Liverpool and Barcelona have reached a transfer agreement for superstar forward Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan sensation was one of the best players in Europe last season but found himself in the news for the wrong reasons once again during the World Cup.
The Reds released a statement on their official site to confirm Suarez would be leaving after three-and-a-half seasons at Anfield. The club also provided goodbye remarks from the star, who thanked everybody involved, including the supporters:
It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain. Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city.
But most of all I have fallen in love with the incredible fans. You have always supported me and we, as a family, will never forget it, we will always be Liverpool supporters.
Suarez's exit comes one day after FIFA rejected an appeal from both the player and his national team regarding an extended ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. Sky Sports provided the details of the punishment:
FIFA has rejected an appeal from Luis Suarez against his four-month worldwide ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez and the Uruguayan Football Association challenged the ban—and a nine-match international suspension—handed out after the striker bit Chiellini during his country's World Cup game against Italy.
Clearly, that wasn't enough for Barcelona to shy away from the transfer. Unsurprisingly, the announcement led to plenty of chatter on social media. Let's check out some of the reactions to what could very well end up being the summer's biggest move.
Barcelona officially welcomed Suarez to the club:
Duncan Wright of Sport Online doesn't think Liverpool fans should take Suarez's comments to heart given his track record:
Suarez says he fell in love with #LFC fans. Showed that love with two biting incidents, race ban and trying to leave last year. Hollow words— Duncan Wright (@dwright75) July 11, 2014
Squawka Football highlights the Barcelona strike force opposing back lines will be forced to contend with next season:
Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi & Neymar scored 68 goals, created 172 chances and recorded 31 assists between them in the league last season. WOW.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 11, 2014
Bleacher Report's Dan Levy joked about the medical Suarez will have to complete before the transfer becomes official:
ESPN's Alex Shaw notes that the Daily Mail isn't pulling any punches regarding the decision:
No-holds-barred stuff from the Mail as they react: pic.twitter.com/jSs3Uhgxut— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) July 11, 2014
Former Liverpool player and manager Roy Evans believes the forward goes down as a club great despite his antics:
Sad to see Suarez go. A genius on the football pitch a privilege to watch and for me will always be a Liverpool great. I Wish him well— ROY EVANS (@Roy_Evo) July 11, 2014
Transfer News Live passed along some further information about the deal:
Dietmar Hamann, who played for several top clubs, including Liverpool, believes the Reds are better off without Suarez:
Glad the Suarez saga is over. Not surprised how it ended. The club will be better off without him.— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) July 11, 2014
Liverpool Data noted the 27-year-old star's final numbers with the club:
Luis Suarez scored 82 goals and made 53 assists in 133 games for Liverpool - 135 goal contributions in 133 games!! pic.twitter.com/JsSVzujiVT— Liverpool Data (@LiverpoolData) July 11, 2014
Tom Collomosse of the London Evening Standard makes an interesting point about the Premier League and La Liga:
Suarez move shows yet again that, no matter how much PL bang on about being the world's best league, the very best still go to Spain.— Tom Collomosse (@TomCStandard) July 11, 2014
Moving forward, columnist Paul Tomkins thinks Liverpool must focus on upgrading in several areas with the added transfer funds rather than search for a direct Suarez replacement on the market, which would be nearly impossible:
Impossible to replace Suarez with a player as good. But if wise (and lucky?), possible to improve 3 or 4 positions in XI with the money— Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins) July 11, 2014
How would you categorize the Suarez move for Liverpool?
Brendan Rodgers has done an outstanding job at Liverpool. He's proven capable of using limited resources to build a competitive side. Finding a way to overcome the loss of Suarez is going to serve as his most difficult challenge to date.
As for Barcelona, the club had a mundane season by its standards last season. The Blaugrana are clearly trying to make sure that's not the case again during the upcoming campaign. Once Neymar gets healthy and Suarez's ban ends, it's hard to imagine a more dynamic attack in Europe.
Suarez's long and winding journey at Liverpool is now over. It will be interesting to see if he's a changed man once he arrives at Camp Nou.