‘I think they wanted to remove me from his side’: Luis Suarez claims his close friendship with Lionel Messi was behind Barcelona’s decision to force him out as he takes another swipe at his former club
- Luis Suarez left Barcelona to join Atletico Madrid in a £5.5million deal last month
- Barcelona justified the move as a means of reducing their inflated wage bill
- But Suarez believes his friendship with Messi was the real reason behind it
- Messi was outspoken in his criticism of the club, saying Suarez was ‘thrown out’
Luis Suarez has claimed Barcelona forced him out of the club because of his close relationship with Lionel Messi.
The Uruguayan striker, 33, joined Atletico Madrid last month in a deal worth £5.5million after six successful years at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona justified his departure as something of a cost-cutting measure to reduce their wage bill having taken a large financial hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Luis Suarez (right) believes his close friendship with Lionel Messi (left) was the real reason Barcelona sold him to Atletico Madrid last month
The Uruguayan was close to tears as he said farewell to Barcelona ahead of his transfer
Messi was outspoken about the nature of Suarez’s departure, saying the striker was ‘thrown out’ by the club.
And now Suarez has now suggested the real reason Barcelona got rid of him was because he was too close to Messi, who had tried to leave earlier in the summer.
Suarez told ESPN: ‘There are a lot of contradictions [in Barcelona’s version of events].
‘I would have looked for a solution if it was a financial problem and if it was a sporting issue I could have understood. It is not clear to me why they took the decision they took.
Messi was outspoken in his criticism of the club’s handling of Suarez’s departure to Atletico
Suarez joined Atletico Madrid from Barcelona, leading Messi to criticise the decision online
‘I think they wanted to remove me from Messi’s side. Maybe it annoyed them that I had a good relationship with Leo.
‘Perhaps they didn’t want him to be with me so much. I can’t find any reason to think that would damage the team, though.
‘We looked for each other constantly on the pitch, but for the good of the team. Maybe they wanted him to play with more team-mates.
‘That could have something to do with it. I can’t find any other reason to want to separate us because we got on well on the pitch.’
Suarez was told in no uncertain terms by Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman he was not needed
Messi tried to force his way out of Barcelona during a turbulent summer but eventually gave in to avoid a huge legal battle with the club, which disputed the eligibility of his release clause.
Suarez, however, believes ‘they should have respected his decision to leave.’
It came as the Uruguayan revealed players – including himself – were made to train alone by coach Ronald Koeman if they were not considered for a game.
Suarez also revealed he ‘spent days crying’ after being forced out of the club.
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