Luis Suarez has praised Atletico Madrid and the club’s fans for the “love” he has received since his arrival, as the Uruguayan striker bids an emotional goodbye after his last home game on Sunday.
Sevilla held Atletico to a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano, confirming both sides’ spots in next season’s Champions League. Atletico took the lead in the first half thanks to Jose Gimenez’s header, but Youssef En-Nesyri equalized in the 85th minute.
“Thank you Lucho for making us winners,” read a huge banner unfurled in the fans before kickoff, and Suarez was obviously emotional as he walked the field with his family after full-time. The 35-year-two-year old’s deal with Atletico Madrid ends this summer.
After being released by cash-strapped Barcelona in 2020, Suarez exacted vengeance by playing a key role in Atletico Madrid’s La Liga championship success last season, scoring 21 goals in 32 league matches and finishing as the team’s leading scorer.
The Uruguayan has been effective but not spectacular this season, scoring 14 goals in 48 games, and his drop from last year’s high standards is indicative of Atletico’s erratic season.
Since the turn of the year, Suarez has often begun on the bench, with Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone increasingly preferring Joao Felix.
“I appreciate all the Atletico supporters, each and every one of them,” Suarez stated afterward. “The affection they have shown me since I came has been incredible, and I will never forget it.” I attempted to reciprocate it on the field, and I gave my all to a club that welcomed me with open arms.
“After not being able to enjoy myself the previous season, I will always carry the passion of this club with me.” “I will always have Atletico in my heart.”
Gimenez’s 30th-minute header seemed to give Atletico victory, and with Real Betis defeating Granada, Sevilla’s battle for fourth would have gone down to the wire.
Instead, with five minutes left, En-Nesyri nodded in Oliver Torres’ cross to give Sevilla the point they needed to secure their top-four berth after a difficult few weeks that put manager Julen Lopetegui under fire. Instead, following the final whistle, Sevilla’s exuberant players hurled Lopetegui into the air.
En-equalizer Nesyri’s also prevented Atletico from clinching third place. Atletico is a point ahead of Sevilla and will complete the season away at Real Sociedad next weekend. Athletic Bilbao will face Sevilla at home.
Sociedad secures a berth in the Europa League
Real Sociedad came from behind to overcome Villarreal 2-1 at La Ceramica in what was touted as the Europa League qualifying match.
Villarreal needed to win to keep their chances of finishing sixth alive, and they seized the lead just before halftime thanks to Francis Coquelin’s acrobatic effort. However, La Real came roaring back in the second half, with Alexander Isak tapping in at the back post and Martin Zubimendi prodding in after Villarreal failed to clear.
Real Sociedad and Real Betis will now compete in the Europa League next season, but Villarreal are a point clear of Athletic Bilbao and may require a win away at Barcelona on the last day to qualify for the Europa Conference League.