Liverpool's Luis Suarez should join Barcelona or Real Madrid, says his father-in-law
Liverpool’s efforts to hold on to Luis Suárez were put under further pressure on Monday night after his father-in-law claimed the time was right for the striker to join Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Gustavo Balbi said England’s World Cup conqueror had “nothing left to prove” in the UK, adding substance to reports that the 27-year-old plans to quit Anfield for Spain this summer.
English football’s player of the season signed a new 4½-year contract only last December after failing to force a move to Arsenal almost 12 months ago.
But amid talk of an £82million bid by Barcelona, Balbi, who lives in the Catalan capital, indicated his son-in-law was ready to renege on that commitment.
“It is the right time for a change,” Balbi told La Sexta. “He has nothing left to prove in England. The best solution would be if he were to go to Spain. We would like to have them close to us in Spain but it does not matter which team he signs for. He would do very well over here.
“This would be the best move for him as he would not go to another team in England out of respect for Liverpool and their supporters.”
Despite being rehabilitated in the eyes of many English football fans last season following his long racism and biting bans, Suárez suggested he was still not entirely happy in his adopted country after scoring twice for Uruguay last week to knock England out of the World Cup.
He returned to the theme on Monday ahead of Uruguay'sfinal Group D game against Italy.
Admitting it had been “sensational” to be voted player of the year by both players and the media, he nevertheless said: “Some media started making fun of me. You should know what happened and why they did that to me.”
Liverpool appear ready to fight to keep hold of Suárez again and reject a cash-plus-player deal involving Alexis Sanchez – a forward in which they nevertheless have an interest.
Uruguay, meanwhile, will not want their talisman distracted by transfer talk ahead of Tuesday’s must-win match.
Suárez appeared fully focused on leading his country into the last-16 on Monday when he declared: “The objective is only to play for Uruguay, to fulfil our ambitions, to go beyond this stage and see how far we get.”
Italy, who require only a draw to progress alongside Group D sensations Costa Rica, are having to deal with transfer talk about their own maverick striker, Mario Balotelli.
The four-time champions are ready to gamble on partnering him with Ciro Immobile this afternoon in an attempt to avoid a second straight early exit following their 2010 humiliation.
Captain Gianluigi Buffon, fit again after missing Italy’s opening game against England with an ankle injury, said: “Of course, the coach will make the call but we’re open to everything. But you also have to remember Mario and Immobile have never played together. That could be risky, or it could be to our benefit.”