Luis Suarez: Atletico striker weighs in on crisis at former club Barcelona


A winner of no less than 13 trophies during a six-year stint at the Camp Nou between 2014 and 2020, the contributions of Luis Suarez are fondly remembered by Barcelona fans around the world.

Now entering his second season as an Atletico Madrid player, Suarez is just days away from facing his old club as Barca visit the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday evening in La Liga action.

The Barcelona side that will travel to the Spanish capital this weekend, though, is a far cry from the one that Suarez left a little over a year ago in acrimonious circumstances.

To put it mildly, the Blaugrana are in a state of crisis. The club's perilous financial situation meant that it was impossible for them to re-sign record goalscorer, Lionel Messi, when his contract expired in the summer. 

The Argentian soon went on to sign with Paris Saint-Germain, but his departure has proved only the beginning of Barca's woes.

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Despite facing some very modest opposition so far this season, Ronald Koeman's side has won only three of their six matches in La Liga this term. The beginning of their Champions League campaign has been worse, with Barca currently rock-bottom of their group after a pair of 3-0 defeats in their opening two games.

Understandably, following such a poor run of form by Barcelona standards, Koeman's future as the club's head coach is in major doubt.

Speaking to Spanish outlet Sport ahead of this weekend's fixture, Suarez has given his thoughts on the plight of his former club (translations per @infosfcb on Twitter).



"Barcelona have a lot of talent and they can get out of this situation," insisted the Uruguayan superstar. However, Suarez was far less complimentary about the situation behind the scenes at the club, referring to tension between Koeman and president Joan Laporta as "a separate war that hurts the players."

So toxic is the present political situation at Barca in Suarez's mind that he has even warned club legend Xavi not to take on the role of head coach should Koeman be dismissed.

"Xavi as Barca coach? I don't think now is the right time for him to train the team, he must wait for the right moment. He's smart and knows the difficulty of the club.

"Xavi has friends at the club and he will have to make decisions with them - and this is difficult anyway."

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Suarez, though, certainly won't be shedding any tears if Koeman is axed. Recalling the final months of his own spell with Barcelona, the 34-year-old accused the Dutchman of dealing with him as though he was a troublesome teenager.

"Ronald Koeman treated me with contempt, as if I were a 15-year-old and (former club president Josep) Bartomeu leaked that I was a bad character in the dressing room."

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Koeman was happy to let Suarez leave Catalonia last September, apparently convinced that the striker's best days were behind him.

Suarez responded to this snub by netting 21 times for Atletico last season as they lifted the La Liga crown. The player himself, though, revealed that he has no animosity towards his former club - and vowed not to celebrate should he find his way on to the scoresheet on Saturday.

"I hope to score on Saturday but I won't celebrate, I have great respect for Barcelona, stated Suarez.

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