Luis Suarez has insisted his phone celebration for Atletico Madrid against Barcelona on Saturday night wasn’t a dig at Ronald Koeman. The Uruguay international notched against his old side. And he’s boosted his side’s chances of winning La Liga in the process.
Atletico went into the match against Barcelona as favourites to take all three points.
And they did just that, with Diego Simeone’s side outclassing their rivals to boost their hopes of La Liga glory.
Thomas Lemar opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, with Suarez then scoring just before the interval.
Barcelona rallied in the second half but the Catalan titans were unable to earn anything from the game, intensifying the pressure on Koeman’s shoulders in the process.
Suarez was sold by the Dutchman in 2020, having never been given a chance.
But he’s insisted his ‘phone’ celebration wasn’t a dig at Koeman, who was using his mobile in the stands to get instructions down to the bench.
"It was for the people who know I have the same number, so they know I'm still on my phone,” he said.
"It was something I had agreed on with my kids."
Suarez also clasped his hands together in prayer with his eyes closed, as though asking Barcelona fans for forgiveness.
And he admitted that he was never going to celebrate a goal against his old club, despite the difficult nature of his departure.
"I knew if I scored I wasn't going to celebrate," he said.
Suarez previously insisted Barcelona were wrong to let him go, saying in February that the decision to cut him loose hurt him.
"When Barcelona told me that they did not count on me it was hard, I did not expect it,” he said at the time.
"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."
Barcelona star Gerard Pique, meanwhile, has also spoken out after Saturday’s match.
And he’s admitted his team are ‘suffering’ right now, revealing there are several problems that need ironing out.
“It is a complicated situation,” he said.
“We’re suffering, I have to be honest about that.
“It is just not one problem, there are several.
“Despite this, I think we will recover.
“These are difficult times, we have not experienced them before. The atmosphere in the dressing room is very good and we want to turn it around.”
On Joan Laporta backing Koeman, he added: “Laporta and Koeman? As players we cannot get involved, there is little we can do.
"We have to go out to the pitch and do our best and there are days when it turns out well and others where it does not.”