Luis Suarez is 34 and not quite the player he once was – but Chelsea have been warned that they are still facing one of the deadliest goalscorers in world football.
Suarez was made surplus to needs by Barca boss Ronald Koeman this summer and was allowed to join Atletico Madrid for a nominal fee.
In La Liga this season, the Uruguayan international is the co-top scorer with 16 goals alongside his former teammate Lionel Messi.
Suarez terrorized Premier League defenses at Liverpool before joining Barcelona and became his third all-time top scorer with 198 goals.
He faces Chelsea tonight in the Champions League – with commentary of the game live on talkSPORT.
Spain football expert Alex Kirkland told talkSPORT that Suarez has started showing his age, but there are still times he comes to life in the box.
“It has been an incredible season for Luis Suarez,” Kirkland said. “Pretty much given by Barcelona as having passed and now he’s La Liga’s top scorer.
“It’s true to say that these goals have dried up a bit, he hasn’t scored in the last few games.
“When you watch Luis Suarez these days it’s interesting. You watch him for much of the game and he really shows his age.
“The movement is not what it used to be, sometimes it seems like it’s really struggling. We know he has had knee injuries over the years and they have taken their toll.
“You look at him sometimes and you understand why some people might say ‘he’s not the player he was.’
“Then, all of a sudden, he bursts into life. When the ball is in the box, it’s there in the right place at the right time, as it always has been throughout his career and he is still one of the top scorers in the business.
“It has dried up for him over the past two weeks, but nonetheless if there is a chance in Chelsea’s box there are still very few players you would want that ball to fall past Luis Suarez. “
The Champions League clash between Atletico and Chelsea will be played in Bucharest due to travel restrictions on those entering Spain from Britain.
The Spanish giants lead La Liga but in poor form as Chelsea are undefeated in Thomas Tuchel’s regime’s first six games.
“It’s hard to predict,” Kirkland added. “In all the circumstances it’s unprecedented and to some extent the European form and pedigree is going a bit out of the window.
“I think they will know that Atletico have been the best team in Spain this season and that they will know how dangerous Atletico Madrid is in the Champions League when you get to the round of 16, think back to that which happened at Anfield a little over a year ago. .
“Atletico are very experienced in this competition, Diego Simeone is very experienced in this competition.
“In knockout games, in tight games with little odds, you always give Atletico Madrid a good chance and I think Chelsea will be aware of that.”