Former Barcelona striker, ‘El Pistolero’ Luis Suarez, is all fired up for Saturday’s Madrid Derby, with the Uruguay striker gearing up to face Real Madrid for the first time as an Atletico player, having only faced them numerous times before this as a dominant part of the MSN strike force in his Barcelona heydays.
The still-in-form forward joined Diego Simeone’s side in the summer from after having been deemed surplus to current Barca coach Ronald Koeman’s plans and was forced to make a retreat to Atletico Madrid. Suarez has since been in fine form for his new club, probably to the astonishment and embarrassment of the Barca boss who has not been having exactly the finest moments of glory in his new job since taking over the reins from ousted ex boss Quique Setien. Suarez has scored five goals in eleven matches across all competitions this season so far and is expected to notch more the rest of this season.
Suarez expressed his frustration at being brought off in the second half of his team’s 2-0 victory against RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday. Manager Diego Simeone will no doubt be hoping for the 33-year-old to channel his frustrations on their city rivals this weekend in the derby.
Beleaguered Zinedine Zidane and his Real Madrid side will most likely in keen anticipation of what to expect from the striker when the two teams meet in La Liga for the first time this season, although stopping him would be a different proposition altogether.
Suarez had been an integral part of Spain’s famed ‘El Clasico’ fixture on sixteen occasions over his six years as a Barcelona player with his scintillating peformances with eleven goals scored.
The former Liverpool frontman will be looking to stir up more of the same action and glory for his new team when he lines up for Atletico tomorrow night, telling Marca that he accepts Simeone’s decision to bring him off against Salzburg.
“I don’t believe that because I came from Barcelona they can’t substitute me,” Suarez admitted.
Real Madrid are preparing for the fixture knowing that defeat will leave them nine points behind their city rivals, who have played a game fewer.
Zidane’s side currently sit fourth in the league standings but did ensure Champions League progression with a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.
The Frenchman has conceded that Atletico are favourites for the title this season. “That’s what they’re showing. They’re playing well; they’re winning. They’ve always been competitive, [and] they’re top of the table today,” 48-year-old Zidane said when quizzed on whether their rivals could clinch a first league title since 2014.