Updates from Sunday, Aug. 17
Sport English provides a synopsis of Luis Enrique discussing Luis Suarez's return to the pitch:
Luis Enrique confirms Luis Suarez will play a part in the Joan Gamper match tomorrow.— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) August 17, 2014
Updates from Friday, Aug. 15
Barcelona posted video of Suarez practicing on Friday:
Luis Suarez is expected to take part in his first training session with Barcelona on Friday before being officially introduced as a member of the club on Monday.
Dan Roan of BBC News passed along word of the updated schedule after it was announced the striker's FIFA ban was upheld, but slightly modified to allow involvement:
Suarez to train with Barca 1st team tomorrow and will be formally unveiled on Monday at the Nou Camp— Dan Roan (@danroan) August 14, 2014
The news comes shortly after Sam Borden of The New York Times reported the Court of Arbitration for Sport sided with FIFA to prevent Suarez from participating in matches until the end of October. He will, however, be allowed to train and attend matches, which wasn't previously allowed:
The ruling also cleared Suarez to participate in unofficial matches, meaning he could return to the field as soon as Monday, when Barcelona plays a preseason friendly match against the Mexican club Leon.
His suspension was for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder while representing Uruguay in the World Cup. It marked his third career ban related to biting an opponent.
He later apologized for the incident:
My apologies to Chiellini: pic.twitter.com/CvfkkjxzlM— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) June 30, 2014
Although there was hope the ban would get reduced, Barcelona should still be pleased with the outcome. Suarez is able to start getting practice time with his teammates, which ensures he'll be able to hit the ground running right when the ban ends.
If the entire punishment would have been upheld, it would have been difficult for him to come right in after four months away from the sport to make an impact. Now he'll remain match-fit and begin the process of building chemistry with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Co.
Exactly what does he bring to the squad? WhoScored.com makes it clear:
Luis Suárez: Had a higher WhoScored rating (8.43) than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues last season (Messi 2nd - 8.42) #fcb— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 11, 2014
Which club will have the best attack in La Liga?
Barcelona obviously hope the latest, most severe ban will get Suarez to change his ways. He's one of the most talented attacking players in the world, but a couple moments of madness have overshadowed an otherwise terrific career so far.
The club is going to feature an incredibly dangerous forward group once he returns to the lineup—perhaps the best in Europe. By getting the presentation out of the way now and integrating him into the training sessions, a couple potential distractions are wiped away.
Now the focus will shift to Suarez proving he was worth the large investment.