Luis Suarez: Atletico Madrid's iconic strikers since 2000 ranked, featuring Torres and Aguero


Atletico Madrid have pulled off a shock signing in the form of Luis Suarez this summer.

The writing had been on the wall for some time that Suarez would be leaving Barcelona, but nobody expected him to leave for one of their biggest La Liga rivals until the last minute.

Suarez, who was also linked with Juventus and Ajax, even revealed at a teary farewell press conference that his close friend Lionel Messi was surprised by the move.

Suarez leaves Barcelona

Per the Metro, the former Liverpool man remarked: "Leo felt strange because I’m going to a direct rival, but nothing will change our relationship.

"I have already faced Leo with the national team so this will not change our relationship. Everyone knows about the relationship we have."

It will certainly be interesting to see how Suarez fares in the red and white stripes of Atletico and improving upon the departing Morata, who was loaned out to Juventus, will be the bare minimum.


New start at Atletico Madrid

But regardless of how Suarez goes on to perform, the Barcelona legend has joined a long and prestigious line of iconic strikers to have played for Atletico in the modern era.

No doubt some massive names are already coming to mind and with Suarez's debut potentially being just a few moments away, we couldn't resist admiring his world-class forbearers.

With that in mind, we've decided to rank Atletico's iconic strikers since the turn of the century by their goal-per-game ratio to imagine where Suarez could match up to his predecessors.


Atletico Madrid's iconic strikers

We're defining iconic as them either having produced exceptional numbers for Los Rojiblancos or by way of them being one of the biggest names in football at the time.

So, sorry footballing hipsters, but there will be no place for the likes of Jackson Martinez or Yannick Carrasco, while Jose Antonio Reyes and Kevin Gameiro miss out by a nose-hair.

Anyhow, disclaimers aside, check out how the 11 strikers match up ahead of Suarez's debut:


11. Joao Felix - 0.25

Goals: 9

Games: 36

It's still early days for Felix at only 20 years old and the pressure of being Atletico's record signing must be weighing heavy on his shoulders, so finishing in 11th place should come as no surprise.

Then again, Diego Simeone will be expecting improvements from his second season and he'll at least have to hit double figures to justify his status as one of the world's most exciting young stars.


10. David Villa - 0.32

Goals: 15

Games: 47

We're not afraid to say that Villa was on the slide by the time he swapped Barcelona for Atletico in 2013, but Suarez could do a lot worse than following the road-map set by his predecessor.

Although 15 goals in almost a half-century of games might not sound dramatic, Villa played a crucial role in Simeone's men reaching the Champions League final and topping La Liga.


9. Fernando Torres - 0.32

Goals: 129

Games: 404

To be fair, this metric is pretty harsh on Torres when you consider this includes his time rising up the ranks as a youngster and also his latter-day return to the club that, well, was pretty meh.

But let's remember for one moment the mercurial Torres that routinely caused havoc in La Liga, eventually attracting Liverpool's gaze and becoming the world's finest number nine.


8. Alvaro Morata - 0.36

Goals: 22

Games: 61

Ok, ok, Morata is our biggest reach in terms of being 'iconic', but regardless of what you think of him as a goalscorer, playing for Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea certainly makes you a big name.

And although Morata was by no means poor in an Atletico jersey, he didn't really set the world alight either and a pretty run-of-the-mill 16 goals last season means he won't really be missed.


7. Diego Costa - 0.39

Goals: 81

Games: 209

Father time seems to be catching up with Costa pretty early and his underwhelming record of 17 goals in 74 appearances since returning from Chelsea is certainly tanking his statistics here.

However, no one can deny Costa's omnipotence during the 2013/14 campaign in particular, scoring a blockbuster 36 goals in 52 outings as Atletico almost became European champions.


6. Sergio Aguero - 0.43

Goals: 101

Games: 234

Considering Aguero is one of the most lethal strikers of the modern era, it's perhaps surprising to see him 'only' finish sixth, though it's important to remember that he signed as a teenager.

By the time Aguero had Manchester City cranking open their cheque book, there was no stopping him in front of goal and that form in isolation would have lifted him much higher up the list.


5. Mario Mandzukic - 0.47

Goals: 20

Games: 43

We'd be lying if we said Mandzukic has ever looked like the best number nine in the world, but the guy scores goals wherever he plays and his often-forgotten season in Spain was no different.

It's a shame that a personal rift with Simeone meant he didn't last longer than a year because, although only 12 of his goals came in the league, his fifth-place finish speaks volumes.


4. Diego Forlan - 0.49

Goals: 96

Games: 196

Aside from a bang average final season - no offence, Diego - it says everything about Forlan's incredible form at Atletico that his worst goal-scoring campaign still clocked in at 23 strikes.

The Uruguayan won the Pichichi Trophy and European Golden Shoe for his 32 league goals in 2008/09 and also bagged the World Cup Golden Ball during his time as an Atleti favourite.


3. Antoine Griezmann - 0.52

Goals: 133

Games: 257

In terms of all-round ability and individual impact on the team, you have to say that Griezmann is the unofficial number one and almost delivered Champions League glory in his second year.

Regardless of that missed penalty, however, Griezmann finished third in the Ballon d'Or rankings twice during his Atletico career and never failed to score 20 goals in each of his five campaigns.


2. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - 0.77

Goals: 33

Games: 43

We couldn't help calling a member of the Premier League 100-club anything less than iconic and the Dutchman sneaks into contention by way of starring for Atletico in the 1999/00 season.

And although it was his only campaign in the red and white of Atletico, it proved to be a lucrative one with 24 strikes in La Liga and seven goals in Europe attracting Chelsea's attention.


1. Radamel Falcao - 0.77

Goals: 70

Games: 91

The streets will never forget 'El Tigre' absolutely lighting up La Liga and there was a very real conversation about the Atletico star rising to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's level.

As Manchester United and Chelsea fans know all too well, that never happened, but his astonishing two seasons at the Vicente Calderón Stadium makes him Atletico's top dog.


Where will Suarez rank?

Suarez certainly has some competition on his his hands, that's for sure.

Only time will tell whether Suarez will fail to live up to expectations like the man he's replacing or will bring goals to the Spanish capital in bucketloads just like Griezmann and Falcao.

We can probably all agree that Suarez has been on the slide over the last few years, but nobody can deny his talents and the man seems incapable of scoring less than 20 goals a season.


That won't be enough to challenge the once Ballon d'Or-contending Falcao on his throne, but make no mistake: Suarez deserves his place amongst Atletico's goal-scoring greats.

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