Luis Suarez made a strong return from his four-month biting ban on Saturday, showing no signs of being rusty and providing the biggest threat Barcelona could offer in a 3-1 loss at Real Madrid.

Suarez set up Neymar's fourth-minute opener and offered the most constant danger up front for the visitors, while Lionel Messi was kept in check by Madrid's defense.

The Uruguay forward won corner kicks, battled with Sergio Ramos and Pepe, and combined well with his teammates despite being limited to training and one friendly with them. He had also played a friendly with Barcelona's B-team and two with Uruguay.

"(Suarez) played well," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. "He showed more pace than I had expected. He is an important player who knows how we play because he has been working with us."

Luis Enrique started Suarez hours after he completed his hefty ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in June.

Suarez appeared completely familiar with his new teammates when he crossed for Neymar to dribble along the front of the area before firing in the opener in the fourth minute.

He then almost helped double Barcelona's lead with a pinpoint cross from the right side that Messi couldn't turn by goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Luis Enrique said that the missed chance was the turning point in the match. Suarez came off in the 69th.

"I substituted him, because I thought the last half hour could be tough for him," the coach said.

Suarez's most recent suspension was the third multi-game ban he has received for biting, having also been punished while playing for former clubs Ajax and Liverpool.

His performance on Saturday offered flashes of why Barcelona was undeterred by his latest act of gross misconduct and spent 97 million euros (then $130 million) to sign him from Liverpool.

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AP writer Joseph Wilson contributed to this report from Barcelona.