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Liverpool agree deal to sell Suarez to Barcelona

ESPN staff
July 11, 2014 « Sanchez: Arsenal can win everything | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Suarez is on his way to Barcelona

Luis Suarez has revealed he will fulfill a "lifelong dream and ambition" after Liverpool confirmed they have agreed to sell the striker to Barcelona.

Suarez, who joined Liverpool from Ajax in 2011, will complete a £75 million move to the Nou Camp upon completion of formalities such as a medical. Barcelona have said Suarez will be travelling to Spain next week to sign a five-year deal.

"It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain," Suarez said.

"Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city.

"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.

Rodgers: We did all we could

Brendan Rodgers said Luis Suarez has been sold "with great reluctance" © Getty Images
  • Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says the club did all they could to keep Luis Suarez at the club but were unable to convince him not to join Barcelona.
  • Click here for full story

"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."

The sale of Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal for £30m on Thursday funded the move for Suarez. FIFA's decision to reject both Suarez and Uruguay's appeals against his four-month ban from all football activity also facilitated the transfer.

Suarez scored 31 goals last season to inspire Liverpool to a second-placed Premier League finish and a return to Champions League football.

He was also named both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Player of the Year. However, Liverpool felt his future at the club was untenable, with the player having now been banned on three separate occasions for biting an opponent.

Suarez was banned for nine Uruguay matches and four months from all football as well as being fined £65,000 for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the 1-0 win over Italy in the group stages of the World Cup.

The incident was missed by match officials, and FIFA's disciplinary committee studied video evidence before charging the Uruguay forward.

With FIFA rejecting Suarez's appeal against his ban on Thursday, he 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 decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee is not yet final and binding, i.e. an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport is still possible (cf. art. 67 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes) by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions," a FIFA spokesperson told ESPN.

The potential games he will currently miss include five friendlies for the team managed now by Luis Enrique from July 19-August 18 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 August 24.

On the sale of Suarez, Liverpool said in a statement: "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 have posted a tweet saying: "From today we are followers of Luis Suarez. Welcome to Barcelona."

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