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Thursday 8 December 2016

suarez joy at treble in goal-fest

Barca striker 'very happy' after 8-0 rout

After a slow start at Barcelona, Luis Suarez now has a strike rate comparable to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, while his selfless style has also helped instill a spirit of camaraderie within their deadly attack.

In recent seasons, Barca's play was emphasised by their short-passing football but now it is the ruthlessness of their forward trio that is propelling the club towards a second treble in six years.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar have amassed 108 goals between them and have the Spanish record of 118 goals scored by Real Madrid trio Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain in the 2011-12 season well and truly in their sights.

Suarez arrived from Liverpool under a cloud following his four-month biting ban but now settled in, he has 17 goals from his last 16 games in all competitions following Barca's 8-0 demolition of Cordoba on Saturday.

During his first few months in the side after his comeback in October, he was praised for his team ethic and providing assists. It is only now that the goals have started to come freely while his unselfish attitude has proved contagious.

Against Cordoba, Messi also hit a double but despite his competition with Ronaldo to be the league's top scorer, he turned down the opportunity for a hat-trick by allowing Neymar to take a penalty.

The Argentine's action comes in stark contrast to a week ago, when Ronaldo was angry that Alvaro Arbeloa nipped in ahead of him to score against Almeria, leading to some whistles from the Bernabeu crowd.

"I am very happy at the moment and this is all down to the support and confidence that my team mates have given me," Suarez told reporters.

"Without them and my family I would not be scoring these goals."

Suarez immediately struck up a close friendship with Messi and this, along with their effective link-up play, is a reason why the Argentine is enjoying his football again.

After a lean 2014, he now has 40 La Liga goals, two behind Ronaldo, and the impact of Suarez has certainly taken some of the pressure off him.

Barca remain on course to repeat the 2009 side's treble, sitting at the top of the La Liga standings with a two-point advantage over Real Madrid with three games to go.

They also face Athletic Bilbao in the King's Cup final but before that comes a Champions League semi-final first leg with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, kept up the pressure on Barcelona as Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Sevilla.

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