Luis Suárez: “Messi and I told Neymar: ‘Ney, if you want to win everything, stay”
Luis Suárez, who is playing for Gremio in the Brazilian league, was interviewed by Placar and recalled Barcelona’s MSN.
Luis Suárez is gradually finding his place in Brazil. After his stay in Europe came to an end at Atlético Madrid, ‘El Pistolero’ decided to return to his roots by rejoining Nacional - the club where he started out, last summer. But after a few months in his homeland, the Uruguayan opted to move to Brazil as his next destination. Grêmio welcomed him on board at the start of the New Year.
Luis Suárez gave an interview to Placar in which he recalled his time at Barcelona, in which he was one third of the fabled MSN frontline, alongside Messi and Neymar.
The 36-year-old feels that the trio could have tasted more success had it lasted longer - as Neymar left Camp Nou to join PSG in 2017. “I didn’t really like to talk about it [the rumours of Neymar leaving], but there came a time when it had turned into quite a big deal, so we went to talk with Neymar and we told him: ‘Ney, if you want to win everything, stay here with us’,“ the striker explained. Neymar’s decision to pack his bags and go to Ligue 1 marked the end of that attacking trident and Luis Suárez could see that having a negative effect on his own figures at Barcelona. He and Messi tried to persuade Neymar to change his mind. “There are many different factors that are sometimes difficult to control. We, as friends, advise you to stay, but it is your decision, and your family’s decision. We said: ‘Neymar, England is better. [Manchester] City, that kind of football is better, it’s more suited to you. But France...?’”.
For the Grêmio striker there is no doubt about what Neymar could have achieved if he had stayed at Barcelona: “If Neymar had stayed at Barcelona, he would have won a Ballon d’Or for sure. My opinion is that if I had stayed, I would have won it,” he explained.
The harmony and understanding that the three players enjoyed during their time together in LaLiga carried over off the pitch. They forged a friendship that for Luis Suárez was beneficial for all of them. For the Uruguayan, it was important to clarify his role within the team when he first joined from Liverpool. “The team needed a No.9. But they already had Neymar and Messi... I told them I had come to win, to succeed and achieve important things. I wasn’t going to argue with Neymar about who will take the penalties, or dispute with Messi about who was going to take the free-kicks,” he commented when remembering his former team mates. Their rapport on the field of play worked well because when one did not finish off a move another did, or when one did not assist another did, the relationship off the field was the same. “Off the field, when we would get together to drink [Argentinean beverage] mate - Neymar didn’t drink mate-, but when Messi and I were drinking mate and he came to sit down, we talked about all kinds of things,” he remembered.