Luis Suarez finally received his official unveiling as a Barcelona player on Tuesday, and the Catalan giants instantly caused a stir by claiming the Uruguayan striker cost £65 million to prise away from Liverpool, contradicting the English club's indication that they received £75 million for his sale.
Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC reported the fee announced at Suarez's first press conference, while Bleacher Report UK noted Suarez's own admission that he could have moved elsewhere for more money:
Suarez's presentation to the press comes more than a month after he agreed to join the Catalan club. Although still working through the four-month ban implemented after he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, the Court of Arbitration for Sport recently allowed Suarez to train with his teammates.
While the independent body didn't alter FIFA's main charge, Suarez's unveiling was only allowed to go ahead when the CAS confirmed he can take part in non-competitive footballing activity, per Dominic King of the Daily Mail.
News of Suarez's transfer fee matches with the reported £65 million buyout clause Liverpool are said to have implemented during his last Anfield contract. That said, Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre indicated the buyout clause was higher and that Liverpool accepted a lower offer, per Corrigan:
The sum is far away from the £100 million Brendan Rodgers once suggested Suarez could command, and also falls £10 million short of what Suarez's original fee was widely thought to be.
Tony Barrett of the Telegraph underlines the confusion:
Either way, Barcelona have placed Suarez's Camp Nou buyout clause at a profitable margin, per Corrigan:
The prolific striker, who notched 31 goals for Liverpool last season, made his debut appearance for the club during Barca's Gamper Cup win against Mexican outfit Leon on Monday night. He didn't score, but was able to secure a useful appearance in front of a home crowd who will likely adore his skills across the next few seasons.
Suarez was allowed to appear in this fixture due to it not being a registered competitive match, meaning it doesn't violate the terms of his ban.
Andoni Zubizarreta, sporting director at Barca, confirmed Suarez's punishment hasn't affected the player's desire to do well. Corrigan tweeted his comments:
Suarez spoke passionately about the Blaugrana and suggested he will continue to work hard during his ban, per Corrigan:
Suarez is banned until Oct. 25, the weekend which so happens to place Barcelona against Real Madrid in El Clasico. The exact fixture date is yet to be confirmed—it will either be the 25th or 26th—but Suarez can only feature if it's the latter. Madrid were rumoured to be in for the player, but could become the first team Suarez faces on the competitive stage in Spain.
He acknowledged other offers were made during the summer, although failed to confirm exactly where they came from, per Corrigan:
Suarez's decision to bite Chiellini may have put potential suitors off. He indicated professional help has been sought after receiving his third career charge for such an incident, per Corrigan:
The 27-year-old striker is expected to be a major hit at Barcelona, where he can form a mouthwatering trio alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar. Although it is likely Suarez will have to play wide of the Argentinian, he flitted between central and winger roles under Rodgers at Liverpool.
Suarez's elusiveness and energy can make him a hero at Barcelona. He is the type of player who is capable of anything at any moment, whether it's sticking the ball in from 35 yards or bringing his game into disrepute via a moment of petulance. He can certainly lead Barca toward another era of success, if he remains focused.