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When a couple of years ago Messi and Suarez became one of the best duos in European football, no one thought about the future where Messi is retiring from international play and receives an injury that could potentially end his professional career as well. Thankfully, none of that actually happened and we are living in a world where Messi is recovering steadily and even played for Argentina in a couple of matches after announcing his premature retirement.

Again, many experts were ready for his decision to undo his previous move. Ending international career at 29 is absurd and especially when we speak about one of the greatest (if not the greatest) footballer of all times. Amazing talent coupled with excellent physique and out-of-this-world knowledge about the game made Messi a brilliant player. Millions of fans pray for his health and thousands of experts praise him on daily basis. He is a true legend alive. If you want to bet against Messi, think twice about your decisions and maybe find some football betting tips and predictions. Chances are that you are making a mistake betting against this player.

So why Suarez and why do we speak about the potential of Messi’s return? Isn’t it set in stone? While no one would ever imagine a world where Barcelona says goodbye to Messi, there are other complications that may (and hopefully will not) make King’s return questionable.

The Great Duo.

Suarez is a very capable footballer on his own and his incredible talent has been lounging on the first pages of various sport tabloids for as long as he was old enough to play football without his parents looking after him. Luiz is probably one of the brightest stars in Europe and a hard-working star. He made his name not only due to extraordinary talent, but due to his work ethics and never-fading desire to learn something new.

However, initially Messi was against Suarez and wanted to see one of Argentinian forwards in front of him in Barcelona. After long bargaining and talks, Suarez was acquired and Messi had to work with him whether he wanted to or not. There were people who were afraid that two footballers will struggle to find a common ground on the field. Some even speculated that Suarez and Messi have conflicts that are hidden from the public eye.

All rumors disappeared when footballers simply “click” on the field. By some magic, Suarez moved to the central portion of the offensive lines and started scoring like crazy with Messi virtuously weaving a tactical foundation for steady strikes performed by Suarez. Later, it was revealed that Messi simply told Suarez to move to the central position instead of wondering on the right side of the field. Suarez has everything that a forward in his position needs – speed, technique, great awareness, and ability to shoot from various angles. Turned out, Suarez was a perfect striker that Messi himself needed in order to be even more successful than he already was.

The duo continued to be overly successful. Obviously, we can’t simply leave Neymar aside, but the key change in the performance of Barcelona was in the tactical shift between Suarez and Messi. Without a doubt, their mutually accepted decision to swap positions was a moment that made the team better in everything. With Messi occupying the right side of the field and putting the pressure of scoring on Suarez, the offensive line of Barcelona finally stopped being overly dependent on the performance of Messi.

At the same time, having capable wingers on both sides of the field is a great tactical advantage that allows any team to play wider and start attacks on both flanks. With Neymar on the left and Messi on the right, Barcelona made their midfield much stronger and sharper. The weaknesses of their offence had been completely eliminated. Simultaneously, the team could finally stabilize their defensive formations and put a greater emphasis on defending and transitioning from defense to sudden counter-attacks. The strategic arsenal of Barcelona suddenly became much more diversified. All thanks to one key shift between two players.

This is the reason why we highlight both Suarez and Messi. They not only mesh well on the field, their cooperation is the key to Barcelona’s recent success. Maybe, it is partially the reason why Messi decided to return to international play.

The Rebirth of the Legend.

Messi is very emotional player. All great competitors are emotional and it is quite understandable. One cannot reach the level of dedication without being emotionally attached to the results of his work. Messi is a perfect example of this concept. He is a man who loves to achieve great results, win titles, and be on top of the world. He was devastated by his last failure to win Copa America. It was his 4th consecutive international championship where he failed to win the title. Being so close and yet so far from the cup that he desperately wanted to lift over his head.

The legendary footballer whose legacy has already been written in the annals of professional football has yet to win something big internationally. How can one be the greatest without bringing home the World Cup? Unfortunately, it was not only Messi who thought like that. In addition to his own disappointment, Messi’s fans were merciless pouring salt into his wounds on social media. Some Argentinian fans even argued that Messi will never be even compared to Maradona, because the latter brought Argentina something that Lionel Messi has failed to bring – the World Cup.

Being depressed after his loss in the finals of Copa America, Messi announced that he wants to retire. Now, it was time for his loyal fans to pick up the slack and start reinvigorating his passion. Thousands of fans started a big campaign in order to cheer up Messi. Simultaneously, Messi felt that this year could be one of the best in his career in terms of professional play. Note that after some changes in 2015, Barcelona looked like a completely new team. In the 2015-16 season, Messi was arguably in his best form and the prospects looked fine for the Argentinian genius.

With some cheerful input from fans and support from his teammates, Messi decided to change his decision and stay with his national team for at least one more tournament. However, he kept everyone fairly agitated up until august when he finally announced that his decision to retire was premature and that he will join his national team in its quest to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia. All this was happening while he was training with Barcelona…

Suarez. With and Without Messi.

We are sure that the reinvigoration of Barcelona and the inclusion of Suarez in the lineup were the events that made Messi a much better player. In 2014, Messi expressed his disappointment with his own performance and the performance of his team. There were rumors that king of Barcelona might leave the team after the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

The appearance of Suarez changed the way Barcelona’s offence played the game. They became more robust and reliable in terms of playstyle and the versatility that was praised and hyped was finally there. Messi once again looked like a footballer who was destined to win everything. This individual transformation was impossible without Suarez. At the same time, Suarez performs weaker without Messi on the right side. Maybe due to the fact that he has to cover his right flank more often and doesn’t have an assister who would create perfect opportunities for him to strike.

Suarez simply needs Messi alongside him in order to truly shine. Yes, he is an exceptionally talented footballer and no one would say that he is a bad player, but without Messi it is just not the same. He can be better, faster, more creative, and more efficient with Messi on the right side. We realized it clearly in the 2015-16 season. However, there was one big problem.

Messi suffered two heavy injuries in 2015 and 2016. These injuries inhibited his potential and made him unable to play in some important matches. This also reduced the amount of time Suarez and Messi could have spent on building even more synergy. While Messi suffered an injury on his hamstring in the offseason, the latest groin injury happened in the beginning of the season and Suarez with Neymar were again left alone.

Messi was recovering rapidly and managed to fix some of his problems related to the injury, but his return to form will be longer than we anticipated. Messi played for Barcelona in their match against Manchester City on October 19, but he missed the World qualifier match due to his injury. Even if he looks ready, he is still not in shape to operate at his full capacity. As for now, Suarez can only hope that Messi will recover quickly and return to his shape stronger than ever. One more injury and the trio of Neymar, Suarez, and Messi will forget how to play together!

Photo source:
Photo author: Oleg Dubina