‘Bad boy’ Suarez back on form?

Posted on October 19, 2011


Yesterday’s blog post was perhaps a little too pro-Liverpool for my liking, even if it was about the Hillsborough disaster. I feel like I need to even it out a little. So… Luis Suarez, anyone?

No doubt the guy has to go down as one of the signings of 2011, and proof that despite all the evidence to the contrary, Kenny Dalglish is still capable of picking out a decent footballer. Suarez has been a revelation at Liverpool, both scoring and setting-up goals and showing flashes of pure genius. All this pure quality has resulted in fans forgetting about the Uruguayan’s track record of misbehaving.

People started to remember after he was accused of diving to get Jack Rodwell sent off, the latest in a string of such claims that Suarez denies. Now his behaviour will be very much under the spotlight after Patrice Evra’s allegations that the Uruguayan racially abused him during Liverpool’s game with Manchester United on Sunday.

Obviously, Suarez is innocent until proven guilty, and Evra’s claims will be mighty hard to prove. The reality is that the issue will be unable to be resolved as it is simply one man’s word against another’s. Yet if it serves to put a bit of a dampener on the media’s hero worship of the Liverpool striker, and remind fans of his past misdemeanours, then it is no bad thing.

Long before Suarez was well-known as a star in the Premier League he achieved fame and infamy at last summer’s World Cup, both for some excellent performances as Uruguay made it to the semi-finals but also for his dramatic involvement in getting them through the quarter-final against Ghana:

This outraged fans, partly because many had taken Ghana to their hearts after England’s embarrassing exit, but Suarez’s unapologetic reaction was worse, gloating that his was the real ‘Hand of God’. So Suarez the alleged racist, the alleged diver, is also a self-confirmed proud cheat. But fans in Holland will remember him for something far, far worse. Towards the end of 2010, shortly before he arrived in England, he was banned for seven matches by the Dutch FA for biting an opponent during a game.

I am not saying a player should be villified for events in his past. Yet coverage of Suarez would surely benefit from bearing it in mind. What if Wayne Rooney or Andy Carroll had bitten an opponent during a match? The media would have gone wild. What if Joey Barton had done it? There would be calls for him to be thrown out of the game altogether. So, while we wait and hear the outcome of the investigation into the weekend’s events, let’s just have it in mind that Luis Suarez perhaps isn’t the “god” that many would have us believe.

Posted in: Sport