Wed | Oct 21, 2020

Messi angry at Barcelona for Suárez sale

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 12:07 AM

BARCELONA, Spain (AP):

Lionel Messi criticised the exit of teammate and good friend Luis Suárez yesterday, dealing another blow to the damaged relationship between the Argentine and Barcelona’s leadership.

Messi posted a photo of himself with Suárez on Instagram with a message expressing his sadness for his friend’s departure and his anger at how the club transferred him to Atlético Madrid.

“It is going to be so strange seeing you in another shirt, and even stranger to have to play against you,” Messi wrote. “You deserved a sending-off fit for what you are: one of the most important players in club history, both for what you did for the group and individually, not the one they gave you. But it is true that at this point nothing surprises me.”

Squad Overhaul

Barcelona decided to overhaul its squad after the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League last month. Suárez, 33 years old, was told by incoming coach Ronald Koeman that he was no longer wanted. The club, hard hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic, also needed to reduce its expenditures on salaries for its players.

Suárez bid farewell to Barcelona’s fans in an emotional news conference on Thursday. He leaves Camp Nou as the club’s third-leading scorer with 198 goals. The Uruguayan helped Barcelona win 13 titles since arriving in 2014 from Liverpool, including four Spanish league trophies and the Champions League in 2015.

Suárez forged a dynamic scoring duo with Messi over the years, and the two South Americans became neighbours and fast friends, along with their families.

“I was accepting the idea (of your departure), but not until I entered the changing room did I realise what it means,” Messi wrote. “How difficult it is going to be not sharing each day with you, both on and off the field. We will miss you very much. These have been many years of many mates, lunches, dinners ... many things I won’t forget from all those days together.”

Barcelona transferred Suárez to Spanish league rival Atlético for €6 million. He signed a two-year deal with the club after passing a medical exam yesterday.