Luis Suárez Admits He Is ‘Really Happy’ With Injury Progress Ahead of La Liga Return

Luis Suarez
FC Barcelona’s Luis Suárez. | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Luis Suárez has said he is happy with his recovery from injury, with football on the verge of returning again in Spain.

The 33-year-old has been out since the start of the year, following knee surgery in January. However, he has given an update on his recovery from injury, describing the current situation for him and his Barcelona teammates.

Suárez celebrating his goal in the Derbi Barceloní against RCD Espanyol.Suárez celebrating his goal in the Derbi Barceloní against RCD Espanyol.
Suárez celebrating his goal in the Derbi Barceloní against RCD Espanyol. | Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images

Speaking to Spanish newspaper SPORT, Suárez said: “It’s been a very rare situation but we’re taking it on well with Juanjo [Brau, Barcelona fitness coach] and working from home via mobile, with the exercises he sends me and on video call. I’m really happy.

“At first I did some days with Juanjo and then bit by bit I got back into the group. Now I have been working for a few days with the group.”

Suárez has missed 11 games with his knee injury, last playing in Barcelona’s 3-2 Supercopa de España defeat to Atlético Madrid on 9 January. It came at a frustrating time for the Uruguayan, who was in incredible form with five goals and seven assists in seven league games.

Suárez down injured in his last appearance, against Atletico Madrid.Suárez down injured in his last appearance, against Atletico Madrid.
Suárez down injured in his last appearance, against Atletico Madrid. | Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

He added: “In part the coronavirus helped me gain time in my recovery, I will be able to play in games in which I wasn’t able to play, I’m very happy for that but there’s the negative side too with the situation that many people are living in today.”

La Liga was one of many leagues around the world brought to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Spain particularly hit hard by the outbreak. The country has seen over 27,000 deaths due to Covid-19, the fifth highest death toll in the world.

The Spanish government suspended La Liga and the Segunda División on 12 March, extending the suspension indefinitely two weeks later. However, the Spanish top flight will return on 11 June, with El Gran Derbi between Sevilla and Real Betis set to be the opening fixture.

La Liga Home Shirts 2019-20La Liga Home Shirts 2019-20
La Liga is ready to return on 11 June. | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Suárez added: “The ambitions are the same, win all we can, and I think that we’re in good shape to do that, I see the team doing well and it’s hopeful.”

Barcelona are currently top of La Liga with 11 games to play, sitting two points clear of Real Madrid. The Blaugrana are aiming for their 27th Spanish league title, though the title race is far from over.

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La Liga President Sets Out Timeline for Season’s End & Plans for 2020/21

Javier Tebas
La Liga President Javier Tebas | Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

La Liga president Javier Tebas has outlined his plans for both the end to the current season, as well as the 2020/21 campaign.

Like every other major football league, the Spanish top-flight was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But clubs have been preparing for a return to action, with training resuming at the start of May, and the league was also given permission from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to resume in June.

Speaking to Marca, Tebas revealed more details on his plans for restarting both La Liga and the Segunda División, as well as mentioning the date he has set for the following season to begin.

“We’ll restart, if God allows, on June 11,” the 57-year-old said. “We’re hoping that Madrid and Barcelona pass into Phase Two [of the lockdown de-escalation plan], which is where we can play.

“There are more than 130 people at LaLiga working so that everything can be done in a new way. Travel, organisation, everything. We’re prepared and the important thing will be the day we finish the league.

“We’ll start next season on September 12.”

Tebas also discussed how he planned to give viewers a choice in how they watch the remaining La Liga matches, which will all be played behind closed doors.

“Tonight, we have audiovisual tests so that the viewer can choose two images: the real one and one with a virtual crowd and crowd noise. We want to give the choice to the fans: silence or a simulation of the crowds. The tests I’ve seen are interesting and really catch your eye, but there will be two options.”

It’s already emerged that the league plan to begin with the Seville derby on 11 June, with ambitious plans to play games every day up until 19 July. This latest announcement from the La Liga president suggests that most teams will have a pre-season break of seven weeks before starting off the following campaign.

The three clubs of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid are also still competing in the unfinished Champions League, which is set to resume in August. Should it get played, the trio could have less than two weeks to prepare for the European club competition after the end of the Spanish league season.

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The 20 Most Valuable Football Clubs in Europe – Ranked

Mariano Diaz
Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Football clubs’ finances may have taken a substantial knock as a result of there being, well, no football, but nevertheless Europe still boasts some sides with unmatched riches.

No matter their current predicaments on the pitch, some clubs still reign supreme when it comes to their overall value. Leagues across the continent feature, but the English top division boasts eight representatives in the current top 20.

The fifth annual KPMG report ranks clubs based on their enterprise value, which analyses profitability, popularity, sporting potential and television rights, as well as stadium ownership up to 1 January, 2020.

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JEFF PACHOUD/Getty Images

Value: $543m/£439m/€489m

Position: +2

You won’t be surprised to hear that Lyon are not the most valuable French side in Europe.

Yet, their jump up two places from the last report comes off the back of a disappointing league campaign in which they finished seventh, which is a slight surprise.

Jamie Vardy, James MaddisonJamie Vardy, James Maddison
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Value: $558m/£452m/€502m

Position: -3

The 2015/16 Premier League champions soared into the upper echelons of Europe’s most valuable clubs, aided by their resulting Champions League campaign.

They’ve slipped down slightly this time around, but with elite European football likely to follow next season, we could see them rise up the table once again.

West Ham United v SouthamptonWest Ham United v Southampton
Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

Value: $561m/£454m/€505m

Position: -1

Still hovering around at the right end of the value table, there is every possibility that we could see West Ham fall significantly in just a few months’ time.

With their Premier League status hanging by a thread this term, a drop into the second tier could have big implications on their financial clout

Dries Mertens, Lorenzo InsigneDries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Value: $590m/£477m/€531m

Position: +1

The first Serie A side on this list are Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli, who climb one place into 17th.

100% owned by Aurelio De Laurentiis (via Filmauro), the club are also one of the associate members of the European Club Association.

FLB-EUR-C3-GENT-ROMAFLB-EUR-C3-GENT-ROMA
JASPER JACOBS/Getty Images

Value: $602m/£487m/€542m

Position: +5

Backed by NEEP Roma Holding S.p.A, the capital city club haven’t claimed any silverware since 2008 but shoot up the table nevertheless.

It’s clearly the Chris Smalling effect.

Rabbi Matondo, Weston McKennieRabbi Matondo, Weston McKennie
Pool/Getty Images

Value: $814m/£659m/€733m

Position: -1

There is a big difference value between 16th and 15th, with German side Schalke 04 boasting vast riches despite their lack of on-field success in recent seasons.

The last time they tasted trophy success was in 2011, when under the guidance and Ralf Rangnick they lifted the DFB-Pokal.

FBL-EUR-C3-LUDOGORETS-INTER-MILANFBL-EUR-C3-LUDOGORETS-INTER-MILAN
NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/Getty Images

Value: $983m/£796m/€886m

Position: +1

One of Europe’s biggest sides come in at 14th, something you’d expect them to do when they can afford to splash £74m on Romelu Lukaku.

Their wealth hasn’t granted them much success on the pitch as of late, but they could very well be title winners come the end of the season – with a large amount of luck on their side.

Marcos LlorenteMarcos Llorente
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Value: $1.197bn/£970m/€1.078bn

Position: +0

Now moving close to one billion pounds worth of value are Spain’s other capital club, who are regularly floating around the top end of La Liga, as well as featuring in the Champions League.

Boasting a shiny new stadium that is packed out each week has seen their value boost, while the club itself clearly has money in the bank with their £113m spending spree on Joao Felix.

Jadon Sancho, Erling HaalandJadon Sancho, Erling Haaland
Pool/Getty Images

Value: $1.281bn/£1.037bn/€1.154bn

Position: +0

With one of the finest stadia in world football and a raucous fan following, the value of Dortmund is naturally high.

‘Sporting potential’ comes into the overall rankings, so all they need to do is sort out their inferiority complex and they’ll fly up on this list.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Juan CuadradoCristiano Ronaldo, Juan Cuadrado
Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Value: $1.735bn/£1.405bn/€1.563bn/

Position: -1

Italy’s most successful club also happens to be its most valuable, boasting star names and huge popularity.

They’re in the driving seat to add further gloss to their reputation, sitting atop the Serie A table ahead of the league’s eventual resumption.

Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick AubameyangAlexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Value: $1.852bn/£1.500bn/€1.669bn

Position: -2

Their on-field struggles may be painstakingly evident, but Arsenal still find themselves among the ten most valuable clubs in Europe.

If it was based on sporting potential alone, however, you’d back them to be outside the top 100.

FBL-FRA-CUP-LYON-PSGFBL-FRA-CUP-LYON-PSG
PHILIPPE DESMAZES/Getty Images

Value: $1.911bn/£1.548bn/€1.722bn

Position: +2

France’s big boys appear ninth in the table backed by Qatar Sports Investments who, if you didn’t already know, have quite a lot of money.

Challenging (winning) in every competition on France every season, as well as competing in the Champions League ensures they remain a major force in football. And, not to mention, they’ve got two of the best players in the world.

Jan VertonghenJan Vertonghen
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Value: $2.067bn/£1.674m/€1.862m

Position: +1

The pride of north London is always at stake, but while this may not be on quite the same level as beating one another in a football match, Spurs fans will enjoy seeing them leapfrog Arsenal as the more valuable club.

Talk about a so-called ‘power shift’ has been going on for a while, as Spurs have been climbing up the table while Arsenal have been slipping down it. Even it terms of value, it seems that is the case too.

Olivier GiroudOlivier Giroud
Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Value: $2.218bn/£1.797bn/€1.998bn

Position: -1

Backed by a wealthy Russian owner, Chelsea will be somewhat disappointed to see themselves drop down a place in the rankings. Or maybe they won’t since they’re, y’know, still rich.

Frank Lampard is building an interesting young side over in west London this season, different to the likes we’ve come familiar with over the years, and with wealth on his side, success could be forthcoming.

Not in the Champions League this season, though, it must be said.

Sergio AgueroSergio Aguero
Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Value: $2.606bn/£2.110bn/€2.340bn

Position: -1

All those wonderful footballers and Premier League titles and they can’t even make it into the top five? Poor form.

But truth is City did make a loss last year. Granted it was a tiny one, but a loss is a loss at the end of the day. Their financial situation, coupled with another English side’s booming situation, has seen them drop down one place and just behind….

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-ATLETICOFBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-ATLETICO
JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

Value: $2.658bn/£2.153bn/€2.386bn

Position: +2

Champions League winners last year and inevitable Premier League champions this season has done plenty for Liverpool’s value -19.3%’s worth, to be precise.

One of the finest sides in Europe and backed by an immense fanbase, their iconic Anfield home is packed out each and every week, with all the criteria used to determine value earning them a top five spot in the rankings.

Joshua KimmichJoshua Kimmich
Pool/Getty Images

Value: $2.878bn/£2.331bn/€2.585bn

Position: -1

The German giants drop down one place in the rankings but still boast incredible wealth and value. Constantly challenging for titles and regularly featuring in the latter stages of the Champions League certainly helps their case.

It looks almost done and dusted they’ll claim at least one trophy this season, with their place atop the Bundesliga table looking unlikely to be surpassed following their recent victory over Dortmund.

FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad  - La LigaFC Barcelona v Real Sociedad  - La Liga
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Value: $3.193bn/£2.586bn/€2.867bn

Position: +1

Sneaking their way into the top three this year is a club with immense global recognition. Sure, most of the clubs in this list can say that, but they’re not Barcelona.

One half of Spanish football’s top two sides, their popularity, stadium, wealth and sporting potential meant they were always going to be among the most valuable sides in Europe, something that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

Scott McTominayScott McTominay
Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Value: $3.342bn/£2.707bn/€3.000bn

Position: +0

If only their value was reflected in team’s performances. Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as the club’s manager, United have failed to match their previous success – but that hasn’t prevented them from being one of the biggest clubs in world football. Perhaps even the biggest.

Keeping their place as England’s powerhouse club, as well as second spot in the rankings, they recorded a profit last year and with the Premier League resuming and Champions League football in their sights, they could finally be on course for a return to success.

Mariano Diaz, Sergio RamosMariano Diaz, Sergio Ramos
Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Value: $3.478bn/£2.817bn/€3.124bn

Position: +0

Nobody was going to knock Madrid off their perch this year either, as they remain the most valuable club on the continent. They’ve boasted a slight increase on their value within the last 12 months.

They have all the aspects one could desire from a top football club, with world class players, an incredible stadium, an iconic kit, rich history and so much more going in their favour. In footballing terms they could still lift La Liga this term, and they’re not yet out of the Champions League. The least you’d expect for a club of their stature.

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La Liga Poised to Restart With Seville Derby – Ahead of Five Weeks of Non-Stop Football

La Liga Home Shirts 2019-20
La Liga Home Shirts 2019-20 | Visionhaus/Getty Images

La Liga is set to resume on 11 June with the Seville derby, with games set to be played every day until 19 July.

Spanish football was brought to a grinding halt back in March due to the COVID-19 crisis with plans for its return ramping up recently.

Villarreal CF v Real Valladolid CF - La LigaVillarreal CF v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga
Villarreal CF v Real Valladolid CF – La Liga | Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Players went back to training earlier this month, while broadcasting deals which will see the league broadcast live in England for the first time ever have also been agreed.

Following a meeting between all 42 First and Second Division Spanish clubs, a restart date of June 11 for both leagues has been confirmed (via Cadenaser). Spectators will be treated to an unprecedented feast of football over a five week period, with games being played every day until 19 July when the curtain comes down on the season.

After the Segunda División campaign has been completed, the promotion play off – contested between teams that finish between third and sixth position – will be played.

Prior to football’s enforced break, La Liga was finely poised. Leaders Barcelona – who dispensed of manager Ernesto Valverde back in January – were two points clear of Clasico rivals Real Madrid in second, while the race for Champions League qualification was also hotting up.

Third placed Sevilla and seventh placed Valencia were separated by just five points with surprise package Real Sociedad and Getafe both ahead of sixth placed Atletico Madrid. At the other end of the table, Espanyol were cut adrift in last position – a full six points from safety – with Leganes, Mallorca, Celta Vigo and Eibar also in relegation trouble.

While there will be no spectators to enjoy all this drama, television viewers will not be watching games in silence with plans to pump in crowd noise from previous fixtures being announced on Tuesday.

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Barcelona’s Demands for Philippe Coutinho Revealed Amid Premier League Interest

Philippe Coutinho
Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen – German DFB Pokal | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona are said to be demanding an eye-watering €100m for Philippe Coutinho this summer, which explains why nobody actually wants to sign him.

Bayern Munich have declined to make Coutinho’s loan move permanent this summer, so he is expected to be on the move once again as Barcelona are frantically looking to raise funds.

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho
Barcelona v Valencia – Spanish Copa del Rey Final | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

However, it doesn’t look like that money will be coming in by selling Coutinho as ESPN state that Barcelona are still demanding ‘more than half’ of the £142m which they spent to lure the Brazilian to Camp Nou in 2018.

Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness) specify that the fee is closer to €100m (around £90m) but, in what could be the least surprising revelation of all time, nobody actually wants to pay that. Mental. It’s like teams don’t enjoy overpaying for players who have been nothing but average for the last three years.

Barcelona would be happy to send Coutinho out on loan again, but there are still some obstacles to overcome. La Blaugrana want an up-front fee of around £10m and they want the buying club to pay all of Coutinho’s £250,000-a-week wages. Yikes.

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, who have both been offered the chance to sign Coutinho this summer, have baulked at the finances involved and will not be pursuing a deal. What a surprise.

Having said that, Mundo Deportivo believe that Arsenal’s proposal for Coutinho has started ‘taking shape’ in the last few days, but there is no chance the Gunners will offer up the kind of money Barcelona are looking for.

Leicester City are said to be ready to make a ‘strong investment’ to sign Coutinho this summer, but there doesn’t really appear to be any substance to those claims. Sure, former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is in charge at the King Power Stadium, but that’s about it.

Brendan RodgersBrendan Rodgers
Leicester City v Birmingham City – FA Cup Fifth Round | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Finally, as with any report about Coutinho, Chelsea get a shout-out of their own. The Blues are said to be in the best position to accept Barcelona’s demands for the 27-year-old, but the problem is that they don’t actually want him.

Finding a team willing to meet their asking price would have been tough even if the world hadn’t been immobilised because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Barcelona’s chances of selling for that kind of money now seem to be slim at best.

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