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Suarez 'now in one of greatest clubs in world'

ESPN staff
July 15, 2014
Luis Suarez will not be able to return to football until late October after he was banned at the World Cup © Getty Images

Sepp Blatter appears to have welcomed Luis Suarez's impending move to Barcelona, saying he hopes the striker will return "now [he is] in one of the greatest clubs in the world".

The gaffe-prone FIFA president may have been referring to Liverpool, who have agreed to a £75 million deal for Saurez but, before it was claimed the striker was in Spain to complete the transfer on Tuesday, it seems more likely he was referring to Barcelona.

'Listen lady'

Sepp Blatter dismissed a reporter's question © Getty Images
  • On the whole, Blatter's final press conference of the 2014 World Cup was an upbeat one and the FIFA president brushed off the fact that he was booed at several grounds in Brazil, including at the Maracana in Sunday's final.

    "If you are in this business you have to live with that," he said. But Blatter did snap at one female reporter when it was put to him that - after ticketing scandals at this year's tournament and the controversy surrounding Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup - FIFA was corrupt.

    "Listen lady, when you speak about corruption then you have to present evidence," he said.

Suarez's four-month ban from Blatter's organisation for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup means he will not be able to make his Barcelona debut until October 25. He was sent home early in shame and FIFA's disciplinary committee subsequently banned him from 'all football-related activity' for four months.

Suarez will not even be allowed to be publicly unveiled at the Nou Camp once he finally signs a five-year contract and there was outcry in Uruguay at the ban, but Blatter said the record punishment was completely out of his hands.

"As a footballer I feel with him that such a punishment... it hurts, it hurts," Blatter said at his final press conference in Rio. "But as FIFA president I have to accept the decisions that are taken by our independent committees.

"I hope that this player will come back to football because on the pitch what he has shown so far.. I have seen his capacity technically and tactically to do what he can do - his smelling of the goal. I do hope he will be back, he is now in one of the greatest clubs in the world."

It is not the first time Blatter has offered Suarez his backing and he signed off from the World Cup with another bizarre take on the game.

Prior to the World Cup there were serious fears about security, transport and stadiums and Blatter thinks Brazil 2014 passed the test with flying colours.

However, the Swiss rejected an invitation to describe the tournament as the best in its 84-year history, but he did give Brazil a glowing report - even though it was delivered in a bizarre fashion.

"We were calculating last night using all the computers and "Facebooks" and all that, and then out of 10 we came 9.25," Blatter said. "Brazil has improved since South Africa (whom he rated as nine out of 10).

"Those who get a clear 10 at universities have deals with the professor."

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