When FC Barcelona’s new head coach Ronald Koeman said Luis Suarez was no longer in his plans, everyone thought the Uruguayan striker’s career would all be downhill from there.
But Atletico manager Diego Simeone saw something in Suarez, snapped him up, and declared his new signing would “lift the club to new heights.”
It seems Simeone was right about Suarez.
Midway through the 2020-21 season, Atletico sits on top of the La Liga table with 50 points and a game to spare, 10 massive points ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Atleti’s leading scorer? Luis Suarez, with 14 goals, the last two coming from a 4-2 away win over Cadiz last Jan. 31.
The “ageing” Suarez, who just turned 34 last month, shouldn’t be on top of his game anymore, but he is.
And for those who followed his career closely, Suarez should have been out of top flight football a long time ago due to his numerous infractions that were reprehensible as they were embarrassing.
In the 2011-12 season, the English Football Association found Suarez guilty of racism in his first season at Liverpool.
But it was his serial biting that that brought Suarez ignominy.
A season before his transfer to the Premier League, Suarez sank his teeth into the shoulders of a PSV player in the Eredivisie.
Two seasons later, he bit a Chelsea player, this time at Anfield.
Just when you thought his cannibalistic tendencies couldn’t get worse, Suarez playing for Uruguay, bit an Italian defender in a 2014 World Cup group match.
A much less talented player with a penchant for human flesh would no longer have a career to speak of.
But Suarez somehow managed to focus his appetite on scoring goals for his new team, FC Barcelona, which signed him for €82.3 million just a month after the 2014 World Cup biting fiasco.
The Uruguayan went on to spend the best years of his career with the Blaugrana, winning four La Liga titles and netting 147 goals during six seasons with the club, before he was let go last season despite scoring 21 goals.
Barca’s loss, however, is proving to be Atletico’s gain.
And if Suarez lifts the trophy with Atletico Madrid as top scorer, this should rank as his biggest, if not most memorable, achievement in his club career.
Let’s just hope Suarez doesn’t bite anyone late in the season.