No Suarez regrets for Koeman & Barcelona despite Atletico Madrid striker outscoring former team-mates

Luis Suarez, Atletico MadridGetty

Ronald Koeman claims to have no regrets at seeing Luis Suarez leave Barcelona, with the Dutch coach claiming that the decision to part with the proven striker was taken by those above him.

A Camp Nou icon returned to Catalunya in a managerial capacity over the summer following the sacking of Quique Setien.

One of his first pieces of business was to bid farewell to Uruguayan frontman Suarez, with the South American allowed to link up with La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.

A man who plundered 198 goals for the Blaugrana has been outscoring his former team-mates this season, with an eight-goal return in the Spanish top flight better than Lionel Messi and Co have managed.

Barca could be forgiven for wishing they had kept the 33-year-old on their books, but Koeman is reluctant to dwell on events of the past.

He has said: “No, I don’t regret letting go of Suarez. I always highlighted his qualities. The decision was already made by the club and him.”

There could be more outgoings at Barca over the coming weeks, now that the January transfer window has opened, with Koeman adding: “Players going out on loan? Yes. I think that some players have to play games and in this club they have it complicated.”

Movement in the opposite direction will be difficult, with funds in short supply, and it may that Barca have to make do until the summer.

Their boss said: “If we don’t sign anyone, it’s because of the club or the financial situation.

“With Ramon Planes we have prepared how we think the club should be. We have the plan, but we don’t decide. The new president has to do it.”

Barca already have plenty of talent at their disposal, with the hope being that talismanic captain Messi will burst into life at some stage.

He sat out a 1-1 draw with Eibar at the end of 2020, but will be back in contention for a trip to Huesca on Sunday.

Koeman said of the mercurial Argentine: “Messi is fine, he has trained on the 30th and 31st, days that his team-mates had days off. He has not had any more discomfort and he’s eager.

“Messidependencia? I think it’s still there, yes. This has been the case many years, he has resolved many games. That’s why he’s the best in the world.”

Koeman added on Messi’s future, with the 33-year-old continuing to run his contract down towards free agency: “Leo has said that he will not decide his future now and we have to respect it. We shouldn’t worry.”