Luis Suarez is on a collision course with Liverpool after the club insisted he is not for sale despite the Uruguay striker’s confirmation that he no longer feels “comfortable” playing in England and is ready to leave.
For the third time this week in an interview in his homeland as he prepares for Wednesday’s friendly match with France, Suarez offered encouragement to potential suitors Real Madrid by expressing his desire for a “change of environment” after another controversial season at Anfield. Within an hour of the interview being broadcast in the UK, a Liverpool spokesman denied that there had been any approach and reiterated their intention to keep the 26-year-old at the club.
“Luis Suarez is not for sale,” he said. “Neither Luis nor his representatives have communicated these feelings directly to Liverpool Football Club. The club remains supportive of Luis and expect him to honour his contract. We will not be making any further comment at this stage.”
Suarez, who is currently serving a 10-game club ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, admitted on Wednesday it “would be difficult to say no” to Spanish giants Real. His agent Pere Guardiola later contradicted that statement by saying the player who signed from Ajax Amsterdam in January 2011 was happy to stay at Anfield.
Having once again failed to secure Champions League qualification despite his 23 Premier League goals, Liverpool have been bracing themselves for speculation over Suarez’s future this summer despite their unwavering support during the Ivanovic incident and when he was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in 2011. The club’s worst fears have been realised this week as Suarez again blamed the British press for what he perceives as unfair treatment.
“It’s a good moment for a change of environment because of all I’ve been through in England, where I haven’t been judged as a player but based on other things,” he said.
“I had a hard time, very hard, in [that] the things that have been said are lies. One has limits and the family also suffers. They treated me badly and it would be understandable if one day I go to my club [and the media are waiting] but I cannot walk my baby – the paparazzi are always there.
“My family, my image – that’s what matters to me most. The coach and some colleagues know that I suffered, I was treated badly and I did not feel comfortable and they know perfectly.
“It’s nothing against Liverpool, on the contrary, I feel very comfortable at the club, but I have a daughter and I do not want [her] to hear bad things about her father. In England they talk about many things and in some ways I feel uncomfortable. I do not know when I’m going and I do not know if I’m staying. If I stay it is because it is a great club but also in turn I know that it is difficult because of the harassment I get from the press.”
He added: “It is a difficult moment for me. Because of the paparazzi I could not go in my garden, I could not go to the supermarket. My reason for leaving is not the money. It’s my family and image. I don’t feel comfortable here any more.”