BARCELONA: Barcelona striker Luis Suarez said he has received professional help after receiving a four-month ban for biting an opponent for the third time in his career when he clashed with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
Suarez made his debut for the Catalans in a 6-0 friendly win over Mexican side Club Leon on Monday, but will not be able to play a competitive game for Barca until late October after his appeal against the ban was thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week.
“The suspension is what it is and I have to accept it, it is a personal matter but I have worked with the adequate professionals,” the Uruguayan said at his first press conference as a Barca player yesterday.
“I have tried to forget this game and this situation as well. It is a difficult moment for me and I would say to all the fans to not worry because I am not doing that anymore.”
Suarez was believed to have been a long-term target for Barca’s eternal rivals Real Madrid.
However, Barca’s sporting vice-president Jordi Mestre said the player’s desire to come to Catalonia had allowed the club to negotiate a fee of 81m euros (£65m , $109m) with Liverpool, £10m less than the player’s £75m release clause.
“There were options from other teams, but when the option of Barca became clear I didn’t have any doubts because it was a dream for me,” added Suarez.
“I still can’t believe it. It is something I have dreamed about but I never imagined such a beautiful dream would come true.”
Suarez could even make his competitive debut against Madrid should their first clash of the season be scheduled for Saturday, October 25 or the following day and he is determined to ensure he is as fit as possible when that game comes around in case coach Luis Enrique calls on him to start.
“It’s not the same but I had a similar situation last year at Liverpool, I started to play on September 20. It is a long time but if you keep focused with your teammates in training it helps.”
Barcelona already have a wealth of talent available in attacking areas with four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Brazilian star Neymar, meaning Suarez is likely to be forced into a role on the right side of the attack.
However, he insisted that won’t phase him as he dovetailed with Daniel Sturridge last year to form a deadly partnership that nearly delivered Liverpool’s first Premier League title in 24 years.
“I am prepared to play any position in attack. This last year I played on the left and on the right because Sturridge played as the number nine. I don’t have any problem playing in any position and adapting myself to what the coach demands.
“The quality that Leo and Ney have is amazing, they are players you admire. Yesterday I was watching them in the first half and they make you want to stop and applaud.”