By Tim Stannard
Suarez declares that he will still be BFF with Leo Messi despite being on opposite side of the LaLiga title race
Barcelona's masterplan of making this season's LaLiga title race the most exciting and dramatic on the planet by giving away a top player to a rival came to completion on Thursday.
A day after the announcement of Luis Suarez moving to the Rojiblancos in a deal worth a trifling $7 million, one of the most successful strikers in the club's history - and Lionel Messi's BFF - was handed the tricky task of saying goodbye to the club that rejected him in front of the media without attacking it like it was an Italian defender's shoulder.
A dignified exit in extraordinary circumstances was the mood of Thursday's session with Suarez sat alongside Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu at a tearful event as the Uruguayan recalled how he knew that his time was up with the club.
"The coach was not going to count on me. I'm leaving with the sensation that it's over here now," declared Suarez looking back at what he describes as a "crazy month" at Barcelona. "I'm leaving proud and satisfied after six years."
#9raciasLuis: ❝It's always special when you face your former team ... It will be special for them as well.❞— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 24, 2020
—@LuisSuarez9 on having to play against Barça with Atlético Madrid pic.twitter.com/SJtksnOZwW
As well as looking back, Suarez was also looking ahead to a new challenge at a team that is now a direct rival to Barcelona. "I felt ready and capable of going to a team that can compete on the same level," said Suarez on his choice of Atletico.
That does of course mean that he will also be up against Messi twice a season and also in the race to be LaLiga's top scorer. "I've come up against Messi with the national team and it's not going to change our relationship. We won't mix it up."
Luis Suarez now begins life with Diego Simeone where he will start by learning the art of defending from the halfway line. The Uruguayan might even see some minutes in Atletico's season opener against Granada that is live at 10AM ET on Sunday on beIN SPORTS, ahead of Barcelona's tricky test at Villarreal.
Coverage begins for that game at 2PM ET with a show that will try and cram 19 hours of discussion and content into a mere 50 minutes.
Sevilla tries to stop the Bayern Munich machine
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will both be in action for the first time in LaLiga this weekend, as will Sevilla. However, the Europa League champions have a wee warm-up match on Thursday before getting into gear against Cadiz on Sunday.
Sevilla has travelled to Hungary to take on Bayern Munich, a team which eased into the new Bundesliga campaign last Friday with an 8-0 victory over Schalke. "We have won the right to play this game," declared Sevilla boss, Julen Lopetegui.
Sevilla's chances of a run for the LaLiga title this season will go under the microscope of the Sports Burst live show. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page and XTRA channel at 12PM ET to have your say, too.
Chelsea signs Rennes keeper as Di Maria accepts blame for ban
Chelsea has given a fairly strong indication that Kepa is now longer a keeper as a keeper for the Stamford Bridge outfit. A deal has been struck with Ligue 1 breakout stars, Rennes, for the signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. The 28-year-old Senegal international joins the EPL side on a five-year deal.
However, life carries on for Rennes and Eduardo Camavinga in a top of the table Ligue 1 clash against Saint Etienne that is live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday at 11AM ET.
Another team that will have an eye on the Ligue 1 prize, Marseille, is beefing up its attacking credentials by bringing in Luis Henrique from Botafogo. The 18-year-old arrived in France on Thursday for a medical ahead of a $17million move.
Staying in France, and Angel Di Maria has responded to a four-match ban given to him by the French League ostensibly for spitting at Alvaro Gonzalez during the recent Le Classique match against Marseille.
The Argentine misses Sunday's match against Reims and has admitted fault in the incident saying that "I have to take responsibility. I made a mistake." Di Maria explained his behavior by declaring that "what I did, I did as a reaction because of words that I heard that I did not like coming from one side."
The counterclaims of racist abuse against both Gonzalez and Neymar during the match will reportedly be heard from the September 30, a case that could see suspensions for both players.