Barcelona coach Luis Enrique tentatively branded Luis Suarez an honorary Catalan after the striker’s vital brace in the 2-1 Champions League win against Atletico Madrid.
The holders fell behind to a Fernando Torres strike in the all-La Liga quarter-final first leg at Camp Nou, but the goalscorer then saw red after picking up two bookings in quick succession to hand Barcelona the initiative.
Suarez might also have been sent off for kicking out at Juanfran but escaped censure and went on to score twice inside 12 second-half minutes to turn the tie around ahead of next week’s return clash at the Vicente Calderon.
The Uruguay international has 45 goals in as many club matches this season and Luis Enrique would be happy for the proud South American to have secondary entry on his passport.
“He has settled extraordinarily at Barcelona,” he said of Suarez, who moved to Camp Nou from Liverpool after the 2014 World Cup.
“He looks, not Catalan because Uruguayans could kill us, but he looks half-Catalan!
“What Luis Suarez does for us, not just his goals, but his work and character, is why we decided to sign him.”
Overall, it was another display from Barcelona that lacked their customary fluency, on the back of Saturday’s Clasico defeat to bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Star man Lionel Messi is in the unusual position of being without a goal for three club matches but his boss is unconcerned.
“I’ve seen Leo be very participative, not just tonight but also in El Clasico,” he said.
“Our challenge is very difficult and playing football is very complex.
“Despite having top quality players you can go through difficult periods like this and we shouldn’t become crazy or be too worried.
“There is not going to be an easy game against Atletico Madrid. None of us expects it to be.”
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