24 April 2013

Luis Suarez nibbles away at Liverpool's patience

File:LuisSuarez CL interview.JPG
Photograph from Wikipedia Commons

George Best, Eric Cantona, Paul Gascoigne, Rudi Voller. There have been plenty of wonderful players to have graced the game whose misdemeanours will live as long in the memory as their talent.

From glorious free-kicks and delicate chips to soaring saliva and plastic breasts, football has never been predictable.

And now there is someone else sinking their teeth into the sport's controversial side. For the last three years there has been no keeping Uruguayan enigma Luis Suarez out of the lime-light

His first transgression could almost be excused. He broke the hearts of a continent when he handled the ball on the line to deny Ghana, and Africa, a World Cup semi-final place, but his celebrations on the touch-line made everyone wonder whether or not they would have done the same for their country.

Despite his eight-match ban for using abusive language towards Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra and his admission that he dived in a Premier League game against Stoke, the focus is now on why his extra-large front teeth are so attracted to fellow professionals' shoulders.

When the forward completed the deal that took him to Liverpool he was serving a seven-match ban for gnawing on PSV Eindhoven defender Otman Bakkal

When someone receives such a hefty ban for biting an opponent you would be forgiven for expecting them not to do it again. However Suarez seems to enjoy shocking spectators and fellow players alike, so it should have been no surprise when he took a liking to Chelsea centre-back Branislav Ivanovic.

To add insult to bite-mark the South American scored a controversial 97th minute equaliser to anger Chelsea even more. 

Photograph from Wikipedia Commons
Players who commit these sort of sporting crimes usually get landed with a hefty ban. Suarez would not have got ten matches if he had a clean record already, but he was a far cry from that particular piece of paper-work.

The ban itself has not taken many people aback, but what is confusing is that the Liverpool board have come out and said that he will remain at Anfield without a doubt. For how long will they continue to defend him?

Surely he will not get many more chances before he gets shown the door, albeit it being one that opens to a queue of managers bursting to get his signature.

His playing ability is astonishing. That header on Sunday was his 30th goal of a prolific season in which he has catapulted himself into contention for the PFA Player of the Year award. Although Suarez is a worthy candidate based on this season, it is hard to see many of his counterparts ticking his box on the ballot paper. 

Wherever he is in August, he'll be twiddling his thumbs for a few weeks under intense media scrutiny as the world watches his every move. But what appears to be certain is that he doesn't seem to care.

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