Luis Suarez says knee surgery stopped him playing in Barcelona's Copa del Rey final loss
Valencia beat Barcelona 2-1 to win the Copa del Rey on Saturday, ending the Spanish champions' four-year winning streak
By AP Sport
Last Updated: 26/05/19 9:09pm
Luis Suarez has defended himself from criticism for undergoing knee surgery that prevented him from playing for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final.
The Uruguayan released a statement Sunday saying he had no option despite the timing of the final, which Barcelona lost 2-1 to Valencia on Saturday.
Suarez said he had to undergo surgery "against my will" after rupturing his meniscus against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.
He said the surgery earlier this month had nothing to do with a cartilage issue that he had been nursing since the beginning of the season.
In a statement released on social media, Suarez said the aftermath of the loss was a "day of sadness and disappointment" but maintained he was "very proud of all of [his team-mates].
He added: "I am not much of clarifying things that are said about me and that reach people, but this time I see myself with the obligation to do it, since I believe that many of the things that are being said are with bad intention and question my professionalism.
"This year I started the season with discomfort in the cartilage, which many people already know, and with the GREAT WORK of the club's medical staff I managed to endure without any problem. To all of them, thank you very much for your work and dedication.
"That is why I want to clarify, especially to all those who seem to want to hurt me, that the injury that led me to undergo surgery has absolutely nothing to do with the cartilage, but because of a meniscus tear that I suffered in the tie against Liverpool. That is why I was forced to go through the operating room and miss the final yesterday against my will.
"I have shown every day since I arrived at this club that I am 100 per cent involved, I give it all in every training [session] and in every match for this shield [badge]. Because it has always been and it is my dream to be here!"
Barcelona won the Spanish league but finished the season on a low after being eliminated by Liverpool in the Champions League and losing the Copa final to Valencia.
Suarez scored 25 goals in 49 matches this season, second only to Lionel Messi on the scoring charts for Barcelona.