Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was widely condemned for his behaviour at the World Cup last week.
The 27-year-old bit Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during Uruguay’s Group D clash against Italy at the Arena das Dunas in Natal on Tuesday.
The PFA Players’ Player of the Year was subsequently suspended for nine international matches and banned from all football-related activities for four months by FIFA.
Reports linking the former Ajax star with a move to Spain have always been around, and they got stronger following the unsavoury incident and the ban.
Suarez publicly apologised for his actions on Monday and released a public statement in which he ‘vowed’ not to commit the same offence again (click here to read more).
And just a day later, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta praised the striker for how he has handled himself after being punished, hailing his “character”.
However, Zubizarreta stopped short of giving any hints that the Spanish giants want to sign him, merely noting: ‘What path he now takes, whether he stays at Liverpool or goes somewhere else, we will see’.
So far Barcelona have not publicly expressed any interest in Suarez and it does not appear likely that they will do so anytime soon.
Perhaps that stems from the fact that not so long ago the four-time European champions were imposed with a 14-month transfer ban.
Back in April, the former Spanish champions were found guilty of breaking rules on signing international players under the age of 18.
FIFA punished them with a ban that would see them unable to recruit any players until the summer of 2015.
That transfer embargo was eventually lifted and Barcelona have already made additions to their squad, but they need to tread cautiously when any of their officials are questioned about potential signings or else they could be accused of ‘tapping-up’.
Reports will continue to link Suarez to Barcelona over the coming weeks, but the Catalan outit are unlikely to make any statement about this until they know that they are close to signing the Uruguayan – if they do want to sign him.