Atletico Madrid veteran Luis Suarez once again showed that Barcelona made a mistake releasing him on a free transfer with a crucial goal on Sunday.
The Uruguayan scored a 90th minute winner against Alaves – having earlier provided an assist – to take Atletico two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with two games in hand.
Suarez has now scored nine goals in La Liga – all of them from open play – from 12 appearances (11 starts). He is joint-top scorer in the division and no one has scored more non-penalty goals.
In total in all competitions, between club and country, the 33-year-old has 12 goals in 18 appearances and is on course to better his 23 strikes in 39 games last term.
This is not what Barcelona expected when they agreed to let Suarez go this past summer.
New manager Ronald Koeman informed Suarez that he was not part of his plans ahead of the new campaign. Meanwhile, the club were content to let the 33-year-old leave a year before his contract expired in order to save on his hefty salary.
The ex-Liverpool star was originally set to join Juventus but, after some well-publicised passport problems, Barcelona inexplicably allowed Suarez to join a La Liga rival.
It has proven to be a big mistake.
While Suarez has led Atletico to the top of the table and in with a chance of only their second title victory this millennium, Barcelona have endured their worst start to a season for over 30 years.
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Prior to Sunday evening’s match against Huesca, they found themselves in sixth position – a whopping 13 points behind Suarez’s Atletico.
Barcelona’s attacking problems
Barca have suffered terribly in attack. Indeed Suarez has the same number of La Liga goals as Barca attackers Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, Trincao and Philippe Coutinho have between them.
Suarez even has more goals than his former strike-partner Lionel Messi ahead of the Huesca match. The Argentine has seven La Liga goals, and two of these are penalties.
Barca’s chances of winning a major title this season already look slim and even a top four place in La Liga should not be taken for granted. The decision to release Suarez has been one of many bad decisions the club has made in recent times.