The talking points stemming from the showdown between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have continued to mount tonight, as Ronald Koeman and Luis Suarez take centre stage in the post-match chatter.
Atleti 2-0 Barca
The marquee fixture of the La Liga weekend played out in the Spanish capital a short time ago.
After slipping to a concerning 3-0 defeat at the hands of Benfica during the week, Barcelona made the trip to the Wanda Metropolitano, eyeing a return to winning ways up against Diego Simeone’s champions.
Upon the final whistle sounding in Madrid, though, the Blaugrana were only plunged further into despair.
The latest in a string of abject, lifeless performances ultimately saw Koeman and co. put to the sword by two goals to nil, to slip to a lowly 9th in the La Liga table.
Thomas Lemar opened the game’s scoring early on, before a familiar face condemned Barca to a 2nd defeat in the space of three days:
Luis Suarez has his goal against his former team! 🔥
With that strike against Barcelona, Suarez has now scored against all 31 LaLiga teams he’s faced in his career 🙌 pic.twitter.com/RHsBkqOCyT
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) October 2, 2021
Suarez speaks out and Koeman targets Nico
A maiden strike up against his ex-club aside, the aforementioned Suarez also caught the headlines amid the action on Saturday night for an altogether different reason.
This came in the form of his celebration, as the Uruguayan, after doing his best to remain respectful towards his one-time employers, mimicked the action of speaking on the phone en route back to the centre circle.
This was widely viewed as a dig at Ronald Koeman, with the Dutchman known to have informed Suarez that he was not part of his plans at the Camp Nou last summer via phone.
In turn, speaking to the media post-match, the Atletico hitman was inevitably drawn on his choice of celebration.
Suarez, however, assured that his actions were in no way directed towards his former manager, explaining:
Luis Suárez, on his phone gesture after the celebration: “It was for the people who have my number, who know that it remains the same, that I have not changed it. Because of Koeman? No (laughs)” #FCB 🇺🇾
— Reshad Rahman ✆ (@ReshadRahman_) October 2, 2021
Returning to the subject of Koeman, the Barcelona boss too took centre stage in the chatter following the full-time whistle at the Metropolitano.
This came as the Barcelona faithful, for the umpteenth time, made clear their stance that the Dutchman should be sent packing with immediate effect.
And Koeman’s own post-match media comments are unlikely to do much towards halting the ever-mounting flow of calls for his head.
This comes with the 58-year-old, bizarrely, having opted to throw youngster Nico Gonzalez firmly under the bus.
Nico, just 19, was handed his 2nd-straight La Liga start this evening, after impressing en route to a 3-0 victory over Levante last weekend.
His manager, however, is evidently of the opinion that the Spanish talent was completely at fault for Atletico’s opener on Saturday, and was not at all shy in announcing as much a short time ago:
‘In the (first) goal, Nico does not follow Lemar so we are missing one in the middle. Do you understand why we play with three central (midfielders)? So we don’t leave too much space. We don’t have speed in the center of the field.’
Injusto ‘palo’ de Koeman a Nico en rueda de prensa: “En el gol, Nico no sigue a Lemar y nos falta uno en el medio. ¿Entendéis por qué jugamos con tres centrales? Así dejamos demasiado espacio. No tenemos velocidad en el centro del campo” #fcblive pic.twitter.com/pN3qAtuASa
— Albert Rogé (@albert_roge) October 2, 2021
Man United transfer news: Wonderkid eyed, Arsenal star confirms Red Devils’ interest & Marcelo Brozovic linked
This article was edited by Ben Browning.