Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has hit back at Luis Suarez’s exit claims, insisting the forward could have staying to “prove him wrong”.
The Uruguayan left the Nou Camp after six years for a two-year deal at rivals Atletico Madrid.
His exit was not smooth, though, as he laid into the La Liga giants for the manner of his exit.
Suarez said: “There were other ways to do things correctly with me. They were six long years.
"My family wanted to see me happy. There are some strange things at Barcelona, like sending you to train separately because you were not considered for the game.
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"Those kinds of things made me (feel) bad and my family saw me affected, so they encouraged me to take the opportunity. When Atletico came looking for me, I didn't hesitate for a single moment.
"Obviously I have to get used to various things, but I feel very happy at Atletico."
But Koeman has now responded to the forward’s claims, saying that there was a challenge waiting for Suarez if he stayed.
Speaking to NOS, the Barca boss said: “In the case of Suarez, it had become very difficult for him to start playing and I made that known to him. He found it difficult, but I never had any trouble with him at all.
"He trained normally, trained well. He finally made the choice to leave and I said: 'If you don't leave, for whatever reason, then you are just one of the group, then you can prove that I was wrong'. He could have stayed, yes.
"I'm good with Luis, but the club felt that we had to rejuvenate. You can see that now in the team.
“Ansu Fati plays, he is 17 years old. We have Pedri, 17 years old, who gets his chances. Ronald Araujo is there at the age of 21. Trincao falls in a lot and is 20 years old, and we have taken Sergino Dest, who is 19.
“Those are all players for the future."
Suarez was not the only one left unhappy with his exit, though, as club captain Lionel Messi said Barca has “thrown him out”.
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