- Ronald Koeman says the Barcelona board was solely responsible for Luis Suarez's exit from Camp Nou
- The 33-year-old joined Atletico Madrid on a two-year deal and was unveiled earlier this weekend
Barca kick off their La Liga title campaign against Villarreal at Camp Nou in Koeman's first official game in charge
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Ronald Koeman has exonerated himself from Luis Suarez's departure from Barcelona earlier this month.
The 33-year-old attacker sealed a two-year move to Atletico Madrid having spent six years at the Nou Camp.
Though the Dutchman was blamed by many for sacking the Uruguay international from his team, he has now come forward to implicate the Barca board in the deal.
The former Barcelona star also used the avenue to respond to Lionel Messi's anger while trying to tell people not to label him as the bad person in the whole situation. Koeman said:
"It’s normal for him to be upset about the fact a great friend has left. ‘But I have no doubts about Messi. I have seen him train.
"It seemed like I have been the bad guy in this movie and it’s not like that. It was the decision of the club. I respect Suarez a lot and wish him all the best at Atlético Madrid."
Having allowed players like Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal to leave, Barcelona will now shift focus to strengthening their squad before the transfer window shuts.
And they have made both Memphis Depay and Lautaro Martinez their top targets but the manager will have to make do with players at his disposal, including youngsters Ansu Fati. The boss said:
Luis Suarez’ partner breaks down in tears after Lionel Messi's wife sent her emotional farewell message
"We’re looking for players to improve the team,’ he added. ‘But we must also understand the financial situation of the club. Regardless of possible signings, we will try to achieve everything
"We have very good forwards, but no one can play three games in a row. We have the quality to let them all play.
"For me, yes, he (Fati) is essential. He’s a great talent. He’s young and has to learn, he’s a player for the future but it’s impressive that at his age he already has the level to play in the first team of Barcelona. It says a lot."
Legit.ng earlier reported that Barcelona have reportedly concluded plans to make a move for Real Sociedad forward, Willian Jose as an alternative for Memphis Depay.
The Catalans are shopping for a quality replacement for Luis Suarez who parted ways with them this month after six years at the Nou Camp.
Inter Milan attacker Lautaro Martinez is also a major target for the Spanish League outfit as they plan to rebuild their squad.
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