Luis Suarez insists his goal celebration during Atletico Madrid’s victory over Barcelona was not a mockery of former boss Ronald Koeman.
Suarez was on target as reigning LaLiga champions Atletico intensified the pressure on the Barca head coach with a 2-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Latching on to Thomas Lemar’s lofted pass in the 44th minute, the Uruguay forward steadied himself before firing past Marc-Andre ter Stegen for his fourth goal of the season.
Suarez has now found the net against all 31 opponents he has faced in LaLiga, taking his tally in the Spanish top flight to 172 goals.
The 34-year-old did not celebrate immediately after his strike – instead appearing to ask for forgiveness from the supporters of his former side, for whom he scored 198 goals in 283 appearances, as well as providing 97 assists.
However, he subsequently imitated being on the phone in what was perceived to be a jibe at the expense of Koeman, who informed the striker he was not in his plans after taking over the reins at the Camp Nou in August 2020.
But Suarez says the gesture was in fact the representation of an inside family joke.
“I already knew that if I scored, I would apologise – out of respect, affection,” he said.
“[The phone signal] was for people who know that I have the same number and that I am still using the phone.
“It was not for Koeman; I was joking with my children that I would do that.”
It’s this man again.
And again. pic.twitter.com/oKn1Prx9Df
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) October 2, 2021
The 2-0 victory also gave Atletico a third consecutive clean sheet against Barca for the first time in LaLiga history.
More importantly, it moved Diego Simeone’s side level on points with leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand on their rivals.
“I’m happy for the team’s victory, which is what we want,” Suarez added.
“The opponent in front of us is special, but my work must be dedicated 100 per cent to Atletico.
“Last year, people suffered for not being able to enjoy the LaLiga title.
“I know the affection that people have for me and I work hard and strong to keep Atletico at the top.”
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