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Oscar Tabarez claims Luis Suarez’s move to Barcelona arranged last November


It seems as though Luis Suarez’s expected switch to Barcelona isn’t quite as spur of the moment as we thought, that’s if you believe these comments from Uruguayan national team coach Oscar Tabarez.

The Liverpool forward, who is expected to seal a $137 million move to Barca in the coming days, is currently banned for four months for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. It was Suarez’s third biting incident of his career and after being supported by Liverpool through plenty of other trials and tribulations on and off the field, it seems as though the Anfield club have finally got tired of Suarez’s antics and decided to sell up.

However there is some confusion surrounding this story, as the source has since backtracked and denied that Tabarez made these remarks.

[ RELATED: Suarez to Barca for $137 million ]

Tabarez was quoted on Uruguayan radio station Sport 890 as saying that the 27-year old’s move to Barcelona was arranged back in November.

Wait… what!?

“Luis had told me about the Barcelona interest in November last year a few days before the Jordan match,” Tabarez said. “At that time the talks between Liverpool and Barcelona were very good and an agreement was arranged back then.”

So, the man who scored 31 goals for Liverpool in the Premier League and was in tears when they came up just short of winning the title late in the season, he already knew he would be a Barcelona player mid-way through the season?

If this is the case, the Liverpool directors and management staff have a lot to answer for after many applauded their hard line approach towards Suarez’s wishes to leave Anfield last season, which were then rebuffed. Last summer Suarez fought tooth and nail (no pun intended) to bag a move away from Liverpool but American owner John W. Henry held firm and Suarez remained at the Merseyside outfit despite throwing a tantrum. He then went on to win just about every Player of the Year award going, was the top scorer in the PL and many congratulated Liverpool for not only making Suarez stay, but for him signing a new long-term deal during the season.

Now, given Tabarez’s comments, all that seems like a smokescreen to detract people from knowing that a move to Barcelona was already lined up. However with question marks surrounding the validity of the translation and if Tabarez ever actually said this, we will wait and see what Liverpool have to say.

Given his latest actions and the ban he received, it did seem as though Liverpool were cashing in on Suarez at an opportune time and ousting their star man due to his disciplinary issues. Now, it has emerged that this was the plan all along.

I wonder what Liverpool’s fans make of all this…

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.