Lionel Messi is welcome to join Luis Suarez at Atletico Madrid if he still wants to play alongside the Uruguayan, Los Colchoneros president Enrique Cerezo has cheekily suggested.

Suarez was unceremoniously dumped by Barca last week, selling him to Atletico for just €6million after six years at Camp Nou.

In that time Suarez rose to third on the club's all-time leading scorers list, but the way his exit was handled angered close friend Messi, who wants to leave Barca.

The initial decision in pre-season to get rid of Suarez reportedly contributed to the club's captain and talisman asking to leave and, although he failed to force a transfer, he again showed his disdain for those in charge by publicly lambasting them for the Uruguayan's exit.

Suarez made his Atletico debut in Sunday's 6-1 demolition of Granada, coming off the bench to devastating effect as he scored twice and got an assist.

And Cerezo has audaciously suggested Messi joins Suarez at the Wanda Metropolitano, borrowing a marketing slogan from Spanish nougat company El Almendro.

"In life, if you want something... If Leo Messi wants to play with Luis Suarez, I tell him the same thing that is said with nougat: 'Let him come home for Christmas'. With desire, anything is possible," he said on Cadena Cope.

Despite the turmoil at Barca over the past seven weeks, Cerezo showed support to his under-fire counterpart at Camp Nou, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

"Everything [with the Suarez signing] went perfectly well," he said. "Bartomeu is a good friend and a great president.

"At the moment things are not going well at Barcelona, but he has acted as he had to act and nothing else has happened. The signing was not complicated, the player plays where he wanted to play."

But Suarez's international colleague Edinson Cavani will not be joining him at Atletico, having previously been mooted as a replacement for Diego Costa.

"Diego Costa is a player that Atletico Madrid needs," Cerezo added. "The season is very long. You don't have to complicate things.

"I don't think there will be a change at Atleti. Cavani's circumstances have not been the same as those of Luis Suarez.

"He is a fantastic player, but everything is different. It wasn't because of me or his brother [Walter Guglielmone, also his agent] that he didn't come."

Diego Simeone was more impressed by Luis Suarez's assist and movement off the ball than his two goals in Atletico Madrid's 6-1 LaLiga rout of Granada.

Suarez was brought on in the 70th minute and marked his Atleti debut in style by netting an impressive double and setting up fellow substitute Marcos Llorente on Sunday.

The Uruguay international, who only joined in a €6million deal from Barcelona on Friday, also won a penalty that was overturned by VAR in a one-sided LaLiga contest.

Suarez scored with two types of finishes – one a brilliant header and the other a cute first-time finish on the rebound – but head coach Simeone was most pleased by the way his new forward teed up Llorente with only his second touch of the ball.

"His two goals didn't stand out for me, but his assists, his runs and his movement did," Simeone said after the match.

"The changes gave us a bit extra with the strength of Marcos, the quality of Vitolo, the clarity of Thomas [Partey] and Suarez knows what he has to do: play for the team."

Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Joao Felix were also on target for Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano as they recorded their biggest win in an opening league game under Simeone.

Atleti have been tipped to rival Real Madrid and Barca for the title this term and Simeone is hopeful that increased competition for a starting spot can get the most out of his players.

"It will depend on our work, our squad depth and the players' security. The team was liberated," he said. 

"The arrival of an important player improves the team, but the team was already working very well. Now we'll continue taking it game by game, like always.

"Suarez's arrival generates a very good internal competition and if the 23 players accept the minutes they're going to get, I'm sure we'll compete well

"From my perspective, when it comes to building a squad, I look for guys who know how to perform and who accept when they play and when they don't.

"That's how great teams are formed. That's what gives you the possibility of having more options. That's what we're looking for season by season."

Luis Suarez revealed he felt the need for "fresh air" before leaving Barcelona as he scored twice in a remarkable debut for Atletico Madrid.

Suarez came on in the 70th minute at Wanda Metropolitano with Atleti 3-0 up against Granada thanks to goals from Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Joao Felix, while Saul Niguez had missed a penalty.

A stunning cameo followed, with Suarez netting a brilliant double after providing an assist for his fellow substitute Marcos Llorente.

The 33-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona as the Catalan club look to rebuild under Ronald Koeman, but Suarez believes the time was right for him to move on.

"Very good, very happy for the debut, for the three points," he told Movistar. "When you make your debut and help the team with goals, you are always happy.

"It is a moment in which I needed fresh air, it is important to change and accept it.

"I come to a club that has given me a spectacular welcome, the atmosphere is very good from the beginning and that is reflected on the field."

Before Suarez stole the show, Joao Felix had put in an impressive display partnering Costa up front, having teed up Correa's goal prior to getting on the scoresheet himself.

"We're feeling good about ourselves. We've completed a great game, scoring many goals and creating lots of chances," he told Atleti's club media.

"We have to continue like this. I'm feeling good. I'm happy and enjoying myself. Things are going well.

"This was just the first game, but we want to complete a very, very good season. We're working towards that. We started today and have to continue against Huesca."

 

Luis Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements as Barcelona have looked to rejuvenate their squad, but the 33-year-old stole the show in a 6-1 victory on his Atletico Madrid debut.

Atleti were already 3-0 up against Granada in LaLiga by the time Suarez was introduced in the 70th minute at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday, setting the stage for him to take the headlines.

In a remarkable cameo, Suarez scored twice, provided an assist and won a penalty, which was subsequently overturned by VAR.

Suarez, who scored with a brilliant header and then a cute first-time finish on the rebound after he had hit the post, managed four attempts in total, created one chance and completed 10 passes from his 16 touches, with a 70 per cent passing accuracy.

His tally of shots was the most of any player on either side, while his two efforts on target both resulted in goals. The assist, for fellow substitute Marcos Llorente, came with just his second touch.

The Uruguay striker's double makes him the first Atleti debutant to net a brace, while he is also the first player to both score and assist on his debut for the club in the 21st century.

With Suarez's star quality to call on, Diego Simeone's side could be well placed to mount a serious title challenge this term.

A penny for Lionel Messi's thoughts.

Luis Suarez scored twice and assisted another in a dream debut off the bench in Atletico Madrid's 6-1 demolition of Granada in their opening LaLiga fixture.

The Uruguay forward, who joined from Barcelona in a €6million deal on Friday, had already provided an assist for Marcos Llorente and won a penalty that was overturned by the time he powered in a header for his first Atleti goal.

Jorge Molina's consolation brought only brief joy for Granada as Suarez, who only entered the fray in the 70th minute, rounded off a sensational cameo in second-half injury time.

The result was already beyond doubt before Suarez's introduction with Diego Costa heading Atleti in front and, after Saul Niguez missed a first-half penalty, Angel Correa and Joao Felix were also on target prior to the late glut of goals.

Luis Suarez will have to wait for his full Atletico Madrid debut after the former Barcelona striker was named on the bench for Sunday's clash with Granada.

Uruguay star Suarez completed a €6million move to Atleti on Friday, after being deemed surplus to requirements by Barca.

New Barca boss Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to sell the former Liverpool star had already been made before he arrived at Camp Nou, much to Lionel Messi's chagrin.

Diego Simeone was full of praise for his latest addition in the build-up to Atleti's home game against Granada, confirming the 33-year-old would be involved, though he did not reveal if Suarez would start.

Ultimately, the striker had to settle for a place on the bench at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Joao Felix partnering Diego Costa up front.

Alongside Suarez among the Atleti substitutes is midfielder Thomas Partey, who is reportedly the subject of interest from Arsenal.

Simeone elected to go with Koke and Saul Niguez in central midfield, with Yannick Carrasco and Angel Correa out wide, and a back four of Kieran Trippier, Stefan Savic, Felipe and Renan Lodi – who enjoyed a fine maiden LaLiga season in 2019-20.

Defender Jose Gimenez – a mooted Manchester City target – is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.

Diego Simeone wants Luis Suarez to improve on the goalscoring output of Alvaro Morata and be the catalyst that makes Atletico Madrid LaLiga title challengers again following his move from Barcelona.

Suarez completed a €6million switch from Barca on Friday, signing a two-year contract with Atleti following a largely acrimonious Camp Nou departure.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barca's all-time goalscoring charts in his six years at the club and netted 16 in the league last term, a respectable figure given he made just 22 starts and missed a significant portion of the season through injury.

Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to move the former Liverpool star on had already been made before the Dutchman arrived.

But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Simeone is adamant Suarez's impact at the Wanda Metropolitano could be massive, challenging him to improve on the 12 LaLiga goals scored last season by Morata, who was allowed to leave for Juventus.

"The arrival of Suarez encourages us to continue growing," Simeone told reporters, having also confirmed the striker is in the squad for Atletico's season opener at home to Granada on Sunday.

"He will give us internal competition. He is a forward who has impressive offensive power and hopefully he can continue to produce the numbers that he has been doing in the past.

"These six years [at Barca] have been wonderful [for Suarez]. His colleagues have received him with enthusiasm we hope he adapts as soon as possible.

"We all know him – he's a great reference for the team. Given the option that Alvaro had of being able to leave, the best way to continue improving was to look for someone who could improve on Alvaro's scoring contribution, and when the option of Suarez appeared, what was I going to say? His numbers speak for themselves.

"We were lucky that when we had a very good [Radamel] Falcao, a very good [Diego] Costa or a very good [Antoine] Griezmann, we came close to fighting for everything. Let's hope that with Luis Suarez it will be like that and we can overcome what we did last season."

Atletico finished third in LaLiga last term, 17 points adrift of a Real Madrid side that, while certainly solid, was hardly spectacular as they clinched the title.

Six teams – including Sunday's visitors Granada – scored more than Atletico in 2019-20, but Simeone feels things will be different with Suarez having a point to prove.

"I'm going to be sincere with you, he was convinced that this was the place where he could show that he was a top-notch forward," Simeone added. "I found what I was looking for for this club – ambition and a desire to be here.

"Hopefully he will give us back the options we had when we had the best Falcao, the best Costa or the best Griezmann. That would mean getting closer to the successes that all fans want."

Ronald Koeman insisted he was not "the bad guy" in Luis Suarez's transfer away from Barcelona, although he could understand Lionel Messi's anger at the move.

Suarez, third on the list of all-time Barcelona goal scorers, left Camp Nou this week for Atletico Madrid.

It was reported Suarez was one of a number of senior stars informed by new coach Koeman they would have to leave the club following an underwhelming 2019-20 season.

But Koeman suggested some portrayals of this conversation were not entirely accurate, saying Suarez could have stayed but would have had a reduced role.

"It seemed that I had been the bad guy in this movie, but it is not like that," Koeman said ahead of the Blaugrana's LaLiga opener against Villarreal.

"Since the call [regarding Suarez's future], I have shown respect for him and I have always told him that it can be difficult to play but, if he stayed, he would be one of the squad.

"Before I signed the contract, the club was thinking about things, and I have tried to support those things. They are not just decisions of the coach.

"Luis and I respect each other and we have spoken clearly about his future. He had the opportunity to go to Atletico and I wish all the luck in the world."

Suarez's exit prompted a furious Instagram post from captain Messi, whose own attempted departure was blocked by the club.

Messi said Suarez did not deserve "to get kicked out like [he] did", adding he was not surprised by Barca's actions.

Koeman responded: "It is normal for him to be upset that a friend has left, but I have no doubt about Messi. I have seen him train."

The former Netherlands coach, who would not rule out moves for Lautaro Martinez or Memphis Depay, is not concerned by the tumultuous nature of his early Barca reign.

"If you ask the coaches who have been at Barca, they will surely tell you that they have never had a quiet day," he said.

"I knew that when I had to face changes I would have people in favour and others against. I knew it.

"No problem, it is part of being in the best club in the world, although I hope there is a little more peace of mind."

Alvaro Morata was not the third-choice signing as he was always a priority for Juventus, insists head coach Andrea Pirlo. 

Spain striker Morata sealed his return to Turin on an initial season-long deal from Atletico Madrid, with Juve retaining an option to make the deal permanent for €45million or pay an additional €10m to loan him for a further campaign. 

Juve had been tipped to sign Luis Suarez from Barcelona before the deal broke down and he joined Atleti, while Edin Dzeko was also linked with a move from Roma. 

But Morata arrived instead to fill a void left by Gonzalo Higuain's departure to Inter Miami, with the 27-year-old having left to re-join Real Madrid in 2016 and subsequently spending time at Chelsea and Atleti. 

Pirlo, who started his coaching career with a convincing 3-0 win over Sampdoria last week, said the fact he previously played alongside Morata was a big draw. 

"We were waiting for a striker and he arrived," he told a news conference ahead of the Serie A clash against Roma on Sunday. 

"Alvaro Morata knows us well and I was fortunate enough to have played with him.  

"He was not a third choice but one of our priorities, from a technical and tactical aspect he's what we were looking for."

Dzeko is set to come up against Juve at Stadio Olimpico and Pirlo acknowledged the threat he poses.

"He could have been a Juve striker, but he remains a great player," Pirlo added. "We respect him, but unfortunately he will be an opponent tomorrow."

Pirlo has a couple of selection posers to ponder against Roma with midfielder Arthur – a close-season arrival from Barca – in contention having been an unused substitute against Sampdoria, while forward Paulo Dybala returned to training this week after a muscular issue.  

"We've worked with Paulo Dybala, who has gradually returned with the group," Pirlo said. "Let's see how he feels today and whether he can travel to Rome. 

"Also, Arthur is coming from a period of inactivity but has worked very well. He's settling in, from a tactical and physical point of view. 

"He hasn't played much at Barcelona either. He needs a period of acclimatisation, he's available tomorrow and we'll see whether to let him play or not." 

Luis Suarez said he was proud after being defended by Lionel Messi following his move to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona.

Suarez, 33, joined Atletico in a €6million move this week after six trophy-laden seasons at Camp Nou.

His close friend and Barcelona star Messi slammed the Catalan giants on Friday, saying Suarez was "kicked out" and "nothing surprises" him anymore.

Suarez, who won 13 trophies at Barca, said he was proud to have left such a positive impression.

"Leo knows me well and is well aware of my level of conviction. It's a source of pride to be able to leave a positive legacy behind me," he told reporters.

"I've now moved on and joining this competitive side is a major motivation."

Suarez scored 21 goals in 36 games last season, but new Barca coach Ronald Koeman had no room for the Uruguayan as he rebuilds the Blaugrana.

The forward said joining another big club in Spain was a huge motivation for him.

"The motivation of coming to a great from Spain, Atleti is," Suarez said. 

"It has great players, a competitive block that always fights to be at the top and for the league. 

"The fans and the coach [Diego Simeone] motivate a lot too."

Atletico begin their 2020-21 season at home to Granada on Sunday.

Lionel Messi has slammed Barcelona for "kicking out" his close friend Luis Suarez after the Uruguay striker sealed a move to Atletico Madrid.

Barca this week let Suarez leave for Atletico in a €6million deal, with new head coach Ronald Koeman having told him he was surplus to requirements.

Koeman's treatment of the former Liverpool star was believed to be one of the motivating factors behind Messi's desire to force a sensational exit from Camp Nou, but he said president Josep Maria Bartomeu made a move "impossible" by going back on his word to let him leave for free.

Suarez is the third-highest scorer in Barcelona's history with 198 goals and won 13 trophies, including four LaLigas and the 2014-15 Champions League, during a six-year spell with the Catalan giants.

Messi was angry with the way things ended for Suarez but said "at this point nothing surprises me".

"I was already getting the idea but today [Friday] I entered the dressing room and the penny really dropped," Messi wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of him and Suarez following the latter's farewell news conference on Thursday.

"It is going to be so difficult to not continue sharing the day to day with you, both on the pitches and away from them. We are going to miss you so much. It was many years, a lot of [yerba] mate, lunches, dinners… many things that will never be forgotten, all those days together.

"It will be strange to see you in another shirt and more so to face you. You deserved to leave like what you are: one of the most important players in the club's history, achieving important things both as a group and individually. And not to get kicked out like they did. But the truth is that at this point nothing surprises me.

"I wish you all the best in this new challenge. I love you very much, we love you very much. See you soon, friend."

Suarez followed Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo as the latest high-earning figure to be moved on by Barca ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Luis Suarez reflected on an incredible six-year spell alongside "best in history" Lionel Messi at Barcelona during his farewell news conference.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Suarez, 33, has left Barca and joined Atletico Madrid for €6million after the Blaugrana deemed him surplus to requirements.

Despite finishing 2019-20 with 16 LaLiga goals from 22 starts, Suarez had long seemed likely to leave Barca, particularly after Ronald Koeman's arrival in place of Quique Setien.

Media reports claimed the Dutchman told Suarez he was not in his plans, a situation rumoured to have contributed to Messi's desire to leave; but where Barca refused to sanction their talisman's exit, the Uruguay striker departs having risen to third on the club's all-time goalscoring list with 198.

Suarez's strong relationship with Messi has been known for much of their time together at Barca, though the former Liverpool striker – who let the tears flow in front of the media on Thursday – revealed he was given a slightly different impression of the Argentina star upon arriving in 2014.

"Everyone knows the relationship I have with Leo," Suarez said, with Messi in attendance. "When I arrived at Barcelona they said, 'be careful with Leo', due to me being a forward, and it turns out that Leo has been spectacular with a striker for many years.

"We always try to be at the level of Barcelona, and I have to be proud of everything we have done.

"Leo, we know each other so much that we know what we think of each other. We are big enough that we are able to give each other advice. That we will face each other in complicated games will not change our relationship."

Suarez let it be known in no uncertain terms that the decision for him to leave the club came from Koeman alone.

"Sometimes the club needs changes and the coach did not count on me," he added. "I leave with the feeling that I have fulfilled [expectations] – being the third top scorer of a club is not easy.

"I expected it [Koeman's decision], it had already been said before he told me. I had no problem taking a step to the side, but I wanted to continue training while looking for a solution. Koeman agreed to it.

"Every new start to the season, you change the team: there is a lot of desire, many young players, there are more variants when it comes to rotating, and I think it will be a very good year for the club."

But despite undoubted frustration at the situation, Suarez's gratitude to Barca was clear, particularly given the faith put in him so soon after he was handed a four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

"The club trusted me from the beginning and I will always be grateful for the treatment they gave me. They trusted me after a mistake I made and that is not easy," he said.

"A stage that I am very proud of is ending. I take friends with me and that makes me happy. Beyond a player, leaving is a human being who has feelings.

"That my children saw me play alongside incredible players, that they saw me alongside the best in history, score goals, raise trophies, it will always remain in my memory. Many thanks to the fans for everything your support, I will never forget."

While the focus is on Barcelona, Atletico Madrid should be getting immediate improvement with the arrival of Luis Suarez.

After six trophy-laden seasons at Camp Nou, Suarez's €6million move from Barca to Atletico was confirmed on Wednesday.

As Ronald Koeman's rebuild continues at Barcelona, one of their former stars heads to Atletico.

And Diego Simeone's team should get an instant reward as we assess Suarez's move using Opta data.

Immediate improvement for Atletico?

Amid the links to Suarez, Atletico allowed Alvaro Morata to return to Juventus – initially on loan – and Diego Costa could also reportedly leave. There is little wonder Atletico chased Suarez when comparing his albeit declining output last season to the Los Rojiblancos' two forwards.

Suarez scored a LaLiga goal every 125.1 minutes in 2019-20, comfortably better than Morata (175.3) and Costa (270.2), finishing with 16 – almost as many as the Atletico duo (17) combined. Taking away penalties, Suarez scored 15 to their 13.

It came despite a knee injury that sidelined Suarez for five months at the start of the year, limiting him to 28 LaLiga appearances and 22 starts.

Still, Suarez had 63 shots, more than Morata (57) and Costa (32), who made 34 and 23 league appearances respectively, with Barca netting a LaLiga-high 86 times in 2019-20 as Atletico found the back of the net on just 51 occasions.

Suarez converted 10 of his 25 big chances, a better rate than Morata (10 of 28), but worse than Costa (five of 10). Unsurprisingly given Barca's approach, Suarez also had more assists (eight) than Morata and Costa combined (six).

And it could have been an even better campaign for Suarez, who hit the woodwork four times in LaLiga. Only Osasuna midfielder Roberto Torres (six) and Real Madrid star Karim Benzema (five) hit it more.

Suarez, who turns 34 in January, may be declining, but he shapes as a shrewd signing by Atletico. He is, of course, declining from a player who produced an incredible 2015-16 season, when he scored 40 goals and provided 16 assists in 35 LaLiga games to lead the formidable 'MSN' trident that included Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Finding form again in the Champions League

Atletico have fallen heartbreakingly short in two Champions League finals since 2014, and were knocked out at the same stage as Barcelona – the quarter-finals – last season.

Suarez had struggled in Europe's top club competition in two seasons before 2019-20, scoring just twice in 20 Champions League appearances.

In fact, Suarez was directly involved in just eight goals in those 20 games, but he improved on that last season, scoring five and assisting two in seven outings.

Morata, meanwhile, scored three times and had an assist in eight appearances, while Costa was goalless in seven. Suarez also converted four of his six big chances, while creating 11 chances – the same number as Real Madrid playmaker Eden Hazard and just two fewer than Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Plenty would need to go right for Atletico to end their Champions League wait in 2020-21, but Suarez at least recaptured some better form in Europe last season.

Luis Suarez's trophy-laden association with Barcelona came to an end on Wednesday as he joined LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid.

Suarez celebrated countless titles after swapping Premier League giants Liverpool for Barcelona in 2014, while establishing himself as a Blaugrana great.

During his time at Camp Nou, Suarez formed part of Barca's famed 'MSN' alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar before it was broken up three years ago.

As Suarez prepares for life in the Spanish capital, we look at the 33-year-old's Barca career in numbers.

 

13 – Suarez departs Catalonia having won no less than 13 pieces of silverware in a Barca jersey. Among his haul are four LaLiga titles, the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, four Copa del Rey triumphs and a pair of Supercopa de Espana honours.

283 – The Uruguay international was a mainstay in Barca's starting XI, amassing just under 300 appearances.

198 – Only two players in Barca's history have scored more goals than Suarez – Messi (634) and Cesar (232). Of those goals, 147 were in LaLiga from just 191 matches. He also netted 25 Champions League goals.

1 – He opened his goalscoring account for Barca in his sixth game. A Champions League encounter against APOEL in November 2014 set the tone for Suarez.

59 – In his second year at Barca in 2015-16, Suarez earned the Golden Shoe as Europe's top scorer thanks to 40 LaLiga goals and 59 across all competitions.

114 – Suarez reached a century of Barca league goals quicker than anyone else in the team's history – needing just 114 games – in January 2018.

97 – Not only a prolific goalscorer, Suarez provided plenty of support up front. The veteran contributed close to a century of assists in Barcelona.

Luis Suarez formed one of the world's best attacks when 'MSN' came together at Barcelona.

Suarez's arrival at Camp Nou from Liverpool in 2014 saw him join Lionel Messi and Neymar at the LaLiga giants and the trio flourished.

But Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million move just three years later, and Suarez's exit for Atletico Madrid was confirmed on Wednesday.

Using Opta data, we take a look back at the formidable 'MSN' trident.

77 – Barca won an incredible 77 per cent of matches in which 'MSN' played.

73.7 – There was a clear drop-off in results when at least one of the Barca trio was absent, with the win ratio slipping to 73.7 per cent. Points per game was the same at 2.4, however.

253 – In the 113 matches 'MSN' all played together, the trio contributed 253 goals for Barcelona.

104 – Messi's goal ratio was a little under one per game when 'MSN' were all in the Barcelona team.

68.9 – When one member of 'MSN' was absent, Barcelona's possession stood at 68.9 per cent, higher than the 66.6 per cent when they all played.

3 – Without at least one 'MSN' member, Barcelona averaged three goals a game, compared to a slightly lower 2.8 goals per game with Messi, Neymar and Suarez all playing.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.