Josep Maria Bartomeu says the striker turned down better offers to come to Camp Nou and described Lionel Messi’s value to the Camp Nou side as “limitless”
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu claims there is no clause in Luis Suarez’s contract which forbids him from biting players
Suarez was bought for €88 million shortly after Uruguay’s exit from the World Cup this summer following a three-and-a-half-year spell with Liverpool, but he is unlikely to play until late October due to a four-month ban he was given by Fifa for biting Giorgio Chiellini.
The incident was the third time that the forward has been caught biting an opponent but the club chief has faith that Suarez can put his tendency to bite players behind him at Camp Nou.
“We didn’t rethink our decision and we told Luis that after the bite. He knows that he did wrong,” Bartomeu told CNN. “He apologised. That’s very important for us. That means he knows that he did not do things properly.
“There’s going to be a way of managing Luis Suarez, because at Liverpool he was a perfect player. Liverpool fans can tell it, our supporters can tell it.
“‘What if he bit someone again?’ is a question that a lot of people ask us. We cannot talk about something that could not happen. We don’t know.
“What we know is that we accept this responsibility and he also wants this responsibility. There is no biting clause. Although, if the clause did exist we wouldn’t say it, but it doesn’t exist.”
Bartomeu also revealed Barca spoke with the player about a deal before this summer’s tournament in Brazil and says Suarez turned down more lucrative offers in favour of joining the Spanish giants.
“Barcelona made first contact with the player before the World Cup. I told him he was at the right age and experience to take the plunge,” he added. “We knew many years ago that Suarez loves our club, that he loves the city.
“As such, everything was perfect to accept Luis Suarez. We knew he had better offers, but Suarez decided to come to Barcelona.”
Bartomeu then went on to describe Lionel Messi as invaluable to Barca due to the example he sets to other young players at La Masia.
“Messi represents more than goals and trophies. He represents the spirit of a young player who arrives at La Masia and grows at our club,” he said.
“The value of Messi to the club is unlimited.”
Finally, Bartomeu claims he himself learned a significant amount from former coach Pep Guardiola and hinted that the current Bayern Munich boss could be among a number of ex-Barca players who could consider returning to the club in the coming years.
“I’ve learned a lot from Pep Guardiola. He’s a genius. People who carry Barca in their heart come back to help the club.
“After 2022, many of the players who are here now, or are at other clubs, will come back as coaches, sporting directors, presidents because, at the end of the day, we’re one big family.”