It takes a special player to take centre stage ahead of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Gareth Bale. Luis Suarez is that sort of player.
It’s been four long months since the Uruguayan pulled on a club jersey in earnest and there’s little doubt that he is chomping at the bit to get out on the Santiago Bernabeu pitch and remind everyone about his considerable footballing prowess.
Vilified by press and public alike, there is a very real sense that Suarez’s move to Barca is the last chance saloon for a player whose misdemeanours have followed him around like a bad smell.
Letting the football do the talking
A match-winning start against Madrid would be a fine way to remind everyone why the Catalans paid in the region of €75 million for his services. And the likelihood is that Los Blancos will be unable to contain this whirling dervish of a player for the entire 90 minutes.
31 goals last season was matched only by Cristiano Ronaldo in the top five European leagues, but such striking excellence has been somewhat glossed over because of the player’s penchant for nibbling on opponents.
Of course, there is no place in any sport for such acts, however when you’ve done the time, the slate needs to be wiped clean and everyone allowed to move on.
Flawed genius? Perhaps. But a genius none the less. And one that threatens to write his name right across this Saturday’s fixture. Certainly those La Liga staff who organize the fixture scheduling couldn’t have scripted things any better.
Suarez will not only bring a potency to Barca’s front line that’s as good as Messi’s, but also a quite unique skill-set. His direct running will unsettle Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Pepe and an ability to find space in between the lines will help open up the channels.
If no one can get to grips with Suarez’s expert movement from the get-go then, as he’s shown countless times in the past, he will be the match winner. Inside, outside, peeling off of the shoulder of the last defender, in behind to receive the through ball, over the top route one style....
Suarez’s versatility allows for any of the above scenarios. With no drop in performance level his addition to the Blaugrana ranks, especially for a game of such magnitude, is a god send.
The eyes of the world will be focused on his re-entry into club football, with Suarez under the most incredible and intense scrutiny for a debut.
Barca's new hero
Expected provocation must be ignored in favour of putting ball in onion bag, something he does with incredible frequency and aplomb. Do that in the first El Clasico of the season and come Sunday morning, Barca will have a new hero.