Suárez, Neymar play first game since World Cup exit
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Luis Suarez and Neymar played their first match since their memorable exits from the World Cup yesterday, with the Brazil star scoring two goals to help Barcelona rout Mexican champion Leon 6-0 in a pre-season friendly at Camp Nou.
Suárez, who has since transferred to Barcelona from Liverpool, was cheered by his new fans during the team's presentation and went on as a substitute in the 75th minute to another round of applause.
The last time Suarez played, he infamously sank his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder at the World Cup on June 24, earning the bad-tempered Uruguayan his third career suspension for biting an opponent. That incurred a four-month ban from competitive matches.
Last week Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lessened his FIFA-imposed suspension to allow Suárez to practise and play friendlies for Barcelona following his €97-million (US$130 million) move.
Yesterday's friendly is likely to be the last match Suárez plays before his ban runs out on October 25.
fit to play
Neymar hadn't played since fracturing a vertebra during the World Cup on July 4, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament. He was deemed fit to play hours before the friendly and showed no signs of the injury.
Neymar set up Lionel Messi's third-minute opener before adding goals in the 12th and 44th. He was substituted at half-time before Barcelona youth forwards Munir El Haddadi scored in the 54th and the 77th and Sandro Ramirez added another in the 89th.
Barcelona open the Spanish league against Elche on Sunday.