Barcelona: New Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has said he was concerned about his future and “depressed” in the days following his four-month Fifa ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini.
The Uruguayan provoked uproar at the World Cup after being found guilty of biting an opponent for the third time in his career during the South American side’s clash with Italy.
He was initially banned from all football-related activities for four months, as well as nine international matches, although that did not stop Barcelona from making the 27-year-old their marquee summer signing from Liverpool.
Although the four-month ban stands, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has subsequently relaxed the “excessive” elements of the punishment, meaning Suarez can now play in friendlies for his new club and country.
Suarez, in fact, did make his first appearance following his biting controversy, for Barcelona. Neymar, back after fracturing his vertebra in the World Cup quarter finals, scored twice and so did substitute Munir El Haddadi as the Spanish giants beat Mexican side Leon 6-0 in a pre-season friendly on Monday. Lionel Messi had scored the opening goal, while the club’s youth product Sandro Ramirez completed the routing a minute from time.
Suarez came on for the final 15 minutes. The striker, though, will not be allowed to play a competitive game for his new club until after his ban ends at the end of October.
The former Ajax forward, however, is now keen to move on from the incident. “Of course I was concerned — not just about the transfer to Barcelona, but more for me as a person.
“But, as I’ve said, that’s in the past now and I’m trying to concentrate on Barcelona," he said.
Suarez, who had previously been banned for biting PSV’s Otman Bakkel and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, initially denied he had bitten Italy’s Chiellini in Uruguay’s 1-0 win, but then issued a statement later confirming his guilt.
Asked whether he should have apologised earlier, he added: “I don’t like having to go back. That’s something that happened and afterwards, I was really depressed and didn’t feel like doing anything.
But then I spoke to my psychologist and he said I had to face it and say sorry. I did that and now I would rather focus on the present.”