Atletico Madrid striker, Luis Suarez, has insisted that he’ll be the one to decide when it’s time to retire, as he tops the La Liga goalscoring charts after a summer in which “some people” questioned whether he was still capable of performing at the highest level.
Suarez left Barcelona on a free transfer last September after coach Ronald Koeman told the 34-year-old that he was no longer part of the club’s plans.
The striker joined Atletico, and his goals — 16 from 18 appearances, making him La Liga’s top scorer ahead of close friend Lionel Messi — have fired them to the top of the table.
Atletico are five points clear of Real Madrid with two games in hand and eight points ahead of Suarez’s former club Barca.
“I still feel like I’m enjoying this moment that I’m in today, in football’s elite,” Suarez told ESPN, at an event organised by Puma. “Being at Atletico, you’re in football’s elite. Some people didn’t believe that I could still be at this level. I’ve got the same enthusiasm.
“I hope that this year, next year and for however many years it is, I keep competing and giving my best, until you realise that you’ve gone as far as you can. But no one will get rid of me. I’ll decide when I go.”
Suarez believes that his stubborn nature — which pushed him to prove his doubters wrong last summer — has been key to his success from the very start.
“I’m one of those players who has always characterised himself as being stubborn,” Suarez said. “When I try something two, three, four times and it doesn’t work out, I’m not one of those players who will let their head drop, who will disappear. I’ll keep trying, because I’ve been that way since I was a kid.
“I used to get criticised when I was 18 years old and the coaches I had, like (Suarez’s coach at Nacional in 2005-06) Martin Lasarte, used to say: ‘Don’t look at the goals that the 18-year old kid is missing, if he misses seven or eight. Focus on the fact that he’s still trying a third time, or a fourth time. That’s what will make him go far.’ Those words stayed with me and I will be like that, I am like that.”