Luis Suarez says Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman “lacked the personality” to tell him “clearly” he was leaving the club, adding that their final exchange took place over a 40-second phone call.
Suarez, 34, joined Atletico Madrid last summer after he was deemed surplus to requirements by Koeman, ending six trophy-laden years at the Camp Nou. However, the move has since backfired, with the seasoned Uruguayan bagging 21 goals in La Liga last season as Atleti lifted the title.
Barca meanwhile have been forced to draft in 31-year-old Luuk de Jong as a stop gap up front after Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann both departed in the summer, with Sergio Aguero and Martin Braithwaite both continuing to nurse injuries as well.
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With Barca now struggling for goals in the final third this season, Suarez has continued his fine form at the Metropolitano, notching four already in La Liga and a further finish in the Champions League, a 97th-minute penalty against Milan, which proved to be the winner in a 2-1 victory at the San Siro.
A little over a year after his Barca exit, Suarez has now given his version of events as to how his departure transpired in Catalonia, and he has not held back in his assessment of Koeman, saying the under-fire Dutch coach “lacked the personality” to be up front with him.
Speaking to Gerard Romero on Twitch, Suarez said: “The call from Koeman to tell me that [I wasn’t in his plans] lasted 40 seconds, it’s not the way to say goodbye to a legend.
“First he told me that I wasn’t in his plans, and then he told me that if I didn’t get my contract sorted out I was going to play against Villarreal.
“He lacked the personality to tell me clearly if he didn’t want me or if it was really the club that didn’t want me.
“They were very difficult days because of everything I gave to the club.
“I spoke to Sofia [Suarez’s wife] and Leo after the phone call. It was a complicated year due to everything.
“Messi asked to leave and I was being sent away. Both of our families had a very bad time.”