Atlético Madrid

Simeone wants Suárez to be a Falcao-like catalyst for success

Luis Suarez joined Atletico Madrid with a point to prove and Diego Simeone thinks he could give his side an edge in the LaLiga title race.

Simeone wants Suárez to be a Falcao-like catalyst for success
ANGEL GUTIERREZ AFP

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

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

The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barça'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 Suárez 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 Suárez'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.

Simeone: "When the option of Suárez appeared, what was I going to say?"

"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."