Luis Suarez feared he would not fit into Barcelona’s style before a positional switched allowed his formidable combination with Lionel Messi and Neymar to flourish.
Suarez moved to the Camp Nou from Liverpool in 2014, although his debut was delayed due to a global suspension for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini when playing for Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup.
The all-action striker was unsure whether Barca’s celebrated, intricate passing style could limit him – worries long since banished for the 29-year-old, who helped the club to the treble last season and boasts a phenomenal 36 goals in 34 appearances this season.
“At first I didn’t think I was going to fit into Barcelona’s way of playing,” Suarez said in an interview with former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher, published by the Daily Mail.
“There was a lot of tiki-taka and I was thinking that without a lot of space to play in, I’d find it more difficult.
“I worried about that. But the help of my team-mates and the fact Luis Enrique ended up putting me in the number nine position meant I felt more comfortable.
“I’ve got a magnificent relationship with Leo and Ney. You know if you have a good relationship with them off the pitch it will be that way on the pitch too. They took it as a sign that I had come to help them, not to compete with them.”
Suarez’s pivotal switch to a central attacking role came following a consultation with coach Luis Enrique and Messi, who had been playing nominally as Barcelona’s main striker while the new recruit toiled on the right wing.
“The coach made the decision,” Suarez explained. “When we started off, I did not feel comfortable on the right and Leo didn’t feel as comfortable.
“So there was a game against Ajax in the Champions League, where we said we would try to change it to see how it worked. We felt comfortable and we decided to stay that way.
“The coach was completely in agreement because that was what he wanted to make sure that we all felt as comfortable as possible.”
It proved to be the start of a formidable run of success for Luis Enrique’s star trio and Suarez believes their ability to play selflessly remains crucial.
“I know what my strengths are and what theirs are and what the three of us do is play for the good of the team,” he added.
“We realise that Leo is the best and we play so that Barcelona win trophies. There is no envy between us three.
“There have been cases in the past where some players have fought or argued among themselves and there has been some envy and the team has suffered because of it.
“That’s not going to happen now.”