Luis Suárez is cutting a frustrated figure for his club after being rushed back from a knee injury for his country. But now Uruguay might pay the penalty
It was a telling image.
After missing yet another big chance, Luis Suárez was done with it all. The match was already in second-half stoppage time and Barcelona was comfortably 3-0 up against Las Palmas, but Suárez couldn’t hide his frustration as he ripped off his own shirt before leaving the pitch without being substituted.
It wasn’t just about that opportunity, it is something that has been going on ever since the Uruguayan had been rushed back to play for his national side in early September. For a knee injury that normally rules a player out for four weeks, Suárez recovered in half the time to play for his country in two vital World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
Uruguay picked up a draw and a win, getting the team within touching distance of Russia but while his country has come closer to reaching its goal, Suárez has only gone backwards in terms of finding his top form. Although the forward was deemed fit to play for Uruguay, it was clear that the No9 wasn’t his usual self and was still limited by his injury. Back in Spain with Barcelona, that was also noticeable as Suárez couldn’t play to the level we have come accustomed to.
He has looked off the pace and it has resulted in the player losing a great deal of his confidence. In Suárez’ case confidence is a big issue. When it is in abundance, Suárez has no limits and there is simply no stopping the striker but when low on confidence Suárez is not even 50% the player he can be.
DID YOU KNOW?
Luis Suárez is the only player in history to score in both a Copa América and a Champions League final. pic.twitter.com/tqPcEOoZKG
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) March 26, 2017
The Uruguayan has always been prone to misplace a simple ball only to score a stunning volley two minutes later – it makes him a mysterious, yet wonderful player. However, when his confidence is as low as it currently is, everything seems to fail and it leads to a lot of frustration from the fans and from Suárez himself.
That his poor form has got to him was apparent on Sunday and in my opinion, it’s a good thing. You could argue that Suárez has nothing left to play for. He has won the Spanish league twice, won the Champions League and won the Copa América next to a handful of domestic cups. But Suárez belongs to the top bracket and players in that top bracket always keep that desire to win, regardless of what they have already achieved.
The spell Suárez is currently going through is not a decline as some people have been saying. At 30-years-of-age, El Pistolero is still in his prime years physically speaking. His loss of form is down to confidence and his physical condition.
When the Uruguayan’s fitness comes back, his confidence will start to return as well and we will see the old Suárez back again. Fighting for every ball with the Garra Charrúa spirit running through his body, ready to punish defenders and firing on all cylinders once again.
Suárez has never taken the ordinary route to success and this season he is not taking it either, but what he has always done is succeed and silence his critics. Things will be no different this time around.