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Football: Barca repeat Suarez praise amid transfer talk

Barcelona heaped more praise on Luis Suarez on Wednesday for apologising for biting a rival World Cup player but refused to comment on rumours of a possible signing.

BARCELONA: Barcelona heaped more praise on Luis Suarez on Wednesday for apologising for biting a rival World Cup player but refused to comment on rumours of a possible signing.

Despite the furore over the incident, Barcelona were reportedly still ready to sign the player from Liverpool on condition he apologise for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Suarez, the top scorer in England's Premier League last season with 31 goals, did so in a Twitter message on Monday, admitting the bite for the first time and promising he would not do it again.

"Luis Suarez is a Liverpool player so I can't speak about Suarez," Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told a news conference when asked about the player.

"I can talk about what he did. He made a mistake during a match and has apologised. That honours him because it is hard to admit mistakes," he added.

"But once you do it, is the first step to change. He is a player who has to recover and keep playing."

His comments mirrored those made by Barcelona's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, who on Tuesday praised Suarez's "humility" for making the apology.

"Suarez has had the character and the humility to acknowledge his mistake. That is important," Zubizarreta told a news conference.

Suarez bit Chiellini on June 24 in Uruguay's 1-0 win over Italy which took the South Americans into the World Cup last 16 before they were knocked out by Colombia 2-0 on Sunday.

He was sent home from the World Cup and handed a four-month ban from all football activities, as well as being suspended from nine international matches and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (US$112,000).

It was the third time in his career he had been guilty of biting an opponent.

Barca's new coach Luis Enrique is overhauling the squad after a disappointing season in which they narrowly failed to defend their Spanish league title.

Bartomeu vowed Barcelona would make "exciting" signings before the start of the next season.

"We are working on names that are for me personally exciting and which have the agreement of Luis Enrique," he said.

"The club has enough economic solidity to make any investment," he added.

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