BARCELONA: All eyes were on Luis Suarez as he trained with his Barcelona teammates for the first time on Friday after getting the green light from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In a short statement on their website, the club said: “Suarez was the centre of attention this Friday morning at the first team training session at the Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper.
“After the ruling on Thursday by the CAS on the sanction imposed by Fifa on the Uruguayan player, Suarez is now able to train with his new team-mates.”
Suarez took an active part in the session with the main group under the watchful eye of coach Luis Enrique.
On Thursday, the CAS upheld Suarez’s four-month ban from playing in competitive games as well as his nine-match international suspension, but it did allow him to train and play in unofficial matches.
And that means he could make his debut against Mexican club Leon in the Gamper Trophy, the traditional curtain-raiser to the season at the Camp Nou.
There will be a temptation to give the 27-year-old a run-out against Leon as it will be Barcelona’s final friendly before their first league game of the new season against Elche next weekend.
Suarez has reportedly been training on his own in an unknown location in Catalonia since completing his £75 million, $127 million move to the Camp Nou from Liverpool last month.
He will be available to play in competitive matches from Saturday, October 25, meaning his official debut could come in the first Clasico of the campaign against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, which has been scheduled for that weekend.
Suarez will be presented to the Barça fans on Monday before the Joan Gamper Trophy match and on Tuesday he will be presented to the media at a press conference.
In Friday’s training session, as well as Suarez, Brazilian Neymar completed the full session, even though he has not received the medical all clear after suffering a fractured vertebrae in the World Cup quarter-final against Colombia.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2014.
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