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Soccer: Barcelona signs Luis Suarez from Liverpool despite ban

Published July 12, 2014 2:34 pm

Uruguay forward suspended four months for biting Italian defender.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Barcelona prides itself in upholding high moral values and being "more than a club." The Catalan giants, though, have decided to overlook a litany of misdemeanors by Luis Suarez to sign football's most high-profile outcast.

The Uruguay striker is set to seal his transfer from Liverpool next week despite being unable to play, or even train with his new teammates, until the end of October when his latest biting ban expires.

FIFA on Thursday rejected Suarez's appeal against the four-month suspension from all football activity for sinking his teeth into an Italian opponent during a World Cup match last month.

But Barcelona was undeterred in striking a transfer deal on Friday of around $130 million with Liverpool to bolster its strike force as it tries to regain the Spanish title.

Suarez will travel to Barcelona next week for a medical examination and to sign a five-year contract.

The ban will prevent Barca holding an official presentation in the Camp Nou. Friday's announcement by the club made no mention of Suarez's punishment for biting Giorgio Chiellini, while hailing the scorer as a "strong competitive spirit and a powerful figure."

For 27-year-old Suarez, the move to Spain provides an escape route and a chance to rehabilitate his image in a new environment. Despite scoring 82 goals in 133 Liverpool appearances, Suarez's prowess in front of goal during three years in England was overshadowed by bans for racial abuse and biting.

"It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain," Suarez said Friday. "Me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city. We will always be Liverpool supporters. This club did all they could to get me to stay, but playing and living in Spain, where my wife's family live, is a lifelong dream and ambition. I believe now the timing is right."