Messi explains public criticism of Barca's Suarez sale - I was expressing things that hurt me

By Sports Desk September 30, 2020

Lionel Messi understands those who felt he should have kept quiet about Luis Suarez's Barcelona departure but said his criticism was a way of expressing things that have "hurt me".

Suarez was allowed to join LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in a €6million deal last week and started life at the Rojiblancos with a brace and an assist off the bench in a 6-1 battering of Granada on Sunday.

The decision of the club and new coach Ronald Koeman to tell Suarez he was free to leave is thought to have been a motivating factor behind Messi sensationally telling Barca he wanted to depart last month.

Messi later signalled he will stay at Camp Nou after accusing president Josep Maria Bartomeu of making a move "impossible".

But when Suarez – who is third in Barca's all-time list of scorers with 198 and won 13 trophies in six seasons with Los Cules – departed, Messi accused the club of "kicking out" the former Liverpool striker and added "at this point nothing surprises me" in an Instagram post.

Explaining why he opted to vent on social media, Messi told SPORT: "I only said what I felt in some moments that were hard for me.

"I understand that there will be those who think that I should have kept quiet or let it pass, as in so many other things that I let pass.

"But many things hurt me in recent weeks and it was my way of expressing it."

A tumultuous period, which started with Barca's 8-2 demolition at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, saw Messi attempt to force a transfer.

Eventually Messi said he will stay put this season, stating he did not want to drag the saga through the courts when Barca and LaLiga disputed the superstar forward's claim he could utilise a clause in his contract to leave on a free transfer.

Messi began Barca's LaLiga campaign by scoring a penalty in a 4-0 rout of Villarreal and he insisted his commitment to winning and the club is as strong as ever.

"Whoever knows me knows that I am not capable of playing anything other than always to win and to give everything on the pitch," he added.

"It was like that throughout my career and that is not going to change. Today my commitment to this shirt and this badge is total, it is still intact."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Man City eyeing Nagelsmann amid Guardiola doubts, Ramos-Madrid deadlocked Rumour Has It: Man City eyeing Nagelsmann amid Guardiola doubts, Ramos-Madrid deadlocked

    It remains to be seen whether Pep Guardiola will re-sign with Manchester City.

    Guardiola's contract expires at the end of the season in Manchester.

    Should the Spaniard decide to move on, there are already two men on the list to replace him.

     

    TOP STORY – CITY INTERESTED IN NAGELSMANN

    Manchester City are eyeing RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann as a possible replacement for Pep Guardiola, according to the Daily Mail.

    Guardiola is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 campaign and the City manager – who has been previously linked to Juventus – is no closer to re-signing.

    Should Guardiola decide to leave after arriving in 2016, Nagelsmann and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are early candidates.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Sergio Ramos and LaLiga champions Real Madrid remain deadlocked over contract talks, claims the front page of Monday's Diario AS. The 34-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he wants a two-year deal, though Madrid are only committed to 12 months.

    - Tuttosport reports Juve and Barcelona are both pursuing Ajax sensation Ryan Gravenberch. The 18-year-old midfielder emerged from Ajax's youth system in 2018.

    Barcelona will block a January loan offer from Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain for Riqui Puig, according to Mundo Deportivo.

    Kylian Mbappe extending his PSG contract has not been ruled out, claims L'Equipe. Tipped to eventually join Madrid, while the likes of Liverpool, Barca and Manchester United have also been linked, Mbappe could stay in Paris should certain conditions be met. The Frenchman is keen to see what unfolds in the next transfer windows.

  • Pirlo not worried ahead of Barcelona clash as Juventus held again Pirlo not worried ahead of Barcelona clash as Juventus held again

    Andrea Pirlo insisted he was unworried about Barcelona after Juventus were held to another draw in Serie A.

    Juve needed a 77th-minute equaliser from Dejan Kulusevski to earn a 1-1 draw at home to Hellas Verona, who went ahead through Andrea Favilli on Sunday.

    The Serie A champions are winless in two consecutive league games against Verona for the first time since 1989 as Juve moved onto nine points through five games.

    Juve host Barca in the Champions League on Wednesday, but Pirlo was unfazed, saying he expected a different type of game.

    "No, I am not worried ahead of Barcelona, because they're two completely different games, with two different styles of play," the Juve head coach told a news conference.

    "As I said earlier, Atalanta like Verona play in a completely different way compared to Barcelona, therefore when you play against this kind of team it's a kind of game of its own.

    "You have to try and do certain things, which we tried to do during the game."

    The result left Juve three points behind leaders Milan, who host Roma on Monday.

    But Pirlo, who only took charge in August, is remaining upbeat about the direction his side are heading in.

    "No, I am not worried [about the draws] because we are under construction," he said.

    "Of course, we're sorry we're dropping points along the way, but we're on the right path and we are building a long-term project.

    "It's only the fifth game we play together and for our future I can only see positive things."

  • Barcelona is Barcelona - Umtiti not ready to leave Camp Nou despite Lyon interest Barcelona is Barcelona - Umtiti not ready to leave Camp Nou despite Lyon interest

    Samuel Umtiti has revealed he held talks with Lyon during the transfer window but did not want to leave Barcelona on bad terms.

    After a promising start at the club following his 2016 switch from Lyon - where he had spent the previous 14 years - Umtiti has struggled for form and fitness, particularly since the start of 2018-19.

    He has made 77 LaLiga appearances for the Catalan giants and ranks highly for interceptions since 2016-17 began, averaging 1.73 per game - behind only Jordi Alba (2.09) among those still at the club.

    A return to Lyon was on the cards during the close season but Umtiti would rather turn things around at Camp Nou first.

    "Everything was possible during the transfer window," he told Canal+. "Lyon is my club and my city. They gave me the opportunity to be seen.

    "There were discussions, but it was quick, nothing concrete. I had to be able to speak with a club. I'll be honest: Barcelona is Barcelona.

    "I don't want to leave Barcelona and even less like that."

    Umtiti has been blighted by persistent knee problems over the past couple of seasons and has yet to feature under new Barca boss Ronald Koeman.

    However, the 26-year-old is hopeful his injury issues are now a thing of the past after a change of lifestyle.

    "The last two years have been the most complicated of my career," he said. "Sometimes I got really sick of it. I relapsed each time, and with different injuries because I was trying to compensate.

    "It wasn't a knee problem, it was that I had a total imbalance. I had to start over. I stopped eating meat, fish and milk. I feel better, I sleep better. I have never felt so good physically.

    "My body has also changed. I have lost three kilos. I have recovered. I have never worked so hard. And I'm happy about it."

    Umtiti now intends to rival fellow France international Clement Lenglet for a regular starting spot alongside Gerard Pique in the heart of Barca's backline.

    "He occupies my position for Barcelona and the French team," he said. "It doesn't bother me at all. On the contrary - I encourage him and there is a very good understanding between us.

    "We could play together. But, I think he knows it: when I come back, I will do anything to get back to my place and to play. But there is no jealousy between us."

    Umtiti is not the only French player struggling to make an impact in Catalonia, with Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele also facing regular criticism.

    "We have all lived through complicated times," the defender said. "Everyone puts knives behind our backs and wants to kill us. But, between us, we try to laugh in order to smile again."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.