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No biting clause in Suarez contract, says Barcelona president

ESPN staff
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'Suarez must be patient'

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed Luis Suarez's contract does not contain a "no biting" clause.

The 27-year-old Uruguay striker joined Barca from Liverpool for £75 million last month but will not play for the Catalan club until October as he is the subject of a four-month ban from football.

The punishment was handed to Suarez after he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match, and could yet be reduced subject to an appeal lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Xavi quits Spain

Xavi won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 © Getty Images
  • Xavi has announced his retirement from international football - but will remain with Barcelona.
  • Xavi only made one appearance in Spain's calamitous defence of their World Cup crown in Brazil in June. He started their opening 5-1 defeat to Netherlands, but was dropped for the 2-0 defeat to Chile which sealed their exit from the competition at the group stage. That came after Barcelona had failed to retain their Spanish league title, losing out to Atletico Madrid in their final match of the season.
  • After that series of setbacks, Xavi admitted that he had considered leaving the club he had been with since he was a child, but was convinced to reject offers from clubs in MLS and the Middle East to stay in his native Catalonia.
  • "My time [for Spain] has finished," said Xavi, who was Spain's most-capped outfield player of all time with 133. "I am happy to enter a new stage at Barca. I think that at the end of the season we will achieve things.
  • "I finished the season with two disappointments and I abruptly decided to tell the club that I would be leaving at this stage. But they have convinced me that I can still be important for the club. I want to thank the patience of the club. [Coach] Luis Enrique is the key man to take this club forward. I have spoken with him three or four times this summer and I have good vibes.

As things stand, he cannot train with his new team-mates and could not be formally unveiled as he is banned from entering the Camp Nou until his suspension is over.

Bartomeu revealed the La Liga club had approached Liverpool about Suarez before the World Cup finals and stressed Barcelona were not dissuaded from completing the deal once the FIFA ban had been implemented.

But asked if the player had a "no biting" clause in his contract, Bartomeu told CNN: "No, there is no clause. If the clause did exist we wouldn't say it, but it doesn't exist."

"We didn't rethink the decision [to sign him] and we told Luis after the bite. He knows he did wrong. He apologised. That's very important for us.

"That means he knows that he did not do things properly - and of course, coming to our city, coming to our club, there's going to be a way of managing Luis Suarez, because at Liverpool he was a perfect player. Liverpool fans can tell it, supporters can tell it."

Bartomeu refused to talk hypothetically about what course of action Barcelona would take if Suarez did bite a fourth opponent. The forward has already bitten Otman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanovic and Chiellini during matches.

"This is now a question," Bartomeu added. "This is a question that a lot of people now ask us.

"We cannot talk about something that could happen or not. We don't know. What we know is that we accept this responsibility and we also wants this responsibility of bringing Luis Suarez to the family of football."

The Barcelona president feels Suarez is at the "perfect" stage in his career - following three free-scoring seasons at Anfield - to make a big impression in Catalonia.

"When we approached Suarez, it was before the World Cup," Bartomeu added. "We told him that he had the right age. He had the experience. Playing at Liverpool give him incredible performance also. And it was the right time for him to come to our club, to Barcelona.

"We knew from a lot of years ago that Luis Suarez likes our club, likes our city. And we have the advantage. His agent is Pep Guardiola's brother [Pere].

"He's from Barca in his heart, also, so everything was perfect and created the perfect atmosphere that Luis Suarez accepted.

"And we know that he had better offers than our offer but he came to Barcelona."

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