FOOTBALL

Suarez defends himself after missing Copa del Rey final

By ABS-CBN Sports on May 27, 2019 07:45 AM

FILE - Barcelona forward Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Luis Suarez has defended himself from criticism for undergoing knee surgery that prevented him from playing for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final.

The Uruguayan released a statement Sunday saying he had no option despite the timing of the final, which Barcelona lost 2-1 to Valencia on Saturday.

Suarez said he had to undergo surgery "against my will" after rupturing his meniscus against Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals.

He said the surgery earlier this month had nothing to do with a cartilage issue that he had been nursing since the beginning of the season.

Barcelona won the Spanish league but finished the season on a low after being eliminated by Liverpool in the Champions League and losing the Copa final to Valencia.

Suarez scored 25 goals in 49 matches this season, second only to Lionel Messi on the scoring charts for Barcelona.

© 2019 ABS-CBN Corporation. All Rights Reserved.