Luis Suarez said goodbye to Barcelona in an emotional press conference ahead of his move to Atletico Madrid back in September 2020. He left the Nou Camp a legend having scored an incredible 198 goals in just 283 games to rank third on Barca’s all-time leading goal scorer list.
Suarez helped the Catalans win the treble in his first season, and was one-third of Barcelona’s deadly MSN partnership alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The trio scored 364 goals in just three seasons but now Messi is the last man standing.
The Uruguayan superstar went on to win three more La Liga titles and three more Copa del Rey.
Suarez was forced to leave Barca despite the demand from the fans.
“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 and the excerpts published in MARCA.
“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 goal-scoring 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 La Liga Santander with 16 goals and is showing Barcelona that he still can 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.”