LONDON: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard paid an emotional tribute to Luis Suarez as the Uruguay striker’s move to Barcelona was confirmed on Friday.
Suarez will make a £75 million switch to the Nou Camp after agreeing a five-year contract with the Spanish club.
The 27-year-old’s transfer brings an end to his controversial stay at Anfield, which included suspensions for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
Suarez was in trouble again during the current World Cup, when he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, earning a nine-match international suspension and a four-month ban from all football activities.
That latest indiscretion prompted Liverpool to finally cut ties with their star striker and Gerrard admitted he was disappointed to hear the news.
England midfielder Gerrard, who rates Suarez as the best individual he has played alongside, took to Instagram to post a picture of the pair celebrating together.
“On an emotional day for me would just like to say what a pleasure it has been playing with an amazing talent such as Luis,” Gerrard wrote along the picture.
“I would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution on the pitch during his time @liverpoolfc and to wish him and his family all the best on his new adventure in Spain. #lfclegend.”
While Gerrard was clearly frustrated to see Suarez leave, his former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher believes now is the right time to cash in on the former Ajax forward.
Carragher played alongside Suarez for two and a half years before retiring last year and admits that while it is a blow to lose a striker who scored 82 goals in 133 appearances, it was the end of the road for him at Anfield after biting Chiellini.
“Luis was the best LFC player I played with bar (Steven) Gerrard. Gutted he’s gone but was inevitable he would go to Spain one day,” Carragher wrote on Twitter.
“It was the right time for everyone he wanted to go we got a good price considering incident at WC (World Cup).
“I would sign one striker as we have (Rickie) Lambert and hopefully a promising Belgian (Lille’s Divock Origi) alongside Sturridge – you need four.
“I like (Wilfried) Bony but with all attacking mdf’s (midfielders) looks like it will be one striker most of the time Sturridge main man, so price important.”