BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is looking forward to ending his FIFA ban and says he will be fit to face Real Madrid if selected later this month.
“There’s not long to go, and my eagerness to play is always there,” Suarez said Wednesday as he picked up a Golden Boot award, which he shares with Cristiano Ronaldo. The two forwards were Europe’s top league scorers last season with 31 goals each.
The Uruguay international is suspended for four months at club level — and nine competitive internationals — after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Suarez could make his competitive Barcelona debut on Oct. 25, a day after the ban ends, when his team visits Madrid.
Asked if he felt ready to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, Suarez said, “Right now I am at 100 percent. A player always needs to be prepared, and making a debut at the Bernabeu would be wonderful, given the rivalry that exists.”
Suarez received the award from former Liverpool manager Kenny Daglish, who signed the forward for the Reds in 2011.
Daglish said he had always been impressed by Suarez, although he could only watch him on television initially.
“He’s a fantastic player, Liverpool needed somebody and when the director of football put his name forward it was an immediate ‘yes’,” Daglish said.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said Liverpool misses Suarez.
“You were unbelievable all season for us, a magical player, and Barcelona are very, very lucky to have your services moving forward,” Gerrard said.
Suarez joined Barcelona in July for €81 million ($108 million) in a bid to help the club return to winning ways after it failed to win major silverware last season.
The Uruguayan said he felt proud to be sharing the award with Ronaldo, whom he described as “an important player on a worldwide scale.”
Ronaldo will pick up his award at a ceremony in Madrid next month.
Photo by Manu Fernandez/The Associated Press