Suarez can take Atletico to a different level, says Simeone

Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes Luis Suarez can lift the club to new heights and said his new signing will be in the squad to face Granada on Sunday. 

Suarez has joined Atletico after being pushed out by Barcelona, who allowed the 33-year-old to leave for free, with only an extra 5 million euros due in variables. 

“His arrival is an opportunity for us to keep growing as a club and to have new energy as a team,” said Simeone. 

“We spoke before he went to Barcelona at a time when the possibility came up that he might join us. The last six years he’s had have been incredibly successful. 

“His teammates want to make him settle in as quickly as possible so his goals and game can help us win.” 

Simeone said Suarez trained with his new side on Friday and is in line to make his debut against Granada at the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend.

“Yesterday he had a long day, he finished training very well with the team,” said Simeone. 

“He seems to be so motivated and excited and of course he will be in the squad, available for the team. Tomorrow we will see if he starts or comes on in the second half.” 

Suarez has said he was drawn to the possibility of competing at the highest level with Atletico and proving he is still among the best strikers in the world. 

“I’m going to be honest, he was convinced from the first moment that this was the place for him to keep being a force, to keep showing he is still a great striker and to be able to keep sustaining the years he had at Barcelona,” said Simeone.

“I found in him what we need in this club, a dream and a desire to be here. When people come here with that kind of motivation, things always go well for them.” 

– Morata replacement –

Suarez’s arrival means Atletico have secured an instant replacement for Alvaro Morata, who moved to Juventus on loan. 

Suarez scored 21 goals last season for Barcelona while Morata hit 16 for Atletico. 

“We all know what Luis brings. He is a focal point, he’s great with his back to goal, his movement inside the box creates chances,” said Simeone. 

“When we knew Alvaro might leave we decided the best way to continue would be to look for someone who scored even more goals last season. 

“It wasn’t easy to think of a replacement for Alvaro but when the possibility of Suarez came up, the numbers spoke for themselves.” 

Simeone will be in the dug-out on Sunday, having recovered following his positive test for coronavirus. 

“We had the support of the doctors, who also tried to make sure I wasn’t too far from what the team was doing despite my absence, which I also think might perhaps even be beneficial,” said Simeone. 

“After so many years of working every day with the players, having 15 days away perhaps could have been good too. 

“Then when they say you have tested negative, you feel joy, enthusiasm, emotion, and incredibly appreciative of that excitement you always feel for the start of the season.” 

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