Ronald Koeman: Barcelona manager insists Suarez’ exit was decided before his arrival

Ronald Koeman: Barcelona manager insists Suarez’ exit was decided before his arrival

- Ronald Koeman replaced sacked Barcelona manager Quique Setien this summer

- Luis Suarez has left the Catalan club to join Atletico Madrid amid uproar among club fans

- Koeman has stated that the decision on Suarez’ future was agreed at Barcelona before his arrival

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Ronald Koeman has denied that he personally sent Luis Suarez packing from Barcelona after the Uruguayan star dumped the club to sign a two-year contract with rivals Atletico Madrid.

Koeman replaced sacked manager Quique Setién and he has been mandated by the club owners to ensure the club’s wage bill is reduced - and some players will need to leave.

Despite Suarez scoring at least 20 goals for the club in each of his six seasons since his arrival, the former Liverpool striker had his contract terminated at the Catalan club.

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Koeman was said to have placed a less than 60 seconds call to notify the 33-year-old that his services were no longer needed.

And now Suarez has officially joined Spanish club Atletico Madrid on a two-year deal amid criticisms from club fans.

Lionel Messi also paid emotional tribute to the player saying the Uruguayan doesn’t deserve to be treated the way they did to him.

Ronald Koeman: Barcelona manager insists Suarez’ exit was decided before his arrival
Ronald Koeman says he only supported Suarez' exit from Barcelona. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

But Koeman insists there were decisions made before he had arrived but could only offer Suarez a bit-part role: “It seems that I have been the villain of this film,” the Dutchman told a press conference.

“But before I arrived here, some decisions had already been made and I supported those decisions – it wasn't up to me.

“I only showed respect to Luis Suarez as a person and a player. I told him that if he stayed it would be difficult for him to play but that he would be part of the squad.”

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Meanwhile, earlier reported that Luis Suarez has reiterated his love for Spanish club Barcelona as he leaves the Camp Nou side to join rivals Atletico Madrid after he signed a two year contract.

While parting with the club, Suarez who is Barcelona’s third all-time goal scorer thanked the fans for their support during his six-year reign.

He said although he would be playing for the club’s rivals, Suarez told the supporters that he will remain a Culer (a Barcelona supporter).

He said: "Thank you to all the fans for everything they have done. Cheering me on from day one and the support of everyone I’ve had from everyone inside the Camp Nou from the staff.

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