For a man not known to be soft-hearted on the pitch and who had demonstrated behavior to the contrary and vergin on the psychotic on more than one occasion, Luis Suarez was barely able to hold back the tears as he proudly highlighted his close friendship with Lionel Messi in bidding a teary farewell to Barcelona on Thursday ahead of his move to La Liga title rivals, Atletico Madrid.
It is noteworthy that despite it being a known fact that Messi had not been able to dovetail with other top strikers such as Samuel Eto’o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa but took no time at all to gel extraordinarily well with Suarez, who became his best friend at the club as well as a prolific strike partner.
“When I got to Barcelona everyone said be careful with Leo, that he was the main striker at the club,” an emotional Suarez said at a news conference attended by Messi and fellow Barca team mates Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, not to mention beleaguered club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“But in our time together we always tried to perform as well as we could and I can leave here feeling very proud.”
Messi had also looked set to be leaving Barca before being left with no options except to walk back on his threat to end his contract unilaterally as he could not bring himself to bring his beloved club to court, and Suarez didn’t hold back as he lashed out at the stories that appeared in the media about the two players’ supposed influence on the club.
“It has been a crazy month, many things have been said and leaked that were invented, many things that made me angry. But everyone knows how good a relationship I have with Leo,” the Uruguayan added.
Suarez joined Barca from Liverpool in 2014 after making global headlines for infamously biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup, which resulted in him being banned for the first four months.
But after that incident, he soon formed a deadly partnership with Messi and Neymar, winning a treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in his first season.
He leaves after lifting 13 trophies and hitting 198 goals to become the club’s third all-time top scorer.
“I’m grateful to the club for trusting in me in 2014 after I made an error, it wasn’t easy to accept that and they treated me marvellously since I arrived,” Suarez said.
“I came here to fulfil a dream, to play for the best club in the world and I should be very proud of everything I did.
“I suffered a lot but I’ll remember the good times, the goals I scored alongside the best player of all time.”
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu added: “He is a club legend, the third top scorer in our history, the best in his position.
“I want to highlight his character, his fighting spirit and his will to win which has helped us achieve so much in the last six years.”
At one awkward point in the press conference, Suarez was asked if he felt he was to blame for anything in the club, at which he immediately, with unabashed tongue-in-cheek, responded, “ …me or …?”, nodding at Bartomeu, who was sitting beside him.
Well done, El Pistolero … we all know the the main culprit behind the whole Barca fiasco is, don’t we?
Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia