Luis Suarez Development in 2015 Key to Barcelona's Season

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistDecember 26, 2014

Barcelona's Neymar, left, with his teammate Luis Suarez, celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during a Group F Champions League soccer match between FC Barcelona and PSG at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday Dec. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Barcelona are one point behind Real Madrid as we move into 2015—and that’s without star summer signing Luis Suarez hitting his stride yet.

Lionel Messi and Neymar have been performing well so far, with the latter particularly impressive. When the third member of Barcelona’s attacking triumvirate finds his feet at the Camp Nou, it will make for the most terrifying strike force in world football.

Full disclosure—Real Madrid also have a game in hand, which if they win would see them move four points ahead of their arch-rivals.

However, given the doom and gloom in Catalonia when Madrid beat Barcelona in the Clasico and then Luis Enrique’s side were beaten at home by Celta Vigo, this has been a good end to the year for Barcelonaand, indeed, for Suarez himself.

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

It would have been extremely disappointing if the forward had not scored in La Liga before the end of 2014, so netting against Cordoba in Barcelona’s 5-0 win last Saturday was a welcome relief for the forward.

Goals have proven hard to come by for him in Blaugrana colours. He has only scored three times in 11 appearances, with two of those coming in the Champions League against Apoel Nicosia and Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona signed the forward on the back of his amazing season with Liverpool, which saw him win the Premier League’s golden boot and the European Golden Shoe award.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

With that being said, the assists have been flowing. The striker has created several opportunities for Neymar and Messi, as well as Barcelona’s other stars.

The forward spoke to club media about his aims and ambitions in 2015, with an extensive interview published on the official website on Boxing Day.

Suarez acknowledged his role in setting up many Barcelona goals, saying:

A forward always has to help the team, either with assists or goals. I am obviously a striker who likes to score a lot of goals and have done that in every team I have been with. I’m not scoring much at the moment, but I’m sure that with help from my colleagues, the goals will come.

But as long as the team is winning important games as it is, then I’ll be happy whether I score or not. Although I do make high demands of myself.

As Barcelona-based journalist Graham Hunter pointed out in an excellent analysis of what will make Suarez successful at Barcelona, scoring plenty of goals isn’t even the benchmark.

David Ramos/Associated Press

The Scot points out how several Barcelona strikers take time to adjust to life at the Camp Nou, from Henrik Larsson to Thierry Henry. Hunter writes, for ESPN FC

Bought to score goals, bought because he is prolific—"he had one job ..."—as the fashionable phrase goes, attached to a picture of some form of monumental screw-up. One job and he's made a pig's ear out of it.

Sadly for his critics, those who'd like to judge him right now, he comes from a long line of failures. Henrik Larsson. David Villa. Thierry Henry, real no-goodniks like them.

All Suarez needs to do is continue developing, and with every passing game he will become a greater and greater weapon for his side.

Barcelona have done well to keep within touching distance of Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid side, a truly excellent team.

The Italian’s men are destroying everything put before them at present, but one slip and a win for Barcelona in the next Liga Clasico would put Enrique in the driving seat.

If Suarez continues to get sharper and sharper, then they will be well poised for their title tilt.

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