Tough Times for Luis Suarez, but Expect Him to Come Back Firing for Barcelona

Stan CollymoreFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2014

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport were right to uphold Luis Suarez's four-month ban. You can't behave like that on a football field, and it wouldn't have been right for Suarez to be banned internationally but allowed to play domestically for Barcelona.

The good news for Suarez is he's now allowed to train with Barca, but he will still find the next couple of months very tough to deal with.

As Rio Ferdinand and Eric Cantona can testify, being on the periphery of things when you're fit and able is horrible. It won't be so hard during pre-season, but when the Spanish league season starts and the competitive games are coming thick and fast, he'll feel isolated and extremely frustrated not to be involved.

The weekdays will run as usual, but the weekends will bring no reward and no way of satisfying his desperate need to play. They'll feel empty, and I worry that will have a negative effect on his mental state.

What's vital is Suarez works to a set schedule. He needs everything planned out and the complete support of everybody around him to keep him level-headed and focused on his return in late October.

His family and agent will be of huge importance to Suarez as he begins a new life in Barcelona. He'll also need the instant approval of his team-mates and to be made to feel part of Luis Enrique's squad at every opportunity.

Barcelona, having spent a fortune on signing Suarez, are unlikely to leave anything to chance. They'll have everything in place logistically and will surely try and get him involved in "competitive" games behind closed doors as often as possible.

In addition, they'll be monitoring his fitness every step of the way. Suarez is a naturally fit player, so Barcelona are lucky there, but there's nothing to compare with the match fitness that comes from game time on the biggest stage.

Pre-season games don't even come close to the experience; practice matches are even further removed. That first league match of the season is when your adrenaline is pumping and every fibre of your being is craving the action. You can't mimic that.

But as Suarez showed at the World Cup, coming back from injury to knock England out, he's a player who can perform on limited preparation. That can only be a good sign for Barcelona.

NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 24:  Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Giorgio Chiellini of Italy react after a clash during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias H
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Were his return to coincide with a Clasico meeting against Real Madrid, I wouldn't be surprised to see Suarez thrown straight back into the starting line-up—especially if Barca have dropped some points and lie behind Madrid in the table.

If Barca are going well, however, I would be inclined to start Suarez on the bench and ease him back into the action.

The big question now is, can he go a season without controversy? It's hard to imagine things will run without incident—trouble seems to follow Suarez everywhere he goes. It wouldn't surprise me at all if there was a blow-up over something or other.

I still believe Suarez has an underlying problem that needs dealing with. He should come out and talk about his problems to help him feel more comfortable in himself and as a player on the field. But it doesn't look as though that will happen now.


Former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore is in his second season as a Bleacher Report columnist and video analyst.