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 By PA Sport

Luis Suarez praised by Barcelona chief

Luis Suarez exited the World Cup with his reputation once again in tatters, but despite the Uruguayan's behaviour on the pitch he is still linked to a move to Barcelona.

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has praised transfer target Luis Suarez for issuing a public apology for his bite on Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup, calling the Uruguay and Liverpool forward "humble".

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Suarez is believed to be Barcelona's No. 1 transfer target this summer and his FIFA ban from playing football for four months for his bite on Chiellini has not deterred the club from pursuing him.

Suarez, who initially denied biting Chiellini, apologised to the Italy defender via social media on Monday, but did not mention Liverpool in his statement, prompting speculation he is looking to leave for Barcelona.

It has been suggested that Barcelona encouraged Suarez to apologise for his actions, and Zubizarreta welcomed the move.

"Suarez has shown he is humble enough to admit an error, which is very important," he told reporters.

"He has been humble enough to apologise to those he has affected, because it happened in the middle of a festival of football. In this case it's the best thing a person can do."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be without the services of Suarez for the club's first 13 matches this coming season.
Luis Suarez could leave Liverpool for Barcelona this summer.

The former Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper also spoke about Suarez's footballing qualities.

"Everyone knows that Luis is an excellent player, everyone knows last season he played in various positions in attack, but everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player," he said.

Zubizarreta was speaking at the presentation of Barcelona's latest signing Ivan Rakitic, and the midfielder also praised Suarez.

"The fact he has had the character and the strength to go in front of everyone and say sorry says a lot about him as a person," said the Croatian international.

"Not every person has that strength to admit they have done something stupid. I rarely say that I am wrong so this says a lot about him, he has shown the character and strength he has so he should be commended for that.

"Regardless of whether the club signs him or not, his quality is unquestionable. He has shown a lot of quality with Uruguay and scored more than 30 goals [last season] with Liverpool, so he has the necessary quality to play for Barca."

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