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Suarez's initial absence no tragedy for Barcelona

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 16, 2014 at 9:49 am •  Published: July 16, 2014

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is not overly concerned about the absence of new signing Luis Suarez for the early part of the upcoming season as the Uruguayan serves his biting ban from the World Cup.

"It's bad that he's not with us from the start, but it's not a tragedy," Luis Enrique said on Wednesday. "Somebody else will play in his place."

Suarez is sidelined until October as he serves a four-month ban for biting an Italian opponent in Brazil last month. Suarez joined Barcelona in a $130 million transfer from Liverpool last week.

"That Luis Suarez will not have been able to train for four months does not alter our plans because we always knew it," said Luis Enrique, who didn't expect Suarez's arrival to disrupt an attacking system that also features Lionel Messi and Neymar. "The more top players you have the better."

Barcelona said its priority now was to buy a central defender and that is has made an offer to Valencia for French back Jeremy Mathieu.

Luis Enrique said he has spoken with midfielder Xavi Hernandez and that the club was just waiting for the Spain international's decision on whether to continue with the club or not.

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