Luis Suarez Comments on Copa Del Rey Ban, Denies Insulting Espanyol Players

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2016

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 17:  Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's sixth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club de Bilbao  at Camp Nou on January 17, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Luis Suarez insists he did nothing wrong to earn a two-match Copa del Rey ban following a heated last-16 first leg against Espanyol on Jan. 6.

The Uruguayan was sanctioned after he was cited by the referee for causing a post-match altercation in the tunnel, per Spanish football writer Rik Sharma:

He subsequently missed the return leg—which Barca won 2-0 to advance 6-1 on aggregate—and will be absent for the quarter-final first leg against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday unless the Blaugrana's appeal is successful.

But Suarez is adamant he has nothing to apologise for, per "About the sanction, I don't know if I will play but my conscience is clear because I did not say anything."

Per Sport, Barcelona are insistent Suarez did not say what he was accused of saying by the referee.

Their first appeal against his ban was rejected by the Spanish Football Federation, but Barcelona have now taken the case to the Disciplinary Committee for Sports in an attempt to have Suarez available for the Athletic clash, per the club's website.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona (L) argues with RCD Espanyol players during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David
David Ramos/Getty Images

Suarez netted a hat-trick against the Bilbao outfit in La Liga on Sunday as Barca ran out 6-0 winners.

The Catalans can likely beat Athletic again in Wednesday's first leg at San Mames Stadium even without Suarez, but they clearly feel the ban is unwarranted.

The 28-year-old has become a key star for Barca since joining the club from Liverpool in 2014, and the Camp Nou team will miss his immense goalscoring should he be unable to play in the first leg.

No other player in Europe's top divisions has scored more goals in all competitions this season, per Opta:

And, despite his glaring omission from the recently announced FIFA/FIFPro World XI, there is little doubt he is one of the world's best strikers, per Bleacher Report's Dean Jones and Sam Tighe:

He is no stranger to controversy, having picked up several lengthy bans during his career, including long suspensions for biting on more than one occasion.

However, Suarez has avoided the negative spotlight for much of his Barca career and only made headlines for his on-pitch performances.

He clearly is not happy with being slapped with a two-match ban on this occasion for something he claims not to have done, but his chances of winning his appeal seem slim.