Simeone likens Suarez to Fernando Torres as Atletico boss hails striker amid move rumours

By Sports Desk March 05, 2022

Diego Simeone compared Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid legend Fernando Torres as he backed the striker to keep performing when called on.

Suarez has been linked with a move away from Atletico at the end of the season, when his contract expires.

British press reports have suggested he could join up with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard, now manager of Aston Villa, while Spanish sports daily Marca on Saturday pointed to interest from the likes of Ajax, Inter and Sevilla.

Suarez's goals were crucial to Atletico winning LaLiga last season, following his shock move from Barcelona, but his output has decreased in 2021-22, with the Uruguayan scoring 11 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions.

Only 23 of those appearances have been as a starter, with Suarez no longer assured of a place in the Atletico team.

It remains to be seen whether head coach Simeone uses him, and in what capacity, in Sunday's game against Real Betis, a big fixture in the context of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Betis came into the weekend in third, with Atletico fifth but only one point behind the team they are preparing to visit.

Former Spain and Liverpool star Torres was considered a valuable asset by Simeone, albeit one whose workload he would carefully manage towards the end of his career.

"I've been lucky as a coach," said Simeone in a news conference on Saturday. "I've managed Torres, a world champion and Champions League winner. And he always trained in the same way, whether he was playing or not.

"I'm experiencing the same with Luis. He is always committed, always with the group, always present, and waiting for his moment to continue showing his validity, his goal. We hope that when his time comes, he shows it that way."

Simeone's side are out of the picture for the title this season, and Simeone is focusing on finishing on a high, looking to build for the coming seasons.

Even Antoine Griezmann is not assured of a place in the starting XI at present, but Simeone is reluctant to talk about such players being in the background.

"We don't use the word background," he said. "In each game we look to have those who can compete best to achieve the common goal that we all have."

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