Luis Suarez has lamented the way in which his time at Barcelona came to a close last summer, making clear that some people at the club were clearly trying to push him out.
The 34-year-old spent six years with the Catalan club and became the second-highest goalscorer in their history with 195 goals in 283 appearances, yet he was told that he was no longer capable of playing for a team like Barcelona.
“What really annoyed me was being told that I was old and that I couldn’t play at the top level anymore, that I couldn’t play at the level of a big team. That’s what upset me,” Suarez explained in an interview with the popular magazine France Football.
“Barcelona kicked me out, they told me they didn’t have me in their plans anymore. Another question is if you still have a multi-year contract and the club wants to sell you. “But the club indicated that they didn’t want me anyway. They just didn’t want me anymore. I deserved a certain amount of respect.”
Despite Barcelona’s claims, Suarez pointed to his goalscoring returns in his final years in Catalonia as proof that he was still making an impact, having scored 23 goals and provided 15 assists in the 2018/19 campaign and then 21 goals and 12 assists in his final season at the Camp Nou.
“If I hadn’t shown anything at Barcelona for three or four seasons I would have understood. But I have scored more than 20 goals every season,” the Uruguayan argued.
“I’ve always had good statistics, only behind [Lionel] Messi. I reached a certain level at Barcelona for six years and did what was expected of me.”
The final nail in the coffin for Suarez’s Barcelona career seemed to come when Ronald Koeman told him over the phone that he didn’t have him in his plans. Shortly after, the Uruguayan made the switch to Atletico Madrid for a fee that could rise to five million euros.
“I wasn’t going to be happy where people no longer wanted me, but this change [signing for Atletico] was welcome after everything I had experienced at Barcelona and because of the way I left [the phone call from Koeman to tell him that he was not in his plans],” Suarez said of his departure.
“I wanted to change. The hardest thing is when you have a family that has been used to living in the same place for six years. Having to explain to my children that we are going to change when they have their friends and their habits in Barcelona, that was the hardest thing.”But you also have to look on the bright side: I wasn’t going to be happy where people didn’t like me anymore. Now my family feels that I’m happy and that’s the main thing.”
Suarez is the current Pichichi in LaLiga Santander with 16 goals, although he is level with his former Barcelona teammate and best friend Lionel Messi. It is clear that the striker wanted to show Barcelona that he can still perform.
“The essential thing is the mind. It is very important to be strong in your head and to feel that you have the means to reverse difficult situations,” Suarez explained.”It has always been one of my characteristics: I never gave up, not even in difficult moments. It’s a question of self-esteem.”After all these years at Barcelona, I wanted to show that I can still be useful at the highest level, within the Spanish elite.”