At least one all-world goal-scorer appears on the way out at Barcelona.
While the will-he-or-won’t-he saga surrounding Lionel Messi’s desire to leave the La Liga titan continues with no clear resolution in sight, Luis Suárez, Messi’s best friend at Barca, has agreed to move to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, according to plugged-in Spanish journalist Guillem Balague:
The deal is contingent on Barcelona releasing Suárez from the final two years of his contract, which should be a mere formality at this point. The club, which is desperate to cut its nearly $1 billion payroll head of next season as it looks to retool, with or without Messi, last month told the 33-year-old striker and several other veterans that they were not in new coach Ronald Koeman’s plans. Ivan Rakitić is already gone, having returned to Sevilla.
Suárez appears to be next out the door, with only the amount of his buyout to be settled. The second year of the Uruguayan’s deal with Barca automatically kicks in if Suárez appears in more than 60-percent of the club’s games next season. Per Balague, Suárez would walk away from the Camp Nou for one-year’s pay, a cool $20 million.
Suárez’s impending departure is not expected to impact Messi’s future with Barcelona, if he has one, as the two sides continue to dispute whether Suárez’s fellow 33-year-old is out-of-contract or still has one year remaining on his pact.
In addition to teaming up with Ronaldo in Turin, Suárez would also be joining forces with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Suárez infamously bit Chiellini during a match between Uruguay and Italy at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was suspended by FIFA for four months as a result. Suárez called Chiellini ahead of his move to Juve, Italian soccer bible La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Thursday.