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Luis Suarez broke down in tears as he paid an emotional farewell to Barcelona

Luis Suarez broke down in tears at his Barcelona goodbye press conference and nodded in the direction of president Josep Bartomeu when asked if he had any reproaches over his forced departure.

He kept his counsel for the most part with the president alongside him and a favourable deal to join Barcelona’s rivals Atletico Madrid already sealed, but he did condemn lies and leaks that he said had marked his final weeks at the club.

With team-mates Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Sergio Roberto and Sergi Busquets looking on at the Camp Nou, Suarez could barely get the words out as he tried to make his last speech as a Barca player.

Suarez joined Barca in 2014 and helped the club win four LaLiga titles, four Copa del Rey crowns and the Champions League in 2015. 

He referenced the club’s faith in still signing him from Liverpool in the summer of 2014 despite his bite of Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, which led to a four-month ban from all football activities.  

He only got as far as ‘I want to thank,’ before he had to stop to compose himself. 

He then thanked the club saying: ‘They knew I had come from making that mistake (the World Cup bite) and they still wanted to support me and bring me in. 

‘It was a dream for me to play at the best club in the world. I have made many friends too so that also makes me very happy.

‘It’s a player leaving but it is also a human being with feelings who goes. I want to remember all the nice moments, the titles, the goals and the chance to play with the best player in history.’

But asked if there were any reproaches he nodded Bartomeu’s way and said: ‘For me or for …’ 

He had a smile on his face but the message was clear.

Suarez also grinned and nodded when one reporter asked him if he felt the decision to get rid of him had been Koeman’s or someone else’s. 

But Suarez admitted it was quickly clear new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman didn’t want him as part of his revamped team. 

He said: ‘The club needed changes and the coach didn’t count on me. I want to show that I can still perform at a high level. 

‘When the coach told me I knew because it was already done.

‘It was a crazy month. Things have been invented and leaked, there are things that leave you feeling indignant. 

‘I’m joining Atletico Madrid with a lot of excitement, but I still haven’t thought about what it will be like to play against Barcelona. I haven’t fully digested it yet.’ 

There was a little suggestion that Messi, who agitated for a move away from Barcelona this summer, wasn’t too happy about the departure of his partner in the front line.

Suarez said: ‘Leo knows what I think and I know what he thinks. We are old enough to give each other advice. Leo felt strange because I’m going to a direct rival, but nothing will change our relationship.

‘It starts to feel a bit strange because I’m going and I’m going to a rival but we have faced each other in Argentina v Uruguay games.’ 

Suarez is confident that Atletico can compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid in domestic competitions and their ambition was a key factor in his move.

He added: ‘It sounds ironic … but when Barca put me on the market there were many calls, many offers. I wanted a team where I could compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid.’

For the most part though Suarez was in the mood to look forward without rancour instead of back in anger.

He said: ‘I am very proud of six spectacular years. I have lived so many special memories. Winning the first league was incredible. I became team-mates with players I had previously played on the playstation.

‘I still feel like I can compete. I am going the way I’m going. I will have new targets.’

Asked about joining Atletico and becoming a rival for Barcelona he added: ‘When you are a player you have to accept it when the club says that they do not want you anymore. It is not easy but you accept it.

‘When Barça put me in the market there were a lot of calls but I wanted to go to a team that can compete with Barca and Madrid.

‘I still can’t imagine playing against them but it will be special to take on friends; it will be nice.’ 

During his time at Barcelona Suarez scored 198 goals in 283 appearances. 

Suarez has scored eight goals in 18 appearances against Atletico during his career, so Diego Simeone’s side will certainly be pleased that he is now playing for them.

The Uruguayan will be determined to prove to Koeman that he made a mistake in letting him leave.

The two sides will meet in LaLiga at the Wanda Metropolitano on November 22 with the return at the Nou Camp on May 9 next year. 

ajay
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