Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has insisted that Luis Suarez’s departure from the club ‘wasn’t up to him’ after the striker left for Atletico Madrid.
Suarez spent six seasons at Barcelona scoring 198 in 283 games for the Catalan giants, however he was deemed surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp.
According to reports, Ronald Koeman made it clear via a brutal 60-second phone call that the Uruguayan forward wasn’t in his plans for the season ahead.
Lionel Messi also hit out at the way in which the club handled Suarez’s exit in an emotional farewell to his former teammate on Instagram.
Koeman however has defended himself against Suarez’s exit, outlining that some decisions were made before he arrived and that he showed the striker respect ‘as a person and as a player’
“It seems that I have been the villain of this film,” the Dutchman told a press conference on Saturday, in quotes reported by Goal. “But before I arrived here, some decisions had already been made and I supported those decisions – it wasn’t up to me.
“I only showed respect to Luis Suarez as a person and a player. I told him that if he stayed it would be difficult for him to play but that he would be part of the squad.”
Messi’s reaction to Suarez’s exit could spell trouble for Koeman in what could be a tumultuous season for Barcelona. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had been set to leave the club but agreed to stay on for another campaign.
Koeman outlined however that he has ‘no doubts’ about him.
“It’s normal that Messi is sad when a friend of his leaves the club. But Leo has been an example for everyone in training and in games. Not a training session goes by in which he has not shown great commitment. I have no doubts about him.”