The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) today issued its verdict regarding Luis Suarez’s nine international game, four month ban from football. That verdict? Luis Suarez is still very much a biter.
CAS decided to uphold the original ruling and Luis Suarez still cannot play internationally for Uruguay for up to two years, nor can he play for his current club Barcelona until after October 25. (Keep that date in mind. It’s pretty important.)
He is slated to miss eight games in La Liga and possibly three games of Champions League football. The La Liga games Luis Suarez will miss are Elche at the Camp Nou, Villarreal away, Bilbao at home, Levante away, Malaga at the La Rosaleda, Granada back at the Camp Nou, Rayo Vallecano at the Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas, and Eibar back in Barcelona.
So far, we don’t know who Barcelona will play in the Champions League, but a group of Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and possibly Monaco is a plausible scenario. August 29th can’t get here soon enough.
Remember that October 25th date I mentioned earlier? Well, on that weekend, Barcelona will play Real Madrid. The date of the game has yet to be decided because Liga officials aren’t very smart and don’t know how to release a proper fixture list. If the game is played on Sunday, Luis plays. If not, Luis sulks.
Real Madrid has already asked La Liga to play the game on the 25th as they have a Copa del Rey game on the 29th.
The silver lining for Luis Suarez is that he can train with the team and play in friendlies, so Barcelona will most likely unveil him Monday at the Joan Gamper trophy match versus Mexican squad Club Leon. That game will probably the only action Luis sees until late October.
Barcelona, in its first season under new manager (and possible parkour aficionado) Luis Enrique, will then go about reshaping the squad without one of its most important elements. That can be a recipe for disaster.
However, if Luis Suarez can come in and fit seamlessly into what Barcelona are trying to do (and he did a pretty good job of being flexible last season for Brendan Rodgers), then the sky is the limit.
I’m of the opinion that this team has no middle ground: it either sweeps the competition or implodes. Luis Enrique has the team on the right track so far, shedding (or at least trying to shed) dead weight and adding some new blood into the midfield, with some old, oft injured blood in defense for good measure.
But while all of that is well and good, without Suarez, it’s all for naught. For this team to do what every passionate, obsessive Barcelona fan wants them to do (Win all the trophies by winning all the games while scoring all the goals and conceding none), they need Luis Suarez.
They need Luis Suarez the talismanic forward, the 9 that Leo Messi has longed to play behind, the player that took the Premier League by storm. What they don’t need is Luis Suarez the villain.
Sadly, and in my mind very wrongly, failure will make Luis Suarez what some people already think he is.