Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez has revealed he was offloaded by Barcelona in the summer after the Catalan giants claimed he was no longer good enough to perform at the highest level.
Suarez was unceremoniously booted out of Camp Nou last summer, with Juventus leading the race for his signature for months, only for Atletico Madrid to swoop in late and seal a £5.5m deal to land the Uruguayan.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have had their salary caps slashed by La Liga. Real Madrid have been permitted to increase theirs.
Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid go head to head in the capital city derby on Sunday afternoon, where victory for the hosts could end los Blancos' title defence
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Joan Laporta has claimed that Lionel Messi will only stay at Barcelona if he wins the election, insisting votes for others will see Messi leave.
Since joining Atletico, Suarez has bagged 16 goals in 20 La Liga appearances, enough to see him tied with Lionel Messi at the top of the league's scoring charts, which has left Barcelona with egg on their face as Suarez confessed to France Football that they felt he was not capable of such form.
“What really bothered me was that they told me that I was old and that I could no longer play at the top level, be up to a great team," he began. "That's what displeased me.
“What is essential is the mind. It's very important to be strong in your head and to feel that you have the means to turn around difficult situations. It has always been one of my characteristics: I never gave up, even when I was going through difficult times. It is this character that pushed me to come to this team which is fighting for important things.
"One of my motivations was to be able to show that you still have to count on me. It is a question of self-esteem. After all those years at Barça, I wanted to show that I can still be useful at the highest level, within the Spanish elite."
"On the one hand, this change was welcome because, after everything I had experienced at Barca, and given the way it went, I wanted to change. The hardest part is when you have a family that for six years has been used to living in the same place. 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. All the more so during a pandemic, with the current difficulties, in particular to socialize with people here, in Madrid.
"This complicates things, it's impossible to do extra-curricular 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 wanted me. Now my family feels that I am happy and that is the main thing."
Barcelona's treatment of Suarez was thought to contribute to Messi's desire to leave last summer. The two were close friends, and Suarez admitted that he has struggled to adjust to life without his close friend.
"Of course I miss him," he added (via GFFN). "Aside from the player that we all know, he is Leo, my friend who I am missing. Our day to day, our talks, not only about football but also about things in life.
"Our children would play together and got on really well, they also miss each other. We all knew that this change was going to come, and, owing to our ages, we had to prepare for it.”