An emotional Luis Suarez took a swipe at former club Barcelona for ‘underestimating’ and ‘undervaluing’ him after leading Atletico Madrid to a first LaLiga title success in seven years.
Suarez scored the winning goal in Atletico’s 2-1 victory over Real Valladolid on Saturday to edge out bitter rivals Real Madrid in a pulsating finale to the Spanish top-flight season. Valladolid had taken an early lead but goals from Angel Correa and Suarez saw Diego Simeone’s men maintain their two-point advantage at the summit.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid also came from behind to beat Villarreal. However, they needed their city rivals to drop points to retain their title and that did not happen. Barcelona finished in third, seven points adrift of the title winners.
Suarez certainly answered his critics as he notched 21 goals and added three assists in his debut season for the club.
The 34-year-old arrived in Madrid last summer after Barca decided he was too old and parted company.
And the former Liverpool man couldn’t resist having a pop at the Catalan giants in an emotional interview.
“What I experienced was difficult. Barcelona didn’t value me, they underestimated me and Atletico opened the doors for me,” the Uruguay star told LaLiga TV (as cited by Metro) after the final whistle.
Luis Suarez breaks down in tears talking to his family after leading Atletico Madrid to their first La Liga title in seven years 🏆😭 pic.twitter.com/APEOg5FPpD
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) May 22, 2021
“I will always be grateful to this great club for trusting me. My wife, my children, they all suffered. I have been playing football for so many years and they never suffered so much.’
“It is an amazing feeling to perform in the final game of the season. My work is to help the team and pay them back by scoring goals.
“Atletico is a huge club and we have shown it this season. We have been the most consistent performers and that is why we are champions.”
Simeone thrilled to spread some joy
Simeone was also overcome with emotion after steering Atleti to the title for a second time in his spell as manager.
He said: “The world is going through a different phase right now so if we can give some joy to people it means so much to us.
“32 players I think have been involved, everyone as important ad the other. I am extremely grateful. The players who haven’t been involved have been so respectful of my decisions and the group in general.
“The first thing that came to me was a smile. I wanted to laugh. I don’t know why. It is joy that is warm inside.
“I was thinking back to ahead of then game when we were leaving and didn’t know if we would continue after the title win.
“This group has a tremendous future now. The club is growing and has done a fabulous job. It is more important than the results.
“We have always been fighting everybody to win this trophy.
“The people sometimes get bored of me and my approach but I am a really stubborn person.”