Despite Messi’s ire over Suarez exit, no doubts about Argentine star: Koeman - GulfToday

Despite Messi’s ire over Suarez exit, no doubts about Argentine star: Koeman


Barca’s Lionel Messi criticised how Luis Suarez was pushed out, saying ‘you deserved a goodbye for what you are’. Courtesy: Twitter

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said he has no concerns about Lionel Messi ahead of their first La Liga game of the season on Sunday, after the Argentinian took another swipe at the club over the departure of Luis Suarez.

Koeman was also keen to point out it was not solely his decision to let Suarez join Atletico Madrid, with the Dutchman insisting he is not the “bad guy in the movie”.

Messi criticised how Suarez was pushed out as Barca try to reduce their wage bill, saying “you deserved a goodbye for what you are” before adding: “But at this point nothing surprises me anymore”.

Barcelona play Villarreal on Sunday at Camp Nou and Messi is expected to start, having reintegrated with the squad since claiming he was denied a transfer this summer.

Koeman said in a press conference on Saturday he was not worried about Messi, despite his captain’s latest show of frustration.

“It is normal for a player to be a bit sad when a friend of theirs leaves after the years that they have had together, it is part of football,” said Koeman.

“But the most important thing for me is how he has been. In training and in games, I think Leo has been an example for everyone, in his commitment to the club and to the team. I have no doubts about Leo in this regard.”

Koeman was reported to have held a direct and short telephone conversation with Suarez about his future but Barca’s new coach claims the decision was not only his.

“At first it was like I was the bad guy in the movie,” said Koeman. “It’s not like that because from the first day or after my call with Luis I showed respect for the player and the person he is.

“He trained to the maximum from the first day and I always told him it could be difficult for him to play but if he stayed he would be one of the squad and could work like the others.

“That’s what I told the club too but these are decisions made by the club. Before signing the contract the club was thinking about changing things and I have tried to support those decisions.

“But it was not only my decision as a manager, they are decisions of the club as well.”

SUAREZ HAILS SIMEONE: Meanwhile, Atletico coach Diego Simeone believes Suarez can lift the club to new heights and said his new signing will be in the squad to face Granada on Sunday.

Suarez has joined Atletico after being pushed out by Barcelona, who allowed the 33-year-old to leave for free, with only an extra 5 million euros due in variables.

“His arrival is an opportunity for us to keep growing as a club and to have new energy as a team,” said Simeone.

“His teammates want to make him settle in as quickly as possible so his goals and game can help us win.”

Simeone said Suarez trained with his new side on Friday and is in line to make his debut against Granada at the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend.

“Yesterday he had a long day, he finished training very well with the team,” said Simeone.

“He seems to be so motivated and excited and of course he will be in the squad, available for the team. Tomorrow we will see if he starts or comes on in the second half.”

Suarez has said he was drawn to the possibility of competing at the highest level with Atletico and proving he is still among the best strikers in the world.

“I found in him what we need in this club, a dream and a desire to be here. When people come here with that kind of motivation, things always go well for them,” added Simeone.

Agence France-Presse

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