On the eve of the first El Clasico of the season, questions directed to FC Barcelona were if Luis Suarez would play and if so, how many minutes? The Uruguayan world-class player is available to play after completing his lengthy ban this week, handed to him by FIFA after his biting incident in the World Cup. Barça fans have been waiting anxiously to see how Suarez will fit in with the powerful duo of Messi and Neymar on the front line. Luis Enriquez confirmed Friday, he will make his debut but teased, “He will have some minutes for sure, how many, I cannot say.”
Suarez was presented with the Golden Shoe Award last week for his impressive 31 goals for Liverpool last season, tying with Cristiano Ronaldo. He has had several come backs during his career prior to big games. Whether it was returning after previous bans, or after his knee injury prior to the World Cup, he has proven he can perform time and time again. Tomorrow will be his first El Clasico.
After playing in a Barça B team game against Indonesia last month, reports in the press criticized that Suarez had gained some pounds, a report denied by Enriquez. As reported on The Guardian, Enriquez defended Suarez, “You could see that he is not fat, and he never has been. He is on form, in shape, and ready to play.” Meanwhile, both Neymar and Messi supported their teammate. Messi added, “He will bring a lot of strength to the team. He is a forward who scores a lot of goals.” Neymar looks forward to what they can do together, “It’s impressive seeing how he works every day to improve the team, how he helps us. We’ll do a lot of great things.”
Besides training with his club, Suarez played some friendlies with his Uruguayan National team this week and is confident he is ready to play. “If you had asked me that a week ago, before the two games with Uruguay, I may have had doubts. But I have played in those two games and I am probably in better conditions than I thought I was,” he said leading into Saturday’s match. “So I think I can say now, yes, 100 per cent, I am ready to play.”
Easily the biggest game of the season in any league, El Clasico this season is special. Both clubs are hot heading into the first dual. Besides having many of the top stars of football between them, Barça is leading the league, while Real Madrid has Cristiano Ronaldo who is currently leading La Liga with the most goals -15 in 7 games thus far. Messi on the other hand is on the verge of breaking the all-time league scoring record in La Liga, sitting at 250, just 1 shy.
BEin Sports reported Friday evening; a total of 700 press passes had been issued in Madrid for the upcoming match. The North American Sports Network will be airing the match in the USA. While there are many things to anticipate Saturday, most intriguing will be how Suarez will perform with his new squad and if his controversial behavior is truly behind him. Only hours remain to find out.