarez has played his final game for Barcelona and has signed for Athletico Madrid.
Aaron Gales
Modified 26 Sep 2020, 15:29 IST

Following one of the most disappointing seasons in Barcelona's recent history, it was inevitable that there were going to be changes on and off the pitch.

A new manager was appointed in the form of club legend Ronald Koeman, while the club's greatest ever player Lionel Messi went to war with the club, demanding to be allowed to leave on a free transfer.

In the meantime, a number of Barcelona's old guard were being cleared out as the club's president, the much-maligned Josep Bartomeu, tried to balance the books. Ivan Rakitic was moved to Sevilla for a small fee while Arda Turan and Arturo Vidal were allowed to leave on free transfers. Arthur Melo was also sold to Juventus in a deal which involved Miralem Pjanić going the other way.

However, with Messi now seemingly resigned to spending another season at the Nou Camp, the most high profile departure has been Luis Suarez, who has joined Barcelona's rivals Athletico Madrid after six years at the club.

With 198 goals in 283 games and 13 major trophies, including four league titles and one UEFA Champions League trophy, Suarez's place in the history of the club is cemented.

However, at 33 years of age and on big wages, the Uruguayan striker was deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona. From a financial perspective, the deal makes some degree of sense.

Barcelona get a big earner off their wage bill and it allows them the opportunity to give last summer's big signing Antoine Griezmann a chance to establish himself in a more central role in the side.

While the transfer may make sense off the pitch, it doesn't look good from a football perspective, and this decision has been met with dismay from Lionel Messi.


This is understandable because evidence suggests that Barcelona have just allowed a striker still at the peak of his powers to join one of their biggest rivals. Although hampered by a knee injury, Suarez enjoyed an excellent season in 2019-20 and was the one bright spot in Barcelona's humiliating defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.

In the 2019-20 season, Suarez played 36 matches, scoring 21 goals and claiming 12 assists. In 2,658 minutes of action, he was involved in a goal every 80 minutes, which is nothing short of world class. Suarez was particularly outstanding in the Champions League, scoring five goals and creating three chances in seven appearances.

Barcelona will undoubtedly miss his output and efficiency in front of goal, something which Athletico Madrid desperately needed after a very poor season by their own high standards.

Scoring goals was a real issue for Diego Simeone's team, with the recently departed Alvaro Morata being the team's top scorer with just 12 goals in all competitions.

They team could manage only 68 goals in 49 matches as they finished third in the La Liga, and were knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Champions League by RB Leipzig. They were also knocked out of the Copa Del Rey in the last 32 stage.

The signing of Suarez represents a significant upgrade for the Madrid side and his partnership with Joao Felix could be a devastating combination this season. Barcelona will be desperately hoping the decision to let Suarez go doesn't come back to haunt them.

Published 26 Sep 2020, 15:29 IST
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