Friday Kickoff: Barcelona confirm Suarez transfer; Inzaghi backs Balotelli; and more

Luis Suarez of Uruguay

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Luis Suarez is no longer a Liverpool player.

After his best season since moving to the English Premier League, the Merseyside club have agreed to offload the Uruguayan forward to FC Barcelona for a reported €81 million. Suarez is expected to arrive in Barcelona next week for a medical and to be officially presented as a Barcelona player. Suarez has signed a five-year contract with the Catalan club.

“The club have done all they can over a sustained period of time to try to keep Luis at Liverpool,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said in a club statement. “It is with great reluctance and following lengthy discussions we have eventually agreed to his wishes to move to Spain for new experiences and challenges. We wish him and his young family well; we will always consider them to be friends.”

Suarez, who was banned from all soccer-related activity by FIFA for a four-month period, won’t be able to even train with Barcelona until October 25. FIFA had also leveled a 14-month transfer ban last April on Barcelona for reportedly illegally registering Under-18 players with the club, but the ban was temporarily lifted on appeal.

The 27-year-old forward led the EPL last season with 31 goals and picked up a number of individual awards including the football writers Player of the Year award.

Here are some more notes to start your Friday:

NEW MILAN COACH BACKS BALOTELLI

Mario Balotelli has been a lightning rod for criticism recently, but AC Milan manager Filippo Inzaghi believes that Balotelli can channel that criticism positively.

Balotelli struggled in the second half of AC Milan’s season last spring and only scored once as Italy crashed out in the group stage for the second consecutive World Cup. However, the new Milan coach Inzaghi is backing the team’s star forward ahead of the next season.

“I spoke with Balotelli after Italy’s exit and I told him that the criticism should serve only to strengthen him,” Inzaghi said on Thursday at a festive preseason training kickoff event at the club’s new downtown headquarters. “I didn’t have everything served to me on a silver platter during my career; unfair criticism helped me.”

Balotelli scored 18 times in his first full season with AC Milan, after joining the club in Jan. 2013.

QUICK KICKS

FIFA have fined Argentina’s FA CHF 300,000 for failing to bring a player to four pre-match press conferences. (REPORT)

Arsenal are close to acquiring young Spanish right back Javi Manquillo on loan from Atletico Madrid. (REPORT)

Levante’s vice president claimed that Keylor Navas is set to complete a €10 million move to Bayern Munich. (REPORT)

Former Atletico Madrid and Wolfsburg midfielder Diego has signed a contract with Fenerbahce. (REPORT)

Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande have announced the signing of Alberto Gilardino. (REPORT)

Alessandro Matri has completed a transfer move from AC Milan to Genoa. (REPORT)

Charlton FC have signed Israeli international defender Tal Ben Haim on a free transfer. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? How do you expect Suarez to play alongside Neymar and Messi? Do you think that Liverpool are getting fair value for him? Do you believe the criticism could help Balotelli?

Share your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Barcelona confirm Suarez transfer; Inzaghi backs Balotelli; and more

  1. slowleftarm says:

    Second straight year that the player of the season in England has moved to Spain (Gareth Bale). Premier League falling further behind La Liga and the Bundesliga.

    • booknerd says:

      I am not sure if I agree. Yeah, what you said about players of the year leaving is true, but those two leagues are not nearly as strong top to bottom, in my opinion. LA liga has two fantastic teams every year, and then every year there is a surprise on a team doing so well. Last year it was Athletic, previously it was Valencia. It is the same with the Bundealiga, but even more skewed to one team. The EPL has several good teams, and any team can beat any top team. To me, it is the most competitive and exciting league.

      Honestly, I enjoy Ligue 1 the most. A lot of young, fast, technical talent plays in the French league. Yes, it is not lop sided with PSG and Monaco (really not that good), but still great to watch.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Will everyone just hold on a second the Barca team dentist hasn’t signed off on his medical yet.

    • indeed says:

      Right, just ignore the fact that Fabregas, Sanchez, and Costa have all moved from La Liga to the EPL.

      More than makes up for losing Suarez.

    • Landy Cakes says:

      La Liga is garbage. Scottish football in the sun.

  2. cformusic says:

    i guess Aurier ain’t moving to Arsenal this year..

    • Drewbles says:

      If Wenger has a choice between two players and one of them is French, he’s going to pick the French one, I guarantee it. Bienvenue a Arsenal Debuchy!

  3. Joamiq says:

    Navas must be getting a pretty huge payday to be willing to serve as a backup after the WC he just had…

    • angels says:

      He currently earns 250,000 euros. gotta imagine at munich he wont be making less than .5 million euros

      • Increase says:

        I’m sure its more than that. Bayern has deep pockets not Real deep but deep.(Real doesn’t really have the money either. It just doesn’t stop them.)

  4. William the Terror says:

    After the transfer, how long does Suarez have to be on the books at Barca before he qualifies for their dental plan?

    • Strider257 says:

      You’re killing me! But, will he also raise their medical premiums (for the other players)?

  5. lore says:

    Luis Suarez is the biggest Uruguyan footballer ever.

    their top scorer. might even be their top WC scorer. not sure but u know he will be come next WC

    1 heck of a striker. Only the likes of Ibra, Messi, Ronaldo are more prominent

    Next top strikers like RVP, Lewandowski, Falcao come close

    sadly Cavani flopped this summer

  6. lore says:

    So Navas best keeper of the World Cup is going to Munich to be a back-up? No way. He could start for literally every PL club outside the PL and get like 2-3 million dollars a year. he currently earna like 350-400K dollars at Levante

  7. Spectra says:

    I can’t imagine Pepe and Suarez going against each other in “El Classico” . WIth all that emotion one or both may end up dead

  8. RK says:

    Sure, that’s what Barca needed. Who needs defense?

  9. Vic says:

    Barca definitely adding some teeth to their front line attack with the Luis Suarez signing. Spending 81 million Euros is a big deal, hope it doesn’t come back to bite them.

  10. Fredo says:

    Don’t like it, Barca. Nope.