Suarez is an instant hit - now Simeone and Atletico must match their star striker's ambitions

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The forward's arrival could herald a new age of attacking menace at the Wanda Metropolitano, but only if their coach loosens his tight reins

They may still be waiting to share their first minutes on the pitch together for Atletico Madrid, but all indications suggest that Diego Costa and Luis Suarez are ready to strike fear into the hearts of La Liga.

That, at least, was the impression Costa gave after coming off for the Uruguayan to make an outstanding debut against Granada on Sunday, complete with two goals and an assist.

“I don't know how a team like Barcelona let a player like Suarez go,” he explained to Movistar, while further suggesting that the pair's talents will complement each other perfectly.

“It's great, one of us kicks and the other bites.”

Both strikers' reputations for uncompromising, at times violent play precede them, to the point where they can jest about their past misdemeanours.

But, despite creeping towards the twilight of their careers, both Costa and Suarez remain deadly in front of goal; a fact that was all-too evident against Granada in Atletico's 2020-21 Liga curtain-raiser.

Former Spain international Costa needed just nine minutes to open the scoring before Joao Felix and Angel Correa added their own strikes to put Diego Simeone's men 3-0 up by the time Suarez made his bow.

Determined to make his mark on his new team, the former Liverpool star set up Marcos Llorente just seconds after climbing off the bench and soon added two goals of his own, sealing an emphatic 6-1 win that has further increased the expectations following his sensational switch across La Liga.

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But it is not all up to Suarez, or indeed Costa.

The onus, too, will be on Atletico's famously dogged coach to allow his stars the chance to show what they are made of and compete with the likes of Barca and Real Madrid on what is now almost a level playing field.

Since arriving back in the Spanish capital from Racing Club at the start of 2012, Simeone has moulded the club in his own image.

El Cholo's Atletico are a pack of Rottweilers, snarling and snapping at any intruders that dare to encroach on the Colchonero goal and happy to sacrifice attacking power if that means nullifying the opponent's own capabilities.

The Argentine is pragmatic, passionate and risk averse almost to a fault, keeping all of the sides he has coached to date under strict discipline and control.

Defence comes first, second and third in a Simeone team, a strategy that was continued at first out of necessity upon taking over a shambolic Atletico side eight years ago but which has grown to define him and the club even as they have risen to become one of Europe's most powerful sides.

Such an approach has yielded undeniable success, transforming the previously directionless club into a legitimate contender for honours both in Spain and Europe.

But it also has its limitations, which were exposed in the most painful of fashions back in August.

Facing a side like RB Leipzig - strong enough in their own efficient manner but far from the level of the continent's best, particularly in the absence of Chelsea-bound frontman Timo Werner - Atletico froze.

They lacked either the ability or the inclination to look past Simeone's safety-first playbook and impose themselves on their inferior rivals, leading to a timid, lacklustre display and elimination from the Champions League when the semi-finals loomed large on the horizon.

The signing of a striker such as Suarez, capable of 30 goals or more per season, along with the talent already present in the Atleti squad should be interpreted by both Simeone and the players themselves as a statement of intent; the dawn of a new, more cavalier era.

Suarez, after all, does not just convert goals, he creates chances by the dozen too; a fact that his new boss was keen to point out after Sunday's spectacular cameo.

"His two goals didn't stand out for me, but his assists, his runs and his movement did," Simeone said after the match. "The arrival of an important player improves the team, but the team was already working very well. Now we'll continue taking it game by game, like always.

"Suarez' arrival generates a very good internal competition and if the 23 players accept the minutes they're going to get, I'm sure we'll compete well.”

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Given Barca's continued woes off the field and Madrid's struggles to generate consistent, effective attacking football even while grinding out result after result, 2020-21 looks to be Atletico's best chance since 2014 to topple the giants and take back the Spanish crown for themselves.

Both Suarez and Simeone, though, know that titles are not won by rolling over the likes of Granada or newly-promoted Huesca, Atletico's next opponents on Wednesday.

They will have to produce throughout the campaign and against their fellow heavyweights, showing the mentality as well as the talent to take them on at their own game and win rather than retreating into their shell.

Suarez' arrival has the potential to add real bite to the club's already formidable snarl and bark.

It is now up to Simeone to use that extra firepower and turn his charges into a truly fearsome unit up front as well as at the back, even if it means occasionally taking the sort of risks that he has avoided throughout his career on the bench.

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