Quick links


La Liga

Stan Collymore on Barcelona striker Luis Suarez's training reprieve

Former Liverpool and Ajax superstar is now allowed to train, but not compete, for the rest of his ban.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport today upheld the four month ban handed to Luis Suarez for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup tournament last month, but has issued a reprieve as he is allowed to train.

Suarez recently transferred from Liverpool to Barcelona in a high-profile, big-money move, yet has not enjoyed the same sort of unveiling at Camp Nou afforded to fellow summer recruit Ivan Rakitic, or last summer's superstar Neymar.

That will now change as he will engage in public presentation on Monday, having previously been banned from all football-related activity.

According to former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore who embarked on his own Spanish transfer when switched to Real Oviedo in 2001, the ability to train and bond with his team-mates during the week but not reap the benefits at the weekend by participating in game-day could take a mental toll.

Collymore, who supports the charity Depression Alliance, wrote in his Bleacher Report column: "Suarez is allowed to train with Barca, but he will still find the next couple of months very tough to deal with.

"As Rio Ferdinand and Eric Cantona can testify, being on the periphery of things when you're fit and able is horrible. It won't be so hard during pre-season, but when the Spanish league season starts and the competitive games are coming thick and fast, he'll feel isolated and extremely frustrated not to be involved.

"The weekdays will run as usual, but the weekends will bring no reward and no way of satisfying his desperate need to play. They'll feel empty, and I worry that will have a negative effect on his mental state," he said.

Offering advice on how to combat this, Collymore said: "Suarez must work to a set schedule. He needs everything planned out and the complete support of everybody around him to keep him level-headed and focused on his return in late October."

His return could coincide with a Clasico match against the club's nemesis Real Madrid: "I wouldn't be surprised to see Suarez thrown straight back into the starting line-up—especially if Barca have dropped some points and lie behind Madrid in the table.

"If Barca are going well, however, I would be inclined to start Suarez on the bench and ease him back into the action."

But, regardless of how he progresses, Collymore has one concluding question: "Can he go a season without controversy? I still believe Suarez has an underlying problem that needs dealing with. He should come out and talk about his problems to help him feel more comfortable in himself and as a player on the field.

"But it doesn't look as though that will happen now."

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch