SOCCER | LUIS SUAREZ

Suárez: Xavi taking over Barcelona now could jeopardize his legacy

In a wide-ranging interview, Luis Suárez discussed his Barcelona exit, his reunion with Griezmann, the prospect of Xavi as Barça coach and a possible reunion with Lionel Messi.

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Luis Suarez of Atletico de Madrid saludates to the fans during the spanish league, La Liga Santander, football match played between Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano stadium on October 02, 2021, in Madrid, Spain. AFP7
AFP7 vía Europa Press

Currently at camp with Uruguay ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, Luis Suárez gave an interview to journalist Gerard Romero on his Twitch channel, Jijantes FC.

The Atlético Madrid striker discussed his bitter departure from Barcelona and his call with coach Ronald Koeman, as well as his reunion with Antoine Griezmann at the Wanda Metropolitano and Atlético’s 2-0 win over Barcelona last Saturday.

Suárez on Koeman, Barcelona and Griezmann

Koeman's call: "It lasted 40 seconds. That is not the way to fire a club legend. First he told me that I was not in his plans and then he told me that if I didn’t resolve my contract I was going to play against Villarreal. There were things that weren’t clear. He lacked the personality to tell me things clearly, whether it was him that didn’t want me or whether it was really the club that didn’t want me. They were very difficult days after everything I gave to the club. I spoke with [my wife] Sofía and Leo [Messi] after the call. It was a difficult year because of everything. Messi asked to leave and I was fired. Our two families had a very bad time. I came home from training in a very bad way.”

Atlético-Barça game last Saturday:"I saw a team (Barcelona) in bad spirits, the images speak for themselves and seeing teammates like that hurt me. I would like the Barça fans to have patience with the change that is taking place. Over time they will be able to bring new players, it's still one of the biggest teams.”

Swapping shirts with Barca’s 17-year-old midfielder Gavi after the match: "He is young and has a lot to learn but we must congratulate him for what he is doing. The other day he waited for me to ask for my shirt and we swapped them.”

28 September 2021, Italy, Milan: Atletico's Antoine Griezmann (L) celebrates scoring his side's first goal with teammate Luis Suarez during the UEFA Champions League group B soccer match between AC Milan and Atletico Madrid at San Siro Stadium.

Griezmann’s return to Atlético: "Three days before signing Griezmann, I had a feeling that he would come. We talked about it after playing against Villarreal. I thought Atléti would wait until the end to sign him. I always had a good relationship with him at Barça. We never had any problems. We have had a barbecue together; we have a very good relationship. "

Suarez on Atlético, Xavi, Fati and Messi reunion

Atlético level: "We know that we have to improve in each game, but it is obvious that we have a great team to fight for everything."

Ansu Fati: "Putting pressure on Ansu would be a mistake. At 19, he can't do it all by himself, he has to share responsibility.”

Xavi Hernández: "If Xavi takes over the club now, without a clear project due to the financial problems that exist, it could jeopardize his legacy. If he comes they would have to offer him a project without financial difficulties. He also has the handicap of having friends in the locker room. But still, he is the most suitable candidate. He knows everything that must be done to succeed at the club but he must choose the right moment.”

Atlético training: "The training sessions are very intense. ‘El Profe’ (Oscar ‘The Teacher’ Ortega, Atléti’s notoriously demanding fitness coach) and the coach (Diego Simeone) are always on top of us.”

Playing with Messi again: "You never know. If within a year, or two or three, I want to go to a team and Leo happens to be there ... it could happen…”