Barcelona – Barcelona's sporting director praised Luis Suarez's “humility” in apologising for biting a rival in a World Cup match, following reports the Spanish club want to sign the Uruguay striker.
Despite the furore over the incident that saw Suarez sent home from the World Cup, Spanish media had reported Barcelona were still ready to buy him from Liverpool on condition he apologise for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez did so in a Twitter message on Monday, admitting the bite for the first time and promising he would not do it again.
“Suarez has had the character and the humility to acknowledge his mistake. That is important,” Barca's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta told a news conference on Tuesday.
“That's the starting point for a person's recovery process.”
Suarez bit Chiellini on June 24 in Uruguay's 1-0 win over Italy which took the South Americans into the World Cup last 16 before they were knocked out by Colombia on Sunday.
Suarez was handed a four-month ban from all football activities, suspended from nine international matches and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000).
It was the third time in his career he had been guilty of biting an opponent.
Barca's new coach Luis Enrique is overhauling the squad after a disappointing season in which they narrowly failed to defend their Spanish league title.
Zubizarreta was speaking at a news conference on Tuesday to present Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic, whom the Catalan club has bought from Sevilla on a five-year contract.
Suarez was the top scorer in England's Premier League last season with 31 goals.
Zubizarreta declined to comment on the prospect of the club signing him, however.
“Luis Suarez is an excellent player and everyone knows it. But everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player.” – Sapa-AFP