Luis Suarez – the ‘bad boy’ of global football was in news once again in the group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Initially, it was for his brilliance against England, where he scored two crucial goals and single-handedly won the match for Uruguay. When we thought he had done enough to cover up for his blemished image, the bad-boy within him made the headlines once again, this time for an instance which made him suffer in the past. What at first appeared to be a head-butt to Giorgio Chiellini, eventually turned out to be a bite. Would you believe it? Yet another bite! In a World Cup!
Uruguay’s World Cup hopes revolved heavily around him and even the experts were of the view that he would miss the biggest event on earth as a result of a knee injury. But just like Rafael Nadal did in 2013, Suarez too made a spectacular comeback within no time and scored two goals against England. The second goal had ‘genius’ written all over it as he made the best out of a blunder from Steven Gerrard and within seconds, the ball had zoomed past Joe Hart.
Suarez, who scored 31 goals to help Liverpool finish second in the Premier League last season, inexplicably behaves obnoxiously in front of millions of fans who love watching him play, despite all the controversies.
While many would argue that FIFA’s decision to ban Luis Suarez for four months from international football is harsh, I would want to ask what would be your reaction if you were Otman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanovic or Giorgio Chiellini. These three footballers have been victims of Suarez`s biting antics. Would you want to play against him when you know your shoulder could be his next target?
Not just Suarez, but his own coach and team-mates would be wondering what’s wrong with him. His team-mates at Uruguay and Liverpool will now maintain enough distance from him, considering his absurd behaviour.
With the four-month ban, Suarez will not just lose his reputation as a world class striker, but also sponsors. Betting company 888 and Adidas are likely to review their deals with the 27-year-old. Which sponsor would want to endorse a footballer, who suddenly turns into a devil during a live match?
Even Barcelona and Real Madrid, clubs which were keen to sign him, would now consider themselves lucky since they haven’t! It is not just his individual reputation at stake, but his team’s and his club’s overall goodwill as well.
Suarez now has over 120 days to think about his future. It is for the third time that he has bitten an opponent on the field. Who knows, he could someday bite one of his own team-mates, out of sheer joy after scoring a goal.
He would obviously be devastated and frustrated at the moment. So if you are a journalist and you come across Suarez, on a precautionary note, do not ask him for “One byte please.” In case if he agrees, and you notice a twinkle in his eyes, just run!