BARCELONA (AFP) – All eyes were on Luis Suarez as he trained with his Barcelona team-mates for the first time on Friday after getting the green light from the Court of Arbitration for Sport
In a short statement on their website, the club said: “Luis Suarez was the centre of attention this Friday morning at the first team training session at the Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper.
“After the ruling on Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the sanction imposed by FIFA on the Uruguayan player, Luis Suarez is now able to train with his new team-mates.”
Suarez took an active part in the session with the main group under the watchful eye of coach Luis Enrique.
On Thursday, the CAS upheld Suarez’s four-month ban from playing in competitive games as well as his nine-match international suspension, but it did allow him to train and play in unofficial matches.
And that means he could make his debut against Mexican club Leon in the Gamper Trophy, the traditional curtain-raiser to the season at the Camp Nou.
There will be a temptation to give the 27-year-old a run-out against Leon as it will be Barcelona’s final friendly before their first league game of the new season against Elche next weekend.
Suarez has reportedly been training on his own in an unknown location in Catalonia since completing his 95 million euros (£75 million, $127 million) move to the Camp Nou from Liverpool last month.
He will be available to play in competitive matches from Saturday, October 25, meaning his official debut could come in the first Clasico of the campaign against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, which has been scheduled for that weekend.
Suarez was banned for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup but despite the player being allowed to resume training, Uruguayan football officials are still “frustrated” with the handling of the controversy.
Uruguayan Football Federation lawyer Daniel Cravo told Sky Sports News: “We are really frustrated — we understand that the behaviour of Luis Suarez in that match deserved to be punished but we don’t think that it was the worst behaviour of a player in a World Cup.
“There have been worse situations and the players were not sanctioned at this level but of course we respect CAS’ decision.
“We have to wait for the reasons and we are sorry for not having achieved what our client wanted from us. I don’t want to criticise the decision because I don’t know the grounds, that’s something we are interested in checking.”
Suarez has never explained his propensity to bite opponents.
He earned a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013, after being sidelined for seven matches with Dutch club Ajax in 2010 for the same offence against PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal.
Suarez will be presented to the Barça fans on Monday before the Joan Gamper Trophy match and on Tuesday he will be presented to the media at a press conference.
In Friday’s training session, as well as Suarez, Brazilian Neymar completed the full session, even though he has not received the medical all clear after suffering a fractured vertebrae in the World Cup quarter-final against Colombia.