The Blaugrana president says the club made a move for the player before the World Cup and described Lionel Messi’s value to the Camp Nou side as “limitless”
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu claims Luis Suarez turned down more lucrative offers in favour of joining the Spanish giants.
Suarez joined the Blaugrana for close to €88 million shortly after Uruguay’s exit from the World Cup this summer following a three-and-a-half-year spell with Liverpool.
Bartomeu has revealed Barca first made contact with the player prior to the tournament in Brazil and says the Premier League player of the year in 2013-14 had received better financial offers from other clubs.
“Barcelona made first contact with the player before the World Cup. I told him he was at the right age and experience to take the plunge,” he told CNN.
“We knew many years ago that Suarez loves our club, that he loves the city. As such, everything was perfect to accept Luis Suarez.
“We knew he had better offers, but Suarez decided to come to Barcelona.”
Suarez incurred a four-month ban from football for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup but Bartomeu insists the incident did not make them doubt whether to push through with the deal.
“No, it did not make us reconsider and we told him that after the incident. He knows it was wrong, he accepted it was wrong and apologised, and that was very important for us,” he said.
Bartomeu then went on to describe Lionel Messi as invaluable to Barca due to the example he sets to other young players at La Masia.
“Messi represents more than goals and trophies. He represents the spirit of a young player who arrives at La Masia and grows at our club,” he said.
“The value of Messi to the club is limitless.”
Finally, Bartomeu claims he himself learned a significant amount from former coach Pep Guardiola and hinted that the current Bayern Munich boss could be among a number of ex-Barca players who could consider returning to the club in the coming years.
“I’ve learned a lot from Pep Guardiola. He’s a genius. People who carry Barca in their heart come back to help the club.
“After 2022, many of the players who are here now, or are at other clubs, will come back as coaches, sporting directors, presidents because, at the end of the day, we’re one big family.”