New Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has detailed his chat with Lionel Messi over the sale of his pal and teammate Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid in the summer transfer window.
After spending six years at the Nou Camp, scoring 198 goals in 283 appearances, and helping the Catalan giants secure four La Liga titles, four Copas del Rey and the Champions League, Suarez was unceremoniously dumped by the club at the arrival of new boss Ronald Koeman.
The 33-year-old forward was sold to Atletico Madrid during the summer transfer window and has made an immediate impact in the Spanish capital where he scored two goals and assisted one on his first appearance.
Messi, who also tried to engineer a move out of Nou Camp, had publicly expressed his displeasure in the manner in which the club handled the sale of the Uruguayan.
According to the Mirror, Koeman has now recalled his conversation with the Argentine concerning his best pal but insists he wanted Suarez to remain in Catalunya.
“If you have someone in the locker room with whom you and your wife and children also hang out outside football, then such a reaction makes sense,” said the Dutchman.
“I also said that to Messi: ‘I understand that you are disappointed and think it is a terrible shame that he is leaving, but these are choices of the club’.
“In the case of Suarez, it had become very difficult for him to start playing and I made that known to him. He found it difficult, but I never had any trouble with him at all.
“He trained normally, trained well. He finally made the choice to leave and I said: ‘If you don’t leave, for whatever reason, then you are just one of the group, then you can prove that I was wrong’. He could have stayed, yes.
“I’m good with Luis, but the club felt that we had to rejuvenate. You can see that now in the team.
“Ansu Fati plays, he is 17 years old. We have Pedri, 17 years old, who gets his chances. Ronald Araujo is there at the age of 21. Trincao falls in a lot and is 20 years old, and we have taken Sergino Dest, who is 19.
“Those are all players for the future.”