herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Suarez: It's Spain-ful to say goodbye

Striker Luis Suarez asked for understanding from fans after his £75million move to Barcelona was confirmed.

The Uruguay international brought the brilliant and bizarre to Anfield during his 
three-and-a-half-year stay, during which controversy was never far away.

Suarez scored 82 goals in 133 appearances and departs after arguably the best season of his career, with 31 goals in 33 league matches making him a Kop idol.

abusing

However, he has infuriated those same supporters with two lengthy suspensions - totalling 18 games for racially abusing Patrice Evra and biting Branislav Ivanovic - and tarnished his reputation further by trying to force a move away last summer.

"I hope you can all understand why I have made this decision," Suarez said in a statement after the Reds announced they had agreed a club-record deal with Barcelona.

"This club did all they could to get me to stay but playing and living in Spain, where my wife's family live, is a lifelong dream and ambition. I believe now the timing is right.

"It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain.

"Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city but most of all I have fallen in love with the incredible fans.

"You have always supported me and we, as a family, will never forget it, we will always be Liverpool supporters.

"I am very proud I have played my part in helping to return Liverpool to the elite of the Premier League and in particular back into the Champions League.

"Thank you again for some great moments and memories.

"You'll Never Walk Alone."

Suarez is currently serving a four-month ban on all football-related activity for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup but that does not extend to transfers.

The 27-year-old will have a medical in Catalonia next week before signing a five-year contract, although Barcelona have to address the issue of how to parade him in front of their fans as the Nou Camp - the usual venue for such occasions - is off limits to the Uruguay international as his suspension incorporates all grounds.

Manager Brendan Rodgers now has the job of filling the world-class void left by Suarez.

Rodgers remains positive they will cope without the brilliance of Suarez.

"Luis is a very special talent and I thank him for the role he has played in the team in the past two years, during my time at Liverpool," he said.

accept

"I think he would be the first to accept he has improved as a player over that period, along with the team, and has benefited from being here as we have benefited from him.

"The club have done all they can over a sustained period of time to try to keep Luis at Liverpool.

"It is with great reluctance and following lengthy discussions we have eventually agreed to his wishes to move to Spain for new experiences and challenges.

"We wish him and his young family well; we will always consider them to be friends."

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