Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan striker who became headline news in the U.S. after biting an Italian player during the World Cup, is moving to a new club. He’ll play for Barcelona, after the team reached terms with Liverpool in a transfer widely reported at 75 million pounds, or more than $128 million.
We’ll remind you that free agency doesn’t exist in European sports leagues the way it does in the U.S., so the transfer fee is simply for the sale of Suarez’s contract.
Suarez, 27, will reportedly sign a five-year deal with Barcelona, where he’ll join such elite players as Neymar of Brazil and Lionel Messi of Argentina. The deal was confirmed Friday by Liverpool, where Suarez played for two years.
“We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield,” the Liverpool club said in a statement. “Everyone at Liverpool Football Club wishes Luis and his family well for the future.”
Suarez thanked Liverpool’s fans in a statement of his own.
“It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain,” he said. “Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city.”
Because of the punishment dealt out by FIFA, soccer’s governing body, Suarez is still under a four-month ban from the sport for his conduct during Uruguay’s defeat of Italy. As a result, he won’t be able to train with Barcelona until late October. Suarez has issued an apology for the incident.
The Barcelona Football Club says that Suarez “is not just a prolific scorer, he also has a strong competitive spirit and a powerful figure, and he’s coming to Barça in search of even more.”