MADRID, Spain, Sep 23 – Luis Suarez left his last Barcelona training session in tears on Wednesday as he prepares for a move to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
Spanish television channel Gol showed the Uruguayan striker wiping away tears with his sleeve as he drove off after saying his last goodbyes.
Suarez had become close friends with above all Lionel Messi since his arrival at the Catalan club in 2014.
Catalan daily Sport confirmed: “Luis Suarez left the Sant Joan Despi training centre in tears. The Uruguayan player greeted his teammates for his last training before signing his exit papers.”
“At the end of the session the Uruguayan said goodbye to those who were his teammates over the past six years,” Spanish sports daily Marca reported.
At the start of the week Marca endorsed an earlier report on RAC1 radio announcing that the 33-year-old was “no longer a Barcelona player”.
It said that he decided to forgo a percentage of this season’s salary in return for being allowed to leave.
All the signs are that he is poised to join Diego Simeone’s Atletico, who like Barca make their La Liga seasonal bow this weekend.
“It’s done, Luis Suarez is going to Atletico,” Marca announced on its front page on Wednesday.
Suarez’s days at Barca were numbered ever since new coach Ronald Koeman included him in a list of players he said he wouldn’t be counting on for the new season.
Others not in Koeman’s plans were Arturo Vidal (since moved to Inter Milan), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla) and Samuel Umtiti.
Since joining Barca from Liverpool in 2014 Suarez has won a host of trophies including the 2015 Champions League and four Liga titles.
He leaves as the club’s third highest scorer with 198 goals behind Cesar Rodriguez (232) and Messi (634).
The Atletico move follows his failed attempt to join Juventus.
Juve coach Andrea Pirlo disclosed last week a deal was unlikely because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport.
On Tuesday prosecutors in Perugia said they suspected Suarez, with the help of teachers, of cheating to pass his Italian language test.