Suarez set to make his Barcelona bow against Club Leon
Following his training and football involvement activities ban being overturned, Barcelona’s new £75m record signing Luis Suarez is set to make his first appearance, as the Spaniards take on Mexican outfit Club Leon, who are 14/1 outsiders to beat the Catalan side in a friendly.
There will be no better way to answer his critics than to get on the score-sheet, with Barcelona odds-on at 1/7 for victory, though the more serious surgery is required from a public relations perspective to repair his reputation. Everyone knows what Suarez can do on the football field, within the constraints of the law. A “good luck” message to former manager Brendan Rodgers, who was quick to publicise it after Liverpool beat Southampton, isn’t a bad way to start.
Barcelona, who are known for their charity work, are a club for who Suarez, should he really want to, can become an ambassador for. Although clear rehabilitation is definitely required, which will be a long road, there are opportunities for him to become an example to others.
The move to La Liga should work out in his favour. Away from the heavily publicised Premier League, there will be less of a focus on him, especially with the likes of teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar, who could return from injury to play against Leon. Factor in Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and James Rodriguez at rivals Real Madrid as well, other world class stars will vie for a share of the spotlight.
Perhaps a change in lifestyle may help Suarez. Compared to the fast-paced, media focused England, Spain is relaxed and laid back, with its warmer climate, sunshine and altogether different culture. Environment can have a significant affect on everyone, and determines mood, and how they deal with stress. Following Suarez’s recent offence for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, reports from psychologists emerged suggesting the player responds that way in highly pressurised situations.
It will be interesting to see whether the move to Spain stimulates a change from Suarez, though there is definite potential for him to evolve into a key figurehead at Barcelona, both on and off the pitch.