The Barcelona sporting director, Andoni Zubizarreta has praised the "humble" Luis Suarez following his public apology for biting Giorgio Chiellini, fuelling speculation that the apology has cleared the way for an £80m move to the Catalan giants this summer, despite his four-month ban.
Suarez will not be seen on a football pitch until 26 October at the earliest after being handed the unprecedented ban by Fifa for the incident during Uruguay's 1-0 World Cup win over Italy.
The 27-year-old is Barcelona's primary target this summer, and finally made the public apology for his actions on his official Twitter feed yesterday without Liverpool's prior knowledge. Suarez had originally created a laughable defence, telling the Fifa panel that he fell onto the Italian's shoulder.
Zubizarreta has been quick to laud the striker's "honour" for his admitting he was in the wrong, and left a strong hint that the club will make an offer for Suarez this summer, saying "whether he stays at Liverpool or goes somewhere else, we will see".
"From my point of view Luis Suarez is not something to be analysed in connection with Barcelona. We always try to be as respectful as we can to other clubs, as I expect other clubs to be respectful towards us," Zubizarreta said.
"I think we know about the circumstances that happened in the World Cup and he's had the character and humility to first recognise that he made a mistake.
"I think that's very important. He had the honour to come out and apologise to the people who had been hurt by his actions; the opposition and also football in general in the middle of a world football festival.
"Now it's time for him to begin his recovery process. I think Luis Suarez did the best thing as a person and I also think as a footballer. What path he now takes, whether he stays at Liverpool or goes somewhere else, we will see.
"But at the moment he's a Liverpool player that's the reality. I have to say the statement does him a lot of honour."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies