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Suarez joins Atletico from Barcelona; Di Maria banned

September 24, 2020 10:07 IST
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Luis Suarez joins Atletico Madrid from Barcelona

Luis Suarez

IMAGE: Luis Suarez had a year left on his contract with the club. Photograph: FC Barcelona/Twitter

Atletico Madrid have signed striker Luis Suarez from Barcelona, the Spanish clubs said on Wednesday, bringing to an end his six-year stint at the Camp Nou.

Barca's statement said Atletico will pay the Catalans six million euros ($7 million) in bonus payments to sign the 33-year-old.

The Uruguay striker, who is Barca's third all-time top scorer with 198 goals in all competitions, had a year left on his contract with the club.

 

"Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of Luis Suarez, subject to a medical and the formal agreement of a new contract for the Uruguayan striker with our club," Atletico said in their statement.

Suarez will give a farewell news conference on Thursday.

Barca added: "Barcelona would like to publicly express its gratitude to the player for his commitment and wishes him all the success in the future."

Suarez will replace Alvaro Morata in Atletico's front line after the Spanish striker was loaned to Juventus for a season with an option to buy.

Suarez, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014, leaves the club having won the Champions League, four La Liga titles and four Copa del Rey trophies.

The Uruguayan was deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Ronald Koeman, who is keen on changing the old guard and rebuilding the squad, with 33-year-old midfielder Arturo Vidal also completing a permanent move to Inter Milan.

Despite a turbulent season with Barca dogged by injuries, Suarez still hit 16 goals in 22 La Liga starts to finish as the fourth top scorer in Spain's top flight. Atletico's top scorer was Morata with 12.

Suarez becomes the third striker in recent years to switch between the two La Liga clubs after David Villa was sold to Atletico in 2013 while Antoine Griezmann moved to Barca last year.

While Villa became an instant hit, scoring 13 goals in Atletico's 2013-14 league title-winning campaign, Griezmann has yet to hit the same heights at Barca following his 120 million euros ($140.86 million) move.

Atletico struggled for much of last season without Griezmann and will hope the capture of Suarez will significantly improve their chances of challenging Real Madrid and Barca for the title.

Suarez had also been linked with Serie A side Juventus and took an Italian exam in an attempt to get an EU passport to be eligible to play as a European player as the Turin side's non-EU player slots were already filled.

However, Italian prosecutors said on Tuesday they had evidence the language exam taken by Suarez to obtain Italian citizenship was rigged.

'King Kazu' sets J-League record at age 53

King Kazu

IMAGE: Yokohama FC's Japanese striker Kazuyoshi Miura who is recognised as the world's oldest goalscorer and oldest player currently playing in a professional league, gestures during J. League YBC Levain Cup soccer match against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Photograph: Kyodo/via REUTERS

Thirty four years after making his professional debut, Japanese forward Kazuyoshi Miura became the oldest player to appear in a J-League first division match when he led Yokohama FC on Wednesday at the age of 53.

The player known as "King Kazu", who started his career in Brazil in 1986 because Japan did not have a professional league for him to play in, was given the captain's armband, but he could not inspire his team who lost 3-2 to league leaders Kawasaki Frontale.

Miura did not get on the scoresheet and was substituted near the hour mark before receiving a standing ovation from the 4,700 fans at the Todoroki Stadium.

"When I stepped onto the pitch, I felt a deep desire to fulfil my duty and harness everyone's feelings in that armband," Miura was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

The match was Miura's first in the Japanese top flight since 2007. Yokohama played in the second division for 12 years before winning promotion last season.

Miura, who scored 55 goals in 89 appearances for Japan and played his last international in 2000, broke the record set by forward Masashi Nakayama, who was 45 years old when he played for Consadole Sapporo in 2012.

"King Kazu" was not the only veteran on the pitch on Wednesday with former Japan and Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, 42, also named in Yokohama's starting line-up.

PSG's Di Maria banned four games for part in brawl

Paris St Germain winger Angel di Maria has been given a four-game suspension for his behaviour during the ill-tempered 1-0 defeat by Olympique de Marseille this month, the French league said on Wednesday.

Di Maria escaped punishment for the brawl in the last minute of the Ligue 1 match which led to PSG's Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa being sent off. Marseille's Dario Benedetto and Jordan Amavi were also dismissed.

Di Maria was the subject of an investigation for his role in the melee, however, after Marseille coach Andre Villas Boas said the Argentinian had spat at one of his players.

The league statement did not say what Di Maria had been punished for. His suspension comes into effect from next Tuesday, meaning he is eligible for Sunday's trip to Stade de Reims but will miss games against Angers, Nimes, Dijon and Nantes.

An incident between Neymar and Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez is also under investigation and the league will make a decision after its next disciplinary meeting on Sept. 30.

Neymar was given a two-game ban for slapping Alvaro on the head, later accusing the Spaniard of using racist language against him, which the defender has denied.

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