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Want-away striker Suarez not for sale, insist Liverpool

Anfield chiefs insist they expect the Uruguayan to honour his contract.

Happier times: Luis Suarez when he was signed by the club.
Happier times: Luis Suarez when he was signed by the club.
Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

LIVERPOOL RELEASED A statement this afternoon asserting that star striker Luis Suarez is “not for sale”, after the Uruguay international told media in his homeland that he wanted to leave the club.

Speaking at a press conference on last night, Suarez claimed he no longer felt “comfortable” at Liverpool due to harassment from paparazzi and the English media. However, Liverpool said he had not expressed a desire to leave the club and added that they expected him to see out the long-term contract that he signed at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

“Luis Suarez is not for sale — neither Luis or his representatives have communicated these feelings directly to Liverpool Football Club,” said the statement. “The club remains supportive of Luis and expect him to honour his contract. The club will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

Suarez finished as Liverpool’s top scorer with 30 goals this season, but his campaign ended in disgrace after he was given a 10-match ban by the Football Association for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The 26-year-old claimed the media hysteria created by the incident had forced him to reconsider his future.

“My reason for leaving is not the money. If it were the money, I would have left already,” he said during a media conference for the Uruguay national team. My main reason is my family and my image. That is my priority now.

“It is a difficult moment for me. The coach and my colleagues know that they (the English media) didn’t treat me well here. I don’t feel comfortable here any more. They know it, so I think it is understandable that I leave.”

He added: “Being persecuted by the paparazzi all the time, I couldn’t go to my garden or the supermarket. I couldn’t do anything. I know it is normal being followed by the press, but it was too much. All the silly things they said about me, all the pictures, all the taunts. That happened every day and nobody supported me.

“They talk about me being named as the best player in England, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen because of the way they treated me.”

Although he accepted that the Ivanovic incident was his fault, he said the reaction in the media “went too far”. He also admitted that, despite his desire to leave, he may be obliged to stay at Anfield if a suitable offer for him from another club does not materialise.

“I don’t have any offer yet,” he said. “I don’t know when I will leave or even if I will finally leave, or I will stay. The club knows what I think and what I want. I don’t know what will happen, but I have a contract. If I stay, I will do my best here, but I don’t think that will happen because of all the bullying from the press against me. The team is very aware of everything.”

Despite regular match-winning performances, Suarez has been a steady source of controversy ever since joining Liverpool from Ajax in 2011. He was fined and given an eight-match ban in December 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra and has also attracted frequent criticism for his fractious on-pitch behaviour.

© AFP, 2013

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