Lionel Messi: Luis Suarez should not have been 'pushed out' of Barcelona

Messi: "You [Suarez] deserved a fitting farewell for the person that you are: one of the best players in the club's history, having achieved incredible things both individually and collectively"

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi
Image: Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi struck up a strong friendship on and off the field at Barcelona

Lionel Messi has aimed fresh criticism at the Barcelona hierarchy, following his team-mate Luis Suarez's departure from the club to Atletico Madrid.

La Liga rivals Atletico are set to sign Uruguay international striker Suarez for £5.5m after the two clubs agreed a fee for the 33-year-old.

New Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman told Suarez last month that he was not part of his plans for the 2020/21 season.

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar with the Champions League trophy in 2015
Image: Suarez won the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey, alongside Messi and Neymar in his first season at the club

Suarez was tearful as he said goodbye at a press conference on Thursday, revealing that he felt "proud" of the attacking partnership and friendship he cultivated with Messi during his six-year stay in Catalonia.

Messi, who came close to leaving the Nou Camp earlier in the transfer window before reversing his threat to end his contract unilaterally, has hit out at the club's management of Suarez's departure from the Spanish giants.

He wrote on Instagram: "You deserved a fitting farewell for the person that you are: one of the best players in the club's history, having achieved incredible things both individually and collectively.

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is wanted by both La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid and Italian champions Juventus
Image: Suarez was close to signing for Juventus before the club agreed a deal with Atletico

"You didn't deserve to be pushed out the way they did, but the truth is nothing surprises me any more.

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"I was gradually accepting it, but when I got into the dressing room today, how hard it's going to be to no longer have you around in the day-to-day on and off the pitch really dawned on me.

"We're going to miss you so much. It's been so many years, so many mates (a tea-like drink), lunches, dinners… There are so many things that will never be forgotten after being together every day.

"It will be strange to see you in another kit and even more so to play against you...

"I wish you all the best for your new challenge. Sending love to you and your family. See you soon, mate."

Barcelona beat Gimnastic with Lionel Messi captaining the side
Image: Messi came close to leaving Barcelona after handing in a transfer request earlier in the window

Suarez was close to agreeing terms with Italian champions Juventus, before an agreement was reached with Atletico, but delays in obtaining Italian citizenship held up a potential transfer to Serie A.

His move to Juventus fell through, and Alvaro Morata has since re-joined the club on a season-long loan from Atletico.

Suarez leaves Barcelona as the club's third-highest scorer of all-time after scoring 198 goals, he won 13 major trophies since arriving from Liverpool for £74m in 2014.

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