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A LOOK AT LA LIGA

The bruise brothers

Suárez is heading to Atleti.
Suárez is heading to Atleti. / AFP
  • Luis Suárez's move to Atlético could create one of the most fearsome frontlines in European football

It's like the day the two school bullies are picked to play together on the same team on the school playground - brace yourself for the partnership of Luis Suárez and Diego Costa.

For years the 'bruise brothers' have been kept apart but now there is the prospect of the two most feared forwards in the world going on the football lash together every weekend in Atlético Madrid shirts.

It has been an intriguing summer for Suárez. It became clear his Barcelona career was over when a revolution was sparked following the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. He was top of the leaked 'unwanted' list at the Nou Camp.

Next came negotiations with Juventus. To be signed as an EU player he needed to attain the same Italian passport as his wife. That required a language examination. The mandatory mask prevented him from undergoing a verbal test from the media as he emerged from the wonderfully named University for Foreigners.

It was announced he'd passed but later revealed the topics and score may have been fixed in advance. It's alleged that a tutor claimed, "He can't speak a word."

Suárez diplomatically said the paperwork would take too long to secure his move to Turin, so he sought an opening elsewhere.

Next came the offer from Atlético. On the face of things this was an ideal move. Barça could get a modest transfer fee and the Uruguayan off the payroll. However, it was decided they didn't want him moving to a direct rival.

Not for the first time in his career, Suárez needed to call his lawyers. It emerged that there was a list of clubs he wouldn't be allowed to sign for. Namely Real Madrid, Manchester City and Paris Saint-German. Atlético wasn't on the list.

Despite the attempt to block the move, nothing could be done and he packed his scoring-boots for a new life at the Wanda Metropolitano.

He still stands as the club's third in the all-time scorers list. It shouldn't be forgotten that Suárez outscored Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Pichichi and Golden Boot in 2016. He scored the winner in his first home Clásico and the Champions League final. In his suitcase will be four Liga winners medals and four Copa del Rey winners medals.

He's been nothing but a success yet there was no firework farewell, just a streamed video and online thank you from the club he served for six years. And there lies the issue. He stayed a season too long. Like the rock stars, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Carles Puyol he should have departed the stage leaving the crowd wanting more.

Now he hooks up with football's other bad boy, Diego Costa. The biggest surprise in researching for this column is discovering that the Brazil-born striker is still only 31 years of age!

Costa was sent off on his Atleti debut, served his latest eight-game ban in 2019 and appears to have run out of steam. The heavyweight division could be rekindled by a rematch with Suárez and Costa.

It's a frightening partnership and there is recent history of Barcelona losing a coveted striker to Atlético; David Villa made the same move for the same five-million-euro fee in 2013 and inspired the Madrid club to the title. It prompted Barcelona to make a move for Suárez in 2014; Atleti replaced Villa with Costa. The world turns!