Barcelona striker Luis Suarez said the shock elimination by Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals was as painful as when he was sent home from the 2014 World Cup for biting an opponent.
Barca had looked certain to reach the final of Europe’s top competition for the first time since 2015 after winning the first leg 3-0 but were blown away 4-0 at Anfield by Suarez’s former side, who went on to win 2-0 in the final against Tottenham Hotspur.
“The days after, back in Barcelona, were the worst moments of my life and career along with the 2014 World Cup; I wanted to disappear from the world,” Uruguay striker Suarez said in an interview with Fox Sports, referring to when he bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and was subsequently banned from football for four months.
“I didn’t want to take my children to school, everyone could see I was in a very bad way. I had days I didn’t want to do anything, they were very difficult moments.”
The 4-3 aggregate defeat to Liverpool came a year after Barca also surrendered a three-goal advantage in a Champions League quarterfinal by losing 3-0 to Roma and were knocked out on away goals.
Suarez, however, said he could not have imagined history repeating itself when his side turned up at Anfield last month knowing that if they scored once Liverpool would have to score five.
“I didn’t see it because we are Barcelona and we thought we’d have two or three chances to score; we said this but we became nervous, we gave stupid passes away, we didn’t show the right attitude,” Suarez added.
“When the first goal came we didn’t know how to react, we knew we had really messed up. After the game in the dressing room no-one could say anything; there was sadness, bitterness and disappointment because we knew we’d given an awful image.”
Days after the defeat to Liverpool, Suarez opted to undergo surgery to treat a long-term knee problem in order to be fit for the Copa America, which began on Friday with hosts Brazil beating Bolivia 3-0.
Uruguay, who have won the tournament a record 15 times, play their first game against Ecuador on Sunday.