Luis Suarez has opened up on life after Neymar at Barcelona – with the Uruguayan forward admitting that his loss is still felt at the club some months after his world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
Alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi, Suarez formed the MSN attacking trio, a formidable alliance which conjured up a staggering 364 goals and nine trophies in their three years together at the club. Suarez now finds himself in somewhat of a rough patch having only scored three goals in La Liga so far this season.
While Barca still sit atop the league, Suarez has not been half as clinical as in recent seasons, and speaking to Sport he admitted that he and Messi have suffered as a result of Neymar’s departure.
Paco Alcacer, Ousmane Dembele and Gerard Deulofeu among others have been granted starting berths at the Camp Nou in order to fill the void left behind, but with Dembele struggling through injury, Suarez has admitted that he has been forced out wide because “I see there’s no one there.”
While the loss of a player of Neymar’s calibre would prove detrimental to any side, Suarez was keen to emphasise the emotional turmoil which resulted from his departure:
“We miss Ney a lot on the pitch, but more off it, because he was special. 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.
“Because of the friendship we have, it was painful that he left.”
Neymar has since excelled at the Parisian club scoring seven goals in all competitions so far and forming a similar partnership with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.
His former teammate was also keen to quash rumours that the Brazilian is unhappy in the aftermath of his move.
“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.”
Whether the Brazilian regrets his move or not – it seems as if his association with Barcelona is a thing of the past.
While his former teammates may think he still belongs at the club, given the controversial circumstances in which the 25-year-old departed, it seems as if Paris will remain home for the time being.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena