Barcelona coach, Ronald Koeman has reacted to the recent revelations made by Luis Suarez over his treatment at the club before joining Athletico Madrid.
The Uruguayan claimed the Catalan giant instructed him to go and be training away from the first team after telling him he was not part of their plan anymore.
The Dutch tactician, who took over from Quique Setien during the summer said the Athletico Madrid new signing could have stayed at Barcelona to prove him wrong. but training separately from the test of the lands may not give the coach the chance to see the Uruguayan.
Suarez further claimed that the intention was to separate him from Lionel Messi. The six-times world footballer of the year also rose in his defence, criticizing the club openly on how he was ‘kicked out’ of the club.
The Uruguayan attacker was declared surplus to requirements after the Catalan side’s disappointing 2019-20 campaign. Suarez said it was a bad treatment on the part of the club he loves. He subsequently joined Diego Simeone’s team after seeing a move to Juventus fall through.
During his six years stint at the club, Suarez won the Champions League along with four La Liga titles among other trophies. His goal ratio dropped last season, scoring just 21 in 36 appearances in all competitions in his final season at the club.
Luis Saurez opens Athletico career with goals
It took the 33-year-old a few minutes to make a bright start to his Atleti career. He scored a brace and set up another in his debut appearance against Granada at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Koeman says he was happy with the former Ajax and Liverpool star and maintains he did not have to leave if he did not want to.
“In the case of Suarez, it had become very difficult for him to start playing and I made that known to him. He found it difficult, but I never had any trouble with him at all.
“He trained normally, trained well. He finally made the choice to leave and I said: ‘If you don’t leave, for whatever reason, then you are just one of the group, then you can prove that I was wrong’. He could have stayed, yes.
“I’m good with Luis, but the club felt that we had to rejuvenate. You can see that now in the team. Ansu Fati plays, he is 17 years old. We have Pedri, 17 years old, who gets his chances. Ronald Araujo is there at the age of 21. Trincao falls in a lot and is 20 years old, and we have taken Sergino Dest, who is 19. Those are all players for the future,” Koeman told NOS.
Responding to Messi’s criticism of the club over the development, Koeman says he understood the Argentina star’s frustration. He has also discussed the situation with him.
“If you have someone in the locker room with whom you and your wife and children also hang out outside football, then such a reaction makes sense.
“I also said that to Messi: ‘I understand that you are disappointed and think it is a terrible shame that he is leaving, but these are choices of the club’.”
Messi had tendered his transfer request during the summer window. But the club insisted that he must complete the remaining ten months on his current deal or buy out his release clause which is €700 million.
He however rescinded his decision because he did not want to take the club to court over the issue.
“After signing here, I immediately contacted Leo. I went to his house and talked to him about his future,” he added.
“He was clear about his dissatisfaction. In the end it worked out well and from the moment he indicated: ‘I’m going for it’, he has done everything I expect of him.”