Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, who was banned by FIFA for four months and nine international matches after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup group-stage match, will leave English Premier League team Liverpool for Spanish powerhouse Barcelona after the two sides reached a transfer agreement, Liverpool announced Friday morning.
The Guardian puts the length of Suarez’s deal at five years and the transfer fee in the region of $128.5 million. He still must complete a physical.
“We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield. Everyone at Liverpool Football Club wishes Luis and his family well for the future,” Liverpool announced on its Web site.
“FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Luis Suárez,” Barcelona said in a statement. “The Uruguayan will be travelling to Barcelona next week for a medical, to sign his five-year contract and to be officially presented to the media and fans as an FC Barcelona player.”
The move had been rumored for weeks, even after Suarez disgraced himself by biting Chiellini, drawing the longest suspension for on-field conduct in World Cup history. It was the third suspension of his career for biting an opponent. Suarez will not be able to take the field — either in practices or games — with Barcelona until November because of the FIFA suspension, which was upheld on Thursday.
Suarez was the Premier League’s top goal-scorer and was named the Professional Footballers’ Association’s player of the year last season after scoring 31 goals for Liverpool, which finished second behind Manchester City and qualified for its first Champions League appearance since 2008-08.
Suarez will join an already stacked Barcelona attack that features Lionel Messi — considered by many to be the world’s best player — and Neymar, the Brazilian standout who suffered a back injury that ended his World Cup against Colombia in the quarterfinals. Barcelona finished second in both La Liga and Copa del Rey play last season and fell to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals last season.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 11, 2014