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Atlético de Madrid forward Luis Suárez has lifted the lid on his bitter departure from Barcelona and revealed that he was told he was going through his prime.
Suárez has scored 16 goals in 20 league appearances this season, propelling Diego Simeone’s team to the top of LaLiga, and is the competition’s top scorer alongside former Barça teammate Lionel Messi.
After the 34-year-old was allowed to join title rivals the Catalans in a reduced-price deal, Atleti have opened up an eight-point lead over fourth-ranked Barça and maintain a three-point lead. points over Real Madrid, with a game in hand.
The Uruguayan scored 198 goals in six seasons at the Camp Nou but, after new manager Ronald Koeman was hired, Suarez revealed that he was told he was no longer up to their standards.
“What really bothered me was that they told me that I was older and that I could no longer play at the highest level, be at the level of a great team. That’s what upset me, ”Suárez told France Football.
16 – Luis Suárez has scored 16 goals in his first 17 games for Atlético de Madrid in LaLiga, becoming the fastest player to reach 16 goals for the same club in the competition in the 21st century (Cristiano Ronaldo – 15 goals with Real Madrid in 2009/10). Amazing. pic.twitter.com/wHbLRFdA7P
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 8, 2021
Although Suárez had a hard time getting away from the close ties and friendships he and his family had formed in Barcelona, the two-time European Golden Shoe winner had no intention of staying where he was not wanted.
“On the one hand, this change was welcome because, after everything he had experienced at Barça, and the way he was going, he wanted to change,” added Suárez.
“The most difficult thing is when you have a family that has been used to living in the same place for six years.
“Having to explain to my children that we are going to change when they have their friends and their habits in Barcelona, that was the most difficult thing.
“Even more so during a pandemic, with the current difficulties, in particular to socialize with people here in Madrid.
“This complicates things, it is impossible to do extracurricular activities with the children, we have to stay at home. They miss their friends, as they miss my wife’s family in Barcelona.
“But you also have to see the positive side: I was not going to be happy where people no longer loved me. Now my family feels that I am happy and that is the main thing ”.
Suarez will play for Atleti against Premier League Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania, on Tuesday.