The Uruguay international’s move to Atletico Madrid was confirmed on Friday after he had been deemed surplus to requirements by the Catalan giants.
Messi, who was forced to perform a U-turn earlier this month after Barcelona refused to accept his transfer request, publicly criticised the decision to allow his close friend and long-time team-mate to join a rival club in another apparent dig at under-fire president Josep Bartomeu.
Koeman, however, is adamant that Suarez’s fate was sealed at board level and is unhappy at having been portrayed as the villain of the piece.
‘It’s normal for him to be upset about the fact a great friend has left,’ said Koeman reacting to Messi’s social media outburst. ‘But I have no doubts about Messi. I have seen him train.
‘It seemed like I have been the bad guy in this movie and it’s not like that. It was the decision of the club. I respect Suarez a lot and wish him all the best at Atlético Madrid.’
Barcelona have also allowed the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal to leave and will now focus on strengthening their squad in what remains of the transfer window.
Memphis Depay and Lautaro Martinez are among Barcelona’s primary targets but for now Koeman will focus only on the players he has at his disposal, including youngsters Ansu Fati.
‘We’re looking for players to improve the team,’ he added. ‘But we must also understand the financial situation of the club. Regardless of possible signings, we will try to achieve everything
‘We have very good forwards, but no one can play three games in a row. We have quality to let them all play.
‘For me, yes, he (Fati) is essential. He’s a great talent. He’s young and has to learn, he’s a player for the future but it’s impressive that at his age he already has the level to play in the first team of Barcelona. It says a lot.’