When Barcelona signed Luis Suárez last year, few people imagined his scoring performance to be so poor by now. His five goals in 16 matches do not quite meet the expectations of Catalonian fans or the board of directors after his fantastic last two seasons at Liverpool.
There are many excuses that have been made to justify his lack of goals. One of them is his non-participation in fixtures until October due to his ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup. However, he has not been performing as well as expected ever since he came back. It has also been said that, at Barça, the striker’s role is not to score; that is Messi’s task. Everything makes sense now, you may think. Suárez is just a compliment to help Messi score and, once in a while, decide games. Well, it does make sense, and it also does not.
Though Messi has been the team’s top scorer for the past five years, Barcelona have been looking for a striker who could score at least a similar amount of goals
The Catalonian side has one of the most powerful offensive tridents in the world: the one formed by Neymar and the aforementioned Messi and Suárez. Pedro and the Barça B (youth team) components Sandro, Adama and Munir complete the offence. The touch and scoring instinct of this squad is undeniable. It should not be so surprising, then, that the responsibility to create goals is more distributed than in most teams, especially compared to Suárez’s Liverpool, where he was irrefutably the most valuable asset along with Daniel Sturridge.
So why did Barcelona sign Luis Suárez? Was it because they wanted someone to assist Messi and Neymar? Or were they looking for more goals? The answer is simple. Though Messi has been the team’s top scorer for the past five years, Barcelona have been looking for a striker who could score at least a similar amount of goals. Eto’o, Ibrahimovic and Villa, although successful at winning titles with Barcelona, did not quite achieve that task. This shows the high level of difficulty of this accomplishment, as not even the best strikers in the world have been able to meet it.
As their major rivals, Barça cannot let Real strengthen themselves with yet more superstars
If this is true, and it is not just Suárez who cannot reach the expected performance, is he the piece Barcelona needs to complete their puzzle? Though we cannot know for sure yet, the answer is probably. This lies on facts and odds. For instance, the fact that Suárez is one of the top strikers on earth. If he cannot do it, odds are that no one else can. And what if Suárez was not in Barçelona? There is a high chance Madrid would be his home. As their major rivals, Barça cannot let Real strengthen themselves with yet more superstars. Both teams must keep up with each other for their own wellbeing. So, did Barçelona sign Suárez just to avoid him from going to Real Madrid, and not because they needed him?
The real conclusion is that Suárez is the same as he was before. He is helping Barçelona to be one of the best teams in the world. The only difference is that he is now part of a squad where the leader is someone else. And there can only be one leader in the pack.
Guillermo Guridi Álvarez
Images courtesy of mirror.co.uk