Andoni Zubizarreta praises "humble" Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match against England on June 19, 2014
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Barcelona's director Andoni Zubizarreta hails Luis Suarez for apologising over his recent biting misdemeanor, amid reports linking the striker with the Spanish club.

Barcelona's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has provided the biggest indication yet that his club are keen to sign Luis Suarez this summer.

Liverpool's Uruguayan international has dominated the headlines over the last week after he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup group encounter - an offence that has since earned him a four-month suspension.

It is the third time that Suarez has committed that transgression on the pitch and the second since he arrived on Merseyside from Ajax in January 2011, which has resulted in reports that the Reds have lost patience with last season's leading goalscorer.

Immediate speculation linked Barca with a move for the 27-year-old, but it was believed that they would only push forward with the transfer if Suarez issued a public apology for his actions in Natal. Having said nothing in the days that followed the incident, Suarez did say sorry in a statement last night, which is thought to have paved the way for him to sign on at the Camp Nou.

When asked for his reaction to Suarez's apology at a press conference this afternoon, Zubizarreta said: "Suarez has shown he is humble enough to admit an error, which is very important. He has been humble enough to apologise to those he has affected, because it happened in the middle of a festival of football. In this case it's the best thing a person can do.

"Everyone knows that Luis is an excellent player, everyone knows last season he played in various positions in attack, but everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player."

Meanwhile, Barca's new signing, Croatia international Ivan Rakitic, who was being unveiled at the conference, added: "The fact he has had the character and the strength to go in front of everyone and say sorry says a lot about him as a person. Not every person has that strength to admit they have done something stupid. I rarely say that I am wrong so this says a lot about him, he has shown the character and strength he has so he should be commended for that.

"Regardless of whether the club signs him or not, his quality is unquestionable. He has shown a lot of quality with Uruguay and scored more than 30 goals [last season] with Liverpool, so he has the necessary quality to play for Barca."

It has been reported that Liverpool had no part in the drafting of Suarez's concession statement.

A close-up of Luis Suarez holding his gnashers on June 24, 2014.
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