Luis Suárez scores two and assists one in Atletico debut demolition of Granada
Barcelona might be wondering if they have made a mistake after Luis Suárez came off the bench to remind everyone that he is far from finished in football.
Just 48 hours after touching down in the capital to be unveiled as an Atlético Madrid player, Luis Suárez gave the Metropolitano a taste of things to come on his debut with two goals and an assist in a 20-minute cameo on Sunday. Suárez was told in no uncertain terms by Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman that he was surplus to requirements at Camp Nou but the Dutchman and the Barça board could be forgiven for wondering if they have made a mistake on the evidence of the Uruguayan's immediate impact under Diego Simeone.
The Atlético coach is known for his motivational qualities and Suárez came out of the blocks every ounce a player with something to prove against Granada. Within two minutes he had provided an assist for Marcos Llorente and by the final whistle he had already added a sixth of Álvaro Morata's entire tally over the course of the previous Liga campaign. Simeone said he had snapped up Suárez to improve on the Spain striker's goal rate and provide a Radamel Falcao-like presence up front. The former Barcelona striker, who has averaged 29 goals a season for almost a decade and a half, took little time to respond.
Atlético lay down early marker for Real Madrid and Barcelona
Granada had won both of their games this season and still sit second in the table despite being mauled in the Metropolitano. Diego Martínez's side were last season's surprise package and reached Europe after a sixth-placed finish but the visitors were blown away by an Atlético side that could take advantage of Real Madrid's lack of transfer activity and Barça's search for a new identity to launch a serious challenge this season.
The last time Barcelona sold an unwanted veteran striker to Atlético was in 2013, when David Villa arrived for a song. Diego Simeone's side got the better end of that deal when the 2013-14 season came to an end, the fat lady clearing her throat on the Camp Nou stage on the final day of the campaign as Atleti wrested the title from their hosts.
Not only did Suárez get off the mark but Diego Costa opened his account after just eight minutes. The Spain striker scored just five times for Atlético last season; competition is already proving a rag to Simeone's raging bull. The prospect of facing both strikers at the same time is one few sides will relish.
For Koeman and Barcelona, there is little to do but hope that the club's decision (the Dutchman made a point of saying it wasn't entirely his) does not prove to be another bullet in the foot. Suárez will surely have his up when Koeman begins his tenure on Sunday evening against Villarreal, eager to see if absence will make a disgruntled Leo Messi's heart grow fonder still.