Lionel Messi says Luis Suarez deserved a better send-off from Barcelona but that he is “no longer surprised” by the club’s behaviour. Suarez has joined Atletico Madrid after being told he was not in new Barca boss Ronald Koeman’s plans.
Earlier this month, Messi said he would stay at Barca despite wanting to leave because he felt he had no option. He added that he felt he had been deceived by the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu. In a post on Instagram, Messi paid tribute to Suarez, saying it will be “strange” to see him “with another shirt and much more to face you”.
“You deserved a send-off matching who you are – one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually. “Not to get thrown out like you have been. But the truth is at this point nothing surprises me.” Uruguayan Suarez scored 198 goals in 283 games to become the third highest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history.
The 33-year-old won four La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys, the Champions League and Club World Cup after joining the Catalan giants for £74m from Liverpool in 2014. He has agreed terms on a two-year deal at Atletico with a reduced salary. Atletico will pay a nominal fee of no more than 6m euros for Suarez, which will be based on variables such as Champions League qualification.