Barcelona launch Suarez charm offensive

The striker has been banned for four months following the third biting incident of his career, but the Catalan giants have praised the 27-year-old for his show of remorse

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and new signing Ivan Rakitic have praised Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after the Uruguay international released a public apology for biting Giorgio Chiellini.

Suarez released the statement on Monday after being hit with a four-month ban by Fifa for the incident that took place during his side’s World Cup Group D clash with Italy last week.

The apology has led to talk that he was told to show remorse by Barca, who have been heavily been linked with a move for the 27-year-old.

And on Tuesday, as the club unveiled new signing Rakitic, the Croatia international and Zubizarreta praised the “character and humility” shown by Suarez.

“I think we know about the circumstances that happened in the World Cup and he’s had the character and humility to first recognise that he made a mistake,” said Zubizarreta.

“I think that’s very important. He had the honour to come out and apologise to the people who had been hurt by his actions; the opposition and also football in general in the middle of a world football festival.

“Now it’s time for him to begin his recovery process. I think Luis Suarez did the best thing as a person and I also think as a footballer. What path he now takes, whether he stays at Liverpool or goes somewhere else, we will see.”

Suarez has been widely lambasted for the third biting incident of his career but has received support from his native Uruguay, with the nation’s president Jose Mujica the latest to spring to his defence.

And Rakitic, who has signed a five-year-deal at Camp Nou, also spoke glowingly about the former Ajax man.

“That he has the character and the strength to step out in front of everyone and apologise says a lot about him as a person,” Rakitic said.

“Not everyone has the strength to admit when have done something stupid… he should be commended for that.”

Suarez is banned from all football-related activity until October 26.

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