Friday, July 11, 2014

Suarez departure confirmed

Liverpool have confirmed that an agreement has been reached with Barcelona for the transfer of Luis Suarez.

Suarez, 27, is set to sign a five-year contract with the Spanish club and will travel to the Catalan city for a medical next week, while the fee is reported to be around 80 million euros.

The Uruguay international had been heavily linked with a move to Barca ever since he was banned by FIFA from all football-related activity for four months after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

Despite having a superb campaign last season -- winning both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Player of the Year awards -- the player's controversial reputation was enhanced after being banned on three separate occasions for biting an opponent.

Liverpool released an official statement on Friday announcing that the former Ajax man will be departing the club for Barca this summer.

The statement read: "Liverpool Football Club today issued the following statement in relation to the future of Luis Suarez.

"Liverpool FC confirms that Luis Suarez will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with FC Barcelona. The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities, which will then conclude the transfer.

"We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield.

"Everyone at Liverpool Football Club wishes Luis and his family well for the future."

Barcelona, who have just sold Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal, also released an official statement on Friday confirming news of the deal.

The statement read: "FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Luis Suarez.

"The Uruguayan will be travelling to Barcelona next week for a medical, to sign his five-year contract and to be officially presented to the media and fans as an FC Barcelona player."

Suarez, who joined Liverpool in 2011 from Ajax, scored 31 goals last season to inspire Liverpool to a second-placed Premier League finish and a return to Champions League football.

The striker told the club's official website that he is saddened to be leaving but is looking forward to embarking on a new chapter in his career.

"It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain. Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city," he said.

"But most of all I have fallen in love with the incredible fans. You have always supported me and we, as a family, will never forget it, we will always be Liverpool supporters.

"I hope you can all understand why I have made this decision. 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.

"I wish Brendan Rodgers and the team well for the future. The club is in great hands and I'm sure will be successful again next season.

"I am very proud I have played my part in helping to return Liverpool to the elite of the Premier League and in particular back into the Champions League.

"Thank you again for some great moments and memories. You'll Never Walk Alone."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers added: "Luis is a very special talent and I thank him for the role he has played in the team in the past two years, during my time at Liverpool. I think he would be the first to accept he has improved as a player over that period, along with the team and has benefited from being here, as we have benefited from him.

"The club have done all they can over a sustained period of time to try to keep Luis at Liverpool. It is with great reluctance and following lengthy discussions we have eventually agreed to his wishes to move to Spain for new experiences and challenges. We wish him and his young family well; we will always consider them to be friends.

"We are focused on the future, as we strive to continue with the progress we have made and build on last season's excellent Premier League campaign. I am confident we will improve the team further and will be stronger for this coming season, when we will be competing on all fronts; domestically and in the greatest club competition in the world, the Champions League.

"If there is one thing the history of this great club teaches us, it is that Liverpool FC is bigger than any individual. I hope our supporters continue to dream and believe that we are moving forward and with continued improvement and progression, together we will bring the success we all crave and deserve."

With FIFA rejecting Suarez's appeal against his ban on Thursday, the striker is currently set to miss 18 fixtures for Barcelona.

Suarez can now ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to freeze his sanctions during his appeal process.

If granted, Suarez would be allowed to train and play with Barca until a final verdict is reached, likely in several months.

The potential games he will currently miss include five friendlies for the team managed now by Luis Enrique from July 19-Aug. 18 (vs. Recreativo, Nice, Napoli, Helsinki and Mexican side Leon) and 13 official matches with three Champions League dates, one Copa del Rey fixture and nine La Liga matches. The Spanish domestic season starts on Aug. 24.

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