Barcelona defender Jordi Alba has described the club’s decision to let striker Luis Suarez leave for Atletico Madrid in summer 2020 as “a joke.”
Suarez went on to fire the Rojiblancos to the league title, finishing seven points ahead of Barcelona who ended up in third behind Real Madrid. The Uruguay international scored 21 league goals for Atletico along the way after being deemed surplus to requirements by the Catalan giants.
Alba spoke to Cadena Ser about the transfer and admits “he didn’t like it” because “where are you going to find a striker like him?” as reported by Mundo Deportivo. The left-back also criticized the club’s decision, “It seems like a joke, he is a player who had given us a lot and it was given to a direct rival, who later also wins the league.”
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Alba Offers Backing to Ronald Koeman
The Barcelona left-back also took time out to praise coach Ronald Koeman. There had been speculation the Dutchman could be fired during the summer, but president Joan Laporta has since confirmed he will stay on for a second season.
Koeman came under pressure after Barca’s title charge faded. Poor results against Granada and Levante cost the Catalan giants dearly but Alba says he expected the coach to stay on.
He explained, “Koeman has had a good season and a good management of the group, that he continues was expected, but it is true that we were all waiting.”
Alba also spoke about Koeman’s decision to tinker with his formation throughout the season. Barca ended up playing with three center-backs which Alba feels brought out some good performances.
“When he bet on the three centrals is when we played the best games of the season and that system gave the team more stability, especially in defense,” he said. “I am not saying that it is better to play with two or three centrals, because with three we have also lost games.”
Alba Talks Messi Future
Alba also opened up on captain Lionel Messi’s future at the club. The Argentine is out of contract this summer but is expected to sign a new contract at the Camp Nou, according to Doble Amarilla.
The link-up play between Messi and Alba has been a feature of Barcelona’s football during the duo’s time at the club and was evidenced again last season with the left-back ending the campaign with 5 goals and 7 assists for Barca.
Alba obviously wants Messi to stay and is hoping for good news from his teammate. He added, “I hope Messi continues. He makes us better and with him we have more options to win titles,” he said. “It would be the best news for me, for the rest of the players and for the whole club.”
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has offered an update on Messi’s contract recently at a news conference. The 58-year-old told reporters on 28 May that the deal is “going well” but is “not done yet.”