Champions League

Suarez to return in style

2015-02-23 13:24
Luis Suarez (Supplied)
Luis Suarez (Supplied)

Madrid - Luis Suarez will have another chance to justify the massive fee Barcelona paid for him Tuesday when he returns to England to face Manchester City in the Champions League round of 16

The history of football is full of players weighed down by a massive price tag, and this is currently the case with Luis Suarez.

Tuesday will see Suarez return to England for the first time since his July move from Liverpool to Barcelona, to face Manchester City in a Champions League round of 16 first leg.

Barca raised eyebrows by paying Liverpool a club record fee of 81 million euros (92.2 million dollars) for Suarez in July, just days after FIFA had hit the Uruguay striker with a four-month ban for biting at the World Cup.

"It was a surprising signing, to say the least," commented Catalan radio RAC1.

"To buy a player with his record of controversy, with a long ban from FIFA, and for such a high fee, was a very questionable move."

Suarez was unable to make his Barca debut until October 25 and his debut was a game to forget - a 3-1 Clasico defeat at Real Madrid.

Even so, the Barca fans could hardly wait to see Suarez link up with fellow South Americans Lionel Messi and Neymar, in what was billed as "el Tridente de la Gloria" - "the Trident of Glory."

Well, four months later and the fans are still waiting. Messi and Neymar have done well so far this season, but Suarez is looking increasing frustrated and irritated at his lack of goals.

Suarez has scored just seven goals for Barca in 22 appearances - hardly the statistics of a top-line striker with a heavy price tag.

While it is true that he has sometimes linked up well with Messi and Neymar, laying on goals for them, Suarez knows that he will ultimately be judged by his goals tally.

"Things have not been easy for me in the past eight months," he said recently.

"Not being able to play for four months was very difficult, to say the least...But now things are improving, and I am adapting to Barca's style of play little by little."

That didn't seem to be the case on Saturday, when he turned in another frustrated, barren and angry display in the 1-0 home defeat against Malaga, in which the most infamous teeth in football were once again gnashing in anger.

A return to England Tuesday might be just what Suarez needs to get back among the goals. After all, he banged in 82 goals in 133 matches for Liverpool in all competitions, between 2010 and 2014.

Suarez always seems to enjoy playing against English defences. He tore England apart virtually single-handedly at the 2014 World Cup, scoring both of Uruguay's goals in their 2-1 defeat of Roy Hodgson's team.

This is why Suarez can hardly wait for Tuesday's clash in Manchester.

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