After a summer spent talking nearly non-stop in his native Uruguay, Luis Suarez hasn't made much of a peep since re-joining Liverpool on their preseason tour. The speculation has been rampant, but the once-prolific interviewee kept to himself, cutting a forlorn and sulking figure for much of his time on the pitch in training and across the three friendlies in which he's now been involved. Left behind for the Valarenga friendly due to a foot injury picked up in training, the striker has finally provided his perspective, giving The Guardian exclusive insight into his hopes for an exit.
There's a lot there, so I've borrowed a few quotes that are particularly noteworthy, but obviously hit the link and read all the fun for yourselves. Anyway, onto the stuff and stuff:
"I'm 26. I need to be playing in the Champions League. I waited one year and no one can say that I did not give everything possible with my team-mates last season to get us there. It is not as if I am asking to move to a local rival. And I would not consider moving to a club outside the Champions League. I have made my desire to move known in private various times and now it feels like the time for me to make it public. I have to put my career first. People say Liverpool deserve more from me but I have scored 50 goals in less than 100 games and now they could double the money they paid for me.
"I know I have made mistakes in my time here but I have apologised lots of times. This is not about that. This is about the club having agreed to something both verbally and in the contract which they are now not honouring. People may accuse me of showing a lack of loyalty but last season we told Liverpool there was interest from a top European club but they told me: 'We've got a new coach and we're going to push for the Champions League.'
"I spoke with Brendan Rodgers several times and he told me: 'Stay another season, and you have my word if we don't make it then I will personally make sure that you can leave.' Liverpool is a club with a reputation for doing things the right way. I just want them to abide by the promises made last season. Some of [my team-mates] say to me: 'We cannot understand that if you have it signed that you can't leave."
Right. That's a whole lot of something, and it's not particularly pretty. I don't know that I have anything really concrete to talk about right now, other than confusion and hunger. Confusion about who said what and what it all means and where Liverpool go from here with a player who so very clearly deserves Champions League football, because that's a thing that exists, and hungry because I skipped lunch today and have been refreshing the stupid Guardian sports page for the last half-hour to figure out what Suarez was going to say.
I do know that there's not much here that changes anything, other than to make a poorly-kept secret public. He wants to go, Liverpool don't want to sell, and that's about that. Whether or not they will remains to be seen--especially to Arsenal, currently the only club to have lodged a bid--but we're also now fully in tune with some thinking that's more than a little convoluted. For me nothing changes, as this isn't exactly the most sympathetic of interviews. Don't sell to Arsenal, don't sell in England, make him wait the year if need be. Sorry if that gives you the sads.
Onward, forward, sideways, whatever. Something's happening.
**Please do exercise a good bit of discretion in providing your reactions, which I'd imagine are rightfully full of a range of emotions. We've done tremendously well as a community up to this point, and I'd hope we can continue to do so while having an interesting, lively, and (hopefully) productive discussion.**