The Uruguayan scored a stunning goal from 40 yards out at the weekend but time appears to be catching up with the 35-year-old this season

Luis Suarez has particularly sensitive ears. The Uruguayan is one of those players who is attuned to the criticism he receives and is thus always determined to bite back.

Those bites are becoming fewer and further between, but are still deadly when they arrive. Just ask Osasuna.

Going into Saturdays match in Pamplona, Suarez had scored just twice in his previous 16 games in all competitions – and one of those goals came in the Copa del Rey against third-tier opposition.

Many pundits and supporters, therefore, questioning whether he should start this weeks Champions League last-16 first leg against Manchester United.

Atletico, after all, have numerous attacking options, from top scorer Angel Correa to the fit-again Antoine Griezmann and record signing Joao Felix.

So, from nearly 40 yards out, Suarez decided it was time to state his case.

Charging onto a long ball from Felix, Suarez saw Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera out of goal and, likely incapable of holding off the chasing defender if he ran towards the box, he speared home a spectacular effort with his weaker left foot.

Over the last two years of his Barcelona career, Suarez proved that no matter how bleak or disconnected his performance, he still has the ability to pull a goal out of nothing and change a game, making it hard to leave him out.

His strike against Osasuna was a timely reminder of his quality for Simeone, who reports suggest is considering dropping the forward.

HIGHLIGHTS | @joaofelix70, @LuisSuarez9 and @AngelCorrea32 lead @atletienglish to victory! ???????? #OsasunaAtleti

Suarez is at his best when fired up, with something to prove.

Last season, Barcelona’s stinging rejection brought him a new lease of life at Atletico, netting 21 goals and driving the team towards their first league title in seven years.

This season, when he scored against the Catalans at the Wanda Metropolitano, he celebrated with a phone gesture to make a point to then-Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, who infamously told him he had to leave in a call which lasted less than a minute.

Then, he broke a three-month league drought with a goal against Barcelona at Camp Nou in February, the first time he was back there playing in front of fans.

The visit of Manchester United on Wednesday is a similar occasion where Suarez will be highly motivated, something Simeone might look to harness, even though they have had their ups and downs of late.

Simeone was not spared Suarez’s wrath in December, with the striker raging after being substituted during a 2-1 defeat by Sevilla.

“F***ing idiot,” grumbled Suarez. “It’s always the same change.”

The forward was on his most barren spell since playing for Ajax in 2007 but was seething at being hooked.

Suarez’s contract expires in the summer and it’s unclear if Atletico want to retain him beyond that.

“It’s a trick question,” said Simeone, when asked in a press conference. “I’m not getting into it.”

Nobody in Manchester has forgotten his run-in with Patrice Evra in 2011 when then-Liverpool hitman Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing the French defender.

The incident is long in the past, but the bitterness remains.

Whether to start with Suarez or not is a tough decision for Simeone, as the forward has physically declined, as is normal for a player who turned 35 in January, meaning the coach has to make other selection decisions based on supporting him with able runners.

Manchester United coach Ralf Rangnick, whose side is spearheaded by veteran Cristiano Ronaldo, might exchange some words of sympathy with Simeone on the issue before the game.

It seems at times Simeone has been reluctant to start with Suarez on the bench because of his status, with Rangnick facing a similar dilemma with Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

Yet as problematic as Suarez has been, it would be unfair to dump all Atletico’s woes at his feet. The Spanish champions have defended woefully this season, worse than in any other campaign under Simeone.

The clean sheet they kept at Osasuna on Saturday in their 3-0 win was their first for eight games, and also the first they have managed on the road all season in La Liga or the Champions League.

Suarez is not Atletico’s only problem but still a significant one.

But then, this is precisely the kind of talk which is fuel for his fire and something for Manchester United to be wary of in the Spanish capital.

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