Luis Suarez tried to stop Neymar’s ‘painful’ Barcelona exit
November 9, 2017 10:11 am
Luis Suarez admits he and Lionel Messi are still hurting from Neymar’s Barcelona exit after trying to convince the Brazil forward to stay.
Neymar formed a third of Barcelona’s famous M-S-N attack alongside Messi and Suarez before a world-record £200m move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Suarez has struggled since Neymar’s departure, having only scored three La Liga goals this season, with his last coming almost a month ago in a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.
The former Liverpool forward admits he is now often drawn out to Neymar’s old left-hand side “because I see there’s no one there”, and revealed the transfer has had an emotional impact on Barcelona’s frontline.
“We miss Ney a lot on the pitch, but more off it, because he was special,” Suarez told Sport. “He’s said it. We had a lot of fun. He transmits happiness and joy all of the time. He was important for us.
“He’s playing for another team now but I don’t hold it against him, the opposite. I tried to convince him to stay because I think here’s the best place for him, but it’s a decision he had to take.”
Suarez added: “[Messi and I] tried to do what would benefit the team. But we never said ‘Don’t go because you won’t be happy.’
“We said we didn’t want him to go, but that he was free to do what he wanted. Because of the friendship we have, it was painful that he left.”
Barcelona lead La Liga by four points ahead of Real Madrid despite Neymar’s exit and Suarez’s lack of form.
Catalan TV station La Porteria reported Neymar is regretting his switch to PSG, but Suarez insists the 25-year-old would be ready to go on record if he was longing for a return to the Nou Camp.
“It’s come out that he regrets leaving. Not at all,” said Suarez.
“Ney is mature enough to know if he regrets leaving and he would say it himself, it doesn’t need to be said by other people.”