Suarez ‘feeling like a footballer’ once more

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Back to work: Luis Suarez will return to competitive action for Barcelona as of October 25.

Luis Suarez is prepared to face the intense scrutiny that awaits him once he is allowed to play competitive football for Barcelona.

The former Liverpool striker was banned for four months after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil, and will not be available to play for his new club until October 25. In an interview on www.fcbarcelona.com, Suarez spoke about the pressures that await him on his return.

He said: "I am calm in that respect because in England I experienced that and I have accepted it. I got accustomed to playing with that type of pressure. It's not really pressure but rather a lot of eyes on you.

"I will have to get accustomed and more so now that I am in the best team in the world and there will be more people watching me than before.

"Especially after what happened, I have to be cautious, assume my responsibility and be intelligent."

Suarez was handed a severe punishment, which also included a nine-match ban from international football with Uruguay and a £66,000 (Dh395,000) fine, as he had bitten two other players earlier in his career, having served bans while playing for Ajax and Liverpool.

Suarez, who made his first appearance for Barca against Leon FC in the Joan Gampher trophy last month, is eager to make his La Liga debut.

"The truth is that I suffer a lot," he said. "I have been suspended for many games and I am still out for a few more. You really feel helpless not to be able to do anything, (on the stands) you can only talk and shout.

"This is all I can do right now and I have to accept it."

Suarez is, however, thankful that he has been allowed to train with the rest of his team-mates after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) saw the harshest elements of his ban removed without shortening the time-scale.

"To be able to tell my children that I am going to work gives me peace of mind," he said. "I have returned to feeling like a footballer."

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Fergie says top coaches are split over the inclusion of sin-bins

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Top managers from past and present: Carlo Ancelotti (l), Sir Alex Ferguson (c) and Arsene Wenger (r).

Sir Alex Ferguson has certified that Europe's top club coaches are split over the wisdom of using sin bins to punish footballers during matches.

Ferguson said the issue was squarely in the spotlight at a closed-door meeting of 18 coaches, which he chaired at the Swiss base of European football's governing body UEFA.

"That was quite a long discussion, on the various aspects of a different nature: serious foul, simulation, disrespect to the referee," Ferguson told reporters.

"But we couldn't get to an agreement about it because it's such a controversial decision to change from what we know to a sin-bin," said the former Manchester United coach, who retired in 2013 after 26 years in charge.

"I think that simulation by players has become a disease in the game. There's no question about that," he added.

Temporarily excluding an offending player from a match is a disciplinary tool in rugby union and league, or ice hockey.

Proponents say that what is good enough for those sports is also worth considering in the world of football.

Critics underline that football referees already have four degrees of sanctions for foul play- a free-kick, a penalty, a booking or a dismissal, and argue that a fifth option is pointless.

Ferguson noted that referees were also divided over the issue.

The two-day UEFA meeting, which is an annual event, drew names including Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, Chelsea's Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti, Luis Enrique of Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola.

"The area we spoke most about was tactical fouls, which prevent a player from progressing in the match, someone's on the halfway line and he pulls the jersey back, that was discussed," said Ferguson, adding that that was a clear yellow card offence.

Ferguson also said he believes that the group stage of the Champions League is ever more evenly-matched in competitive terms.

"The third team in the group is getting closer to the second and first," he said.

"Anyone going into the Champions League today has an opportunity," he added.

Ferguson said the coaches also assessed the continued relevance of the away goals rule, which can see clubs stumble or advance in  European competition if the aggregate score is a draw.

"From a personal point of view, when I was playing at home, I used to say to myself, don't lose a goal, because in the away game, you know you have to score," Ferguson said.

But tactical developments have shifted the debate, he explained, noting that strongly-manned counter-attacks rather than a calculated, defensive approach were now the watchword.

"If we go back say 30 years, counter-attacking was maybe one, maybe two players. Today counter attacks have players flooding forward in fives or sixes, really positive, quick passing," he said.

There was also debate about when the international transfer window should close, given that it does not coincide with the calendars of various European leagues.

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Non-league English club make audacious bid for Ronaldinho

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Fingers crossed: Basingstoke will be praying they sign the Brazilian superstar.

English non-league team Basingstoke Town have mounted an audacious bid to sign Brazilian superstar and former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho.

The 34-year-old playmaker, who previously starred for Barcelona and AC Milan, is currently a free agent after leaving Atletico Mineiro.

Representatives from Basingstoke, who play in the sixth tier of English football, have contacted Ronaldinho's brother and agent, Ronaldo De Assis, to offer him a contract.

"Discussions have been had, and there is an offer on the table," Basingstoke's marketing director Simon Hood told local newspaper, the Basingstoke Gazette.

"Now it is up to Ronaldinho to decide whether he wants to take us up on it. He is on a free transfer and if he wants to get into English football, I cannot think of a better way to do that than by signing for Basingstoke Town."

Ronaldinho has scored 33 goals in 97 appearances for Brazil, with whom he won the World Cup in 2002, and was elected FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. He also won the Ballon d'Or in 2005.

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