LUIS SUAREZ says he has ‘years left’ and ‘no one will get rid of me’ amid suggestions he may soon retire.
The Uruguayan, 34, has been a resounding success at Atletico Madrid since his tearful exit from Barcelona at the end of last season.
Suarez is LaLiga’s top scorer on 16 with his side sitting top and six points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid with a game in hand over Los Blancos.
Plenty questioned whether the former Liverpool ace could still cut it at the highest level in his mid-30s.
But the goal machine has no time for such sentiment and told ESPN he still feels good.
Suarez said: “I still feel like I’m enjoying this moment that I’m in today, in football’s elite.
“Being at Atletico, you’re in football’s elite. Some people didn’t believe that I could still be at this level. I’ve got the same enthusiasm.
“I hope that this year, next year and for however many years it is, I keep competing and giving my best, until you realise that you’ve gone as far as you can.
“But no one will get rid of me. I’ll decide when I go.”
Suarez has split opinion among fans for much of his career with his win at all costs mentality.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
He has also bitten a few too many players for some people’s liking but the Uruguayan confirmed what many already suspected – that he is not bothered by others’ criticism.
Suarez added: “I’m one of those players who has always characterised himself as being stubborn.
“When I try something two, three, four times and it doesn’t work out, I’m not one of those players who will let their head drop, who will disappear. I’ll keep trying, because I’ve been that way since I was a kid.
“I used to get criticised when I was 18 and the coaches I had, like Martin Lasarte [Suarez’s coach at Nacional in 2005-06], used to say: ‘Don’t look at the goals that the 18-year-old kid is missing, if he misses seven or eight.
“‘Focus on the fact that he’s still trying a third time, or a fourth time. That’s what will make him go far.’
“Those words stayed with me and I will be like that, I am like that.”
‘THEY BELIEVE IN ME’
Despite his huge levels of self belief, even Suarez admitted the season has exceeded his own expectations.
He said: “I didn’t expect to be in this moment that I’m in with Atletico today, but I’m enjoying it a lot.
“I’m grateful because the coaching staff and my team-mates believe in me, they trust me, and that is something that you try to repay with goals.”
Suarez could reportedly leave Atletico on a FREE this summer but wants to stay.
And he also collected his first goal bonus after reaching 15 for the Spanish table-toppers.
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds