According to Spanish publication Marca, Ronald Koeman has insisted that he is not the ‘bad guy’ in the Luis Suarez situation in pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s opener against Villarreal.
Barcelona announced with an official statement that Atletico Madrid will pay up to €6m in variables for the signing of the experienced striker.
Lionel Messi clearly wasn’t happy with the club’s decision, taking to social media yesterday to suggest that Barcelona ‘kicked out’ his close friend in an extremely disrespectful manner.
Koeman played down his role in the Uruguayan superstar’s departure, suggesting that the decision wasn’t just ‘up to’ him, hinting that the club wanted the forward gone as part of the massive rebuild.
Here’s what Koeman had to say on the situation:
“It seems as though I’m the bad guy in this film because, behind my call to Luis Suarez, I’ve shown respect towards him as a person and a player.”
“I told him that if he stayed it would be difficult for him to play, but that if he stayed he’d be part of the group.”
“Before I signed, the club had already made some decisions and I’ve supported those decisions. It wasn’t just up to me.”
Suarez is the third-highest scorer in Barcelona’s history, the 33-year-old has been a superb teammate to Messi in particular, with the ace playing into the all-time great’s strengths.
From a neutral perspective, Suarez joining up with Diego Simeone at Atletico will hopefully make the La Liga title race more interesting this season.
It’s clear that Koeman, a club legend at Barcelona thanks to the exploits during his playing days, is not willing to accept the blame for Suarez leaving.