Suarez fuelled by Barca criticism after embracing Atleti challenge

By Sports Desk May 15, 2021

Luis Suarez was determined to prove his doubters wrong after getting the chance to continue playing at the highest level with Atletico Madrid.

Suarez left Barcelona after a 2019-20 season that saw the Spanish giants finish without a trophy. Having lost out to Real Madrid in a tight title race, hopes of Champions League glory were emphatically ended at the quarter-final stage by Bayern Munich.

The Uruguay striker had scored 21 goals in all competitions yet was deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou, allowed to leave on the cheap as he remained within LaLiga at Atleti.

Barca have watched on as their former player has scored 19 league goals to help Diego Simeone's squad push to be crowned Spanish champions - they top the table by two points with two games remaining, the first of which is at home to Osasuna on Sunday.

For Suarez, the desire to succeed following his switch to the capital was fuelled by those who had declared him to be in a state of decline.

"You like a challenge. And coming here was a very big challenge for me for many things," he said in an interview for Club del Deportista magazine.

"Last year I received criticism and they said that I was not here to compete for important things, or that at Barcelona I could not compete at a high level.

"That will generate a challenge to an individual, you want to continue to demonstrate that you can do something at the elite level of football, something I've been demonstrating as the kind of player I am for many years.

"I experienced it as a great challenge and with great enthusiasm. I'm not sorry at all, on the contrary, excited and eager to continue demonstrating."

Suarez also revealed his future plans at international level as he intends to finish his Uruguay career after next year's World Cup in Qatar.

The 34-year-old is his country's all-time leading scorer and helped them win the 2011 Copa America, a year after a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in South Africa.

"My wish is to be able to play the World Cup in Qatar and afterwards one must realise that the time has come," the former Ajax and Liverpool forward said.

"First by age and then by the young people who come after, so that they have the possibility. When the time comes I will make the appropriate decision, although assuming that costs a player a lot, but I have been working on it for a long time."

Related items

  • Klopp not encouraged by United's first-half flop against Atalanta Klopp not encouraged by United's first-half flop against Atalanta

    Jurgen Klopp dismissed suggestions Manchester United's languid first-half showing against Atalanta on Wednesday would be encouraging for Liverpool.

    United fell two goals behind against Atalanta after just 29 minutes – the earliest they have been two down in the Champions League at Old Trafford since October 2012.

    However, Cristiano Ronaldo scored in his third straight European game to cap a remarkable turnaround as the Red Devils came from behind to win.

    Ahead of Liverpool's trip to United, who have won just one of the last 10 top-flight meetings with the Reds, Klopp insisted United's performance was not as bad as some made out.

    "I was watching the game and there was not one second where I was rubbing my hands together," Klopp responded at Friday's pre-match news conference.

    "There was no reason for it if you watched the game, Atalanta caused United some problems but even then United had three clear chances in the first half.

    "With the quality they have, they can cause any team problems and the second half was a demonstration of United going for it - I am preparing the team for a tough game against a really tough opponent.

    "United versus Liverpool is a massive game. Man United are not overly happy with their results but they are able to do incredible stuff. We will focus on ourselves."

    Liverpool are on an 18-game unbeaten run – the longest current streak in England's top four tiers – and have scored three-plus goals in each of their last five top-flight away games.

    The Reds, following their 4-2 win at Old Trafford in May, could make it back-to-back away league wins against United for the first time since January 2002.

    However, Klopp remains without midfielder Thiago Alcantara for the trip as the Spain international remains out with a calf injury, though Curtis Jones may return.

    "What's clear is that Curtis will train today with us the full session, that's the plan," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

    "And Thiago not. So, these are the two things I know for the moment," before adding to reporters later: "Thiago is running, which is a good sign. Maybe he's back before the international break, but we will see."

  • Haaland out for a few weeks with hip flexor injury, Dortmund boss confirms Haaland out for a few weeks with hip flexor injury, Dortmund boss confirms

    Borussia Dortmund boss Marco Rose has revealed that a hip flexor injury will rule out talisman Erling Haaland for the next few weeks.

    The striker only returned to action in last weekend's win over Mainz after a muscular problem saw him miss three games for Rose's side.

    However, the 21-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in 10 appearances across all competitions this season, is now set for another spell on the sidelines. 

    Addressing reporters ahead of Dortmund's trip to Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday, Rose said: "Erling Haaland won't play and will be absent for a few weeks with a hip flexor injury.

    "Haaland has, of course, been down. He was happy to be back and still felt really good after the Mainz game."

    Rose confirmed that Thomas Meunier and Nico Schulz will also be absent this weekend through injury.

    Haaland provided fans with an update on Friday. Posting to his 1.3 million followers on Twitter, he said: "Time to focus on my recovery, I'll be back stronger."

    Dortmund are second in the Bundesliga with 18 points from their opening eight games, just one point behind leaders and reigning champions Bayern Munich.

  • Mbappe can replace Messi and Ronaldo, says former PSG boss Blanc Mbappe can replace Messi and Ronaldo, says former PSG boss Blanc

    Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc is backing Kylian Mbappe to step up and fill the void after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo hang up their boots.

    One of the most exciting talents in the game, the France international has scored 138 goals in 184 appearances for PSG since arriving in 2017, while supplying a further 62 assists.

    The World Cup winner's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, with Real Madrid widely expected to sign him on a free transfer.

    After 42 goals in 47 appearances last term, Mbappe has been included on the 30-man shortlist for this year's Ballon d'Or – an award won by either Messi or Ronaldo in 11 of the past 12 years.

    Now in their mid-30s, the decorated duo have set the standard for well over a decade.

    But with their days at the summit of the game arguably numbered, Blanc is confident Mbappe can be one of the players to pick up the baton.

    "He is very young but has already achieved a lot, and I think he can still progress," said the former PSG head coach, who guided them to three successive Ligue 1 titles between 2014 to 2016.

    "Everyone agrees that he still needs to develop, even if he is already doing so well. 

    "I believe that two players have marked the last decades of football: Messi and Ronaldo. 

    “Unfortunately, time passes. But I think Kylian is one of the players who can replace them."

     

    Mbappe has teamed up with Messi for Mauricio Pochettino's side this season, with the former Barcelona forward joining the French giants on a free transfer in August.

    Blanc says the Argentina skipper's arrival not only provided a timely boost for PSG, but to French football as a whole.

    "It is vital for the club because it has the best player in the world now," added the 1998 World Cup winner.

    "Along with Ronaldo – these two are on another planet. 

    "So, it's an excellent thing for the club and for French football. 

    "It's a great opportunity for Messi to play in the French championship because it will also allow young players to learn and play by his side."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.