Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has claimed striker Luis Suarez was not forced out of the Camp Nou and was given the chance to stay.
Shortly after Koeman’s arrival came the news that Suarez was no longer a guaranteed starter at the club, Barca instead took Inter’s Lautaro Martinez and Lyon’s Memphis Depay as replacements. Although he did not sign, Suarez was still offloaded to Atlético Madrid.
Suarez joins Atletico in cut-price deal / Soccer Images / Getty Images
Suarez recently revealed that he cried throughout the whole thing because he felt he was being forced out of the club, but speaking to NOS, Koeman insisted he simply threw down the gauntlet to Suarez, who chose to leave instead of fighting.
“In the case of Suarez, it became very difficult for him to start playing and I made him aware of that,” Koeman explained. “He found it difficult, but I never had a problem with him.
“He trained normally, trained well. Finally he decided to go and I said: ‘If you don’t leave for whatever reason, you’re one of the group, then you can prove it. That I was wrong.’ He could have stayed, yes.
“I’m good with Luis, but the club felt we had to get young again. You can see that in the team now. Ansu Fati plays, he’s 17. We have Padre, 17, who He gets opportunities. Ronald Araújo is there at 21. Trincão plays a lot and he’s 20, and we’ve got Sergiño Dest, who’s 19. They’re all players of the future. “
Another player who was disappointed by Suarez’s departure was Lionel Messi, who was also looking to leave after becoming unsatisfied with life at the Camp Nou.
Suarez and Messi are incredibly close friends / Socrates Images / Getty Images
“After signing here as a trainer, I immediately got in touch with Leo,” Koeman added. “I went to his house and talked to him about his future. He was clear about his dissatisfaction. It worked out well in the end and from the moment he indicated that he should go for it. Has been, he has done everything I expect him to do.
“If you have someone in the locker room who you and your wife and kids hang out with outside of football, that kind of reaction is understandable. I said the same to Messi: ‘I understand. “That you’re disappointed and think it’s terrible. It’s a shame he’s going, but it’s the club’s choices.”
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