Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez appeared to send a pointed message to Ronald Koeman after scoring against former club Barcelona, but he claims his celebration was dedicated to his children
Luis Suarez claims his celebration after scoring against Barcelona was dedicated to his three children – and not a dig at Ronald Koeman.
The Atletico Madrid striker condemned Barca to their first La Liga defeat of the season by doubling his side’s lead just before half-time.
Suarez did not celebrate scoring against his former club, where he spent six trophy-laden years, but appeared to send a pointed message to Koeman by forming a phone with his hand and putting it two his ear.
Eagle-eyed fans noticed this and remembered Koeman told Suarez his time at Camp Nou was over via a phone call after his appointment as manager last year.
“When Barcelona told me that they did not count on me it was hard, I did not expect it,” Suarez told El Transistor in February.
“They were very difficult moments because of the manner [in which it happened].
“Koeman called me and told me that I was not in his plans. When Barcelona made it official that they did not count on me, conversations began with Atleti, with Cholo [manager Diego Simeone], with [CEO] Miguel Angel.”
At the time, a phone call hardly seemed a fitting manner to part ways with a player who scored 198 goals and won nine major honours with the Catalan giants.
Few could blame Suarez for holding a grudge against Koeman and many read the Uruguayan’s celebration as a clear jibe at the Barcelona manager.
But the 34-year-old clarified the meaning of his celebration after the match, insisting it was a gesture he agreed on with his children prior to the Wanda Metropolitano clash.
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“It was for the people who know I have the same number, so they know I’m still on my phone,” Suarez told Movistar after the full-time whistle. “It was something I had agreed on with my kids.”
Suarez accompanied his ‘phone call’ celebration by clasping his hands together in prayer with his eyes closed, as if he was asking for forgiveness for scoring against Barcelona.
“I knew if I scored I wasn’t going to celebrate,” he added after the match.
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The former Liverpool forward latched onto Thomas Lemar’s pass to finish an incisive counter-attack and set Atletico on course for victory.
Suarez’s goal means he has scored against all 31 teams he has faced in La Liga across his eight seasons in Spain.
It also took his tally to an impressive five goals in 10 games this season, while he scored 21 goals during his debut campaign with Atletico to win the La Liga title.