KEY POINTS

  • Atletico Madrid star Luis Suarez believes Barcelona wanted to remove him from Lionel Messi's
  • Suarez said he was aware Barcelona wanted him out of the club before Ronald Koeman informed him of the news
  • The striker assured that his friendship with Messi will remain the same

Former Barcelona star Luis Suarez recently opened up about his untimely departure from the club and his thoughts about Lionel Messi's current situation.

Heading into the 2020-21 La Liga Season, Barcelona had a tumultuous few weeks, primarily due to Messi’s exit saga and Suarez’s move to Atletico Madrid. Reports said newly appointed Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman had forced Suarez out, saying the Uruguayan striker was not part of his project.

But according to Suarez, it went beyond Koeman’s plan and had something to do with his close relationship with Messi.

"There are a lot of contradictions [in Barcelona's version of events]," Suarez told ESPN's "90 Minutos" on Friday. "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."

"I think they wanted to remove me from Messi’s side," he continued. "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."

Suarez earlier admitted that he had been reduced to tears after finding out that he was being kicked out of Barcelona. The fact that he was already parting ways with the club he loves was already heartbreaking, but Suarez was even more devastated over how things went down in the days leading up to his exit.

According to the Atletico star, he had known prior to getting the news from Koeman that Barca wanted him out of the picture, but he felt that the way the club executed his exit wasn’t right.

"It really hurt me and my family the way they did it," he explained. "It wasn't right. That a coach [Koeman] comes in and says he doesn't count on me when the board had already said there were going to be big changes generates doubts. Koeman called me to tell me that I wasn't in his plans, but I'd known what was coming for 10 days. He just confirmed what I'd seen in the media."

"I always said the club needed a young striker, but they never brought anyone in to compete with me even," he added. "For years, they've wanted to bring more forwards because they wanted to kick me out.  It had been coming but I at least deserved for them to phone me and explain [why they wanted me gone] before learning of it through the media."

Suarez went on to reveal that he and Messi were used to playing with each other inside the pitch and speculated that management may have decided that the Barcelona captain needed to be productive with other teammates as well.

The 2016 Pichichi Trophy winner also thinks the board should have respected Messi’s choice to join another club.

"They should have respected his [Messi’s] decision to leave," the 33-year-old said. "Leo's aware of what he means to Barcelona. He's given things to the club you could never imagine. He must carry on being the No.1, being the best and [being] happy."

As for their friendship, Suarez assured that everything will remain the same between them whether or not Messi stays at Barca or joins another team.

"Maybe there's the possibility that he plays for another club, but if he feels comfortable and happy and a new board come in, he will want to stay at the club," he explained. "As a friend, I will be happy if things go well for him there, but also if he has to go to another club."