Friday, August 15
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Luis Suarez says he's ready to put his latest episode of gross misconduct behind him after his first practice with Barcelona, a day after his suspension for biting an opponent was softened.
Suarez said on Friday he was "very happy to feel like a football player again" after training with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and the rest of his new teammates at Barcelona's practice grounds outside the Catalan capital.
On Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld FIFA's decision to ban Suarez from playing for four months but lessened its restriction on other football-related activities, including practicing and playing friendlies.
Suarez called his biting of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in June an error. It was his third biting incident in his career.
"It has been a difficult, complicated situation because I was in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable, and I was paying for an error I made and had apologized for," Suarez told Barcelona's club television. "But I have to forget it, forget all of that, and think of the future and the present, which is being at this great club where I had dreamed of playing."
The CAS ruling meant Suarez will be eligible to play in the friendly at Camp Nou on Monday, when the team under new coach Luis Enrique will be presented to its fans.
The Uruguay forward won't be able to play a competitive match until Oct. 25.
"Now I have to wait to play again," Suarez said. "I have to be ready for when it is my turn."
Suarez transferred to Barcelona from Liverpool for a reported fee of 97 million euros ($130 million) after his ignominious exit from the World Cup.