By TOM OLIVER
AN emotional Luis Suarez hit out at former club Barcelona for ‘underestimating’ and ‘undervaluing’ him after leading Atletico Madrid to their first La Liga title in seven years.
Suarez scored the winning goal in Atleti’s 2-1 victory over Real Valladolid to edge out fierce rivals Real Madrid on a pulsating final day of the season in the Spanish top flight.
Valladolid had earlier taken the lead thanks to Oscar Plano’s 18th-minute strike but Diego Simeone’s men turned it around in the second half to maintain their two-point advantage at the top of the table, with Angel Correa and Suarez their heroes on Saturday evening. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid came from behind to beat Villarreal but ultimately failed in their defence of the 2019/20 title as they required Atleti to drop points.
Suarez has proven his doubters wrong in emphatic fashion with 21 goals and three assists across a phenomenal debut campaign with Atleti since arriving from Barca and the striker couldn’t resist having a dig at his former side – who deemed him too old and surplus to requirements – in his teary post-match interview.
‘What I experienced was difficult. Barcelona didn’t value me, they underestimated me and Atletico opened the doors for me,’ the Uruguay forward told La Liga TV shortly after the final whistle.
‘I will always be grateful to this great club for trusting me.
‘My wife, my children, they all suffered. I have been playing football for so many years and they never suffered so much.’
‘It is an amazing feeling to perform in the final game of the season.
‘My work is to help the team and pay them back by scoring goals. ‘Atletico is a huge club and we have shown it this season.
We have been the most consistent performers and that is why we are champions.
Simeone was overcome with emotion after steering Atleti to the title for a second time in his spell as manager – following their triumph back in 2013/14 – and insisted his team were only going to get better with time.
‘The world is going through a different phase right now so if we can give some joy to people it means so much to us,’ the Argentine said.
’32 players I think have been involved, everyone as important ad the other. I am extremely grateful. The players who haven’t been involved have been so respectful of my decisions and the group in general.
‘The first thing that came to me was a smile. I wanted to laugh. I don’t know why.
It is joy that is warm inside. ‘I was thinking back to ahead of then game when we were leaving and didn’t know if we would continue after the title win.
‘This group has a tremendous future now. The club is growing and has done a fabulous job.
It is more important than the results. ‘We have always been fighting everybody to win this trophy.
‘The people sometimes get bored of me and my approach but I am a really stubborn person.’ – METRO.CO.UK