Atlético Madrid striker Luis Suárez has confessed that he spent several days crying over the way Barcelona handled his exit from the club.
The 33-year-old, who bagged 21 goals and 12 assists in all competitions for Barcelona last season, still had one year left on his contract heading into the summer, but he was unceremoniously pushed out the exit door after club officials decided they no longer wanted to pay his high wages.
Initial talks over a contract termination broke down early on, but Atlético swooped in and paid a comparatively tiny transfer fee – essentially nothing, with some €2m bonus payments for meeting objectives – to bring Suárez over to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Speaking to the Uruguay Football Association after scoring in Thursday's 2-1 win over Chile, Suárez admitted he was frustrated to leave Camp Nou, but most of his disappointment stemmed from the way Barcelona handled the situation.
"I'd been with Barcelona for six years, there were other ways of talking to me, telling me that the club had planned to go in a different direction, but the way they went about it was not good and that bothered Leo [Messi] as well," Suárez said. "He knows what we suffered and how bad it was at that time.
"Those days - Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - until the time of my Atlético debut, were very complicated. I cried over what was going on. I could not take the messages from the club that they were looking for a solution. Because of their actions, more than anything, because you have to accept when you complete a cycle at a club."
Barça's treatment of Suárez was thought to be a contributing factor in Messi's decision to try and leave Camp Nou this summer. The two are incredibly close friends, and the Uruguay striker was thankful for the support of his former team-mate.
“I was not surprised that Messi supported me publicly because I know him so well," Suárez continued. "I already knew the pain he felt, how he said it and how I said it. Their actions, the feeling that they are throwing you out, that is what hurts the most."
Barcelona didn't end up replacing Suárez. The year-long pursuit of Inter's Lautaro Martínez ultimately broke down, prompting Ronald Koeman to push for Lyon forward Memphis Depay. The Dutch forward had agreed a move but Barcelona were forced to pull out of talks after failing to offload Ousmane Dembélé on deadline day.
As for Suárez, his Atlético career got off to the perfect start as he netted two goals and an assist in his 20-minute debut, although he has failed to score in either of his last two appearances.