Luis Suarez Reveals The Simple Tweak He And Lionel Messi Made Which Changed The Game
Luis Suarez has revealed the simple but effective change he and Lionel Messi made, which worked wonders for the two of them at Barcelona.
Even though the Uruguayan had been electric at Liverpool as the central striker, Messi was playing as a false nine when Suarez moved to the Blaugrana in a £65 million move.
The five-time Ballon d'Or had been unplayable in the role after the tweak made by Pep Guardiola and so Suarez had to settle with playing on the right of the front three, with Neymar occupying the left.
He did, however, have the freedom to come inside under Luis Enrique.
"The system we had with Luis Enrique was for Leo to play as a false nine, getting rid of the traditional number ten," Suarez told SPORT in a new interview.
"Neymar would go to one side and I would go to the other. But I was always tasked with coming inside and occupying that space between the centre back and the full back."
But then, in a difficult game away at Suarez's old team Ajax, the two swapped roles and after a conversation during the game between the two of them - as well as Enrique giving his blessing - they stuck at it and the rest is history as they say.
"They sat really deep and of course, with Leo in that position, he wasn't finding much space and they put me in there. We made two really good plays and when I was about to go back out wide, Leo said:'If you want, you can stay here.'
"As if he was asking me. I stayed in that position and it was later Luis Enrique who decided, after speaking to all three of us, to stick with it. "Would you like to keep playing that way?" With me as the '9'. We all said yes. And that's how it stayed."
The combination play between the two South Americans ever since has been glorious, with Barca scoring countless goals through Messi coming in off the right flank and threading through Suarez.
This link-up from the game against Getafe in January is a perfect example of how they can fashion something out of absolutely nothing, with the weight of pass and timing of run just superb.
Name a more iconic duo? We'll wait...