What is the similarity between Otman Bakkal and Branislav Ivanovic?
For those who watched the Liverpool-Chelsea Premier League tie played on April 22 must know the common thread that joins these two contemporary footballers. However, before the fateful aforementioned date, these two had nothing to do with each other except for the fact that both of them ply their tricks in the same trade but in different leagues.
Luis Suarez has the distinction of biting both Dutch midfielder Bakkal and Serbian defender Ivanovic. Both Bakkal and Ivanovic have been at the receiving end of Luis Suarez’s insatiable appetite for human flesh.
In November 2010, Suarez, playing for Ajax, bit PSV’s Bakkal on the shoulder in a match that ended in 0-0 stalemate. The Uruguayan refused to acknowledge his conduct blaming his action on tiredness. Later investigations resulted in a seven-match ban.
Fast forward to April 2013 - Suarez is using all his wits to lead his side to victory against Chelsea. A sublime move involving him resulted in Liverpool equalizing in the second half at Anfield. However, a moment of madness and a handball resulted in a penalty. Guess who was the culprit? Yours truly Suarez! Eden Hazard calmly put his side in the lead again.
Halfway down the second half, Ivanovic was seen complaining to referee about being bitten by Suarez on his arm. Replays corroborated his claim. The referee missed it, so Suarez was allowed to continue. He redeemed himself with a last minute equaliser that saw the game ending in a 2-2 draw.
The game was all about Suarez. He was everywhere. But one will remember the tie for his nibble that puts the spotlight back again on his fickle temperament. His club immediately apologised for the incident — something they would have learnt from their handling of the infamous Suarez-Evra racism saga that resulted in the Uruguyan being handed eight-match ban. The club came under heavy criticism for the decision to stick by him with their then manager Kenny Dalglish sporting pro-Suarez t-shirt.
The 26-year-old striker has been shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award. According to reports, the voting for the award has been closed. So, his chances of landing the award have been unaffected. If he has indeed won it, he should consider himself very lucky. Few would have argued his candidature for the honour had the latest development not taken place. He, though, might have played his last game for Liverpool this season.
Suarez must be handed the harshest of possible punishment since this is the second time he has been reported for such behavior. A player of his caliber and fan following should refrain from such acts that demean the game.
Suarez is fast becoming an example of how unsavory behavior can overshadow on-field brilliance. A fairly productive 2012-13 season has encountered an ugly bump. One might also overlook the fact that Suarez, with his equalizer against Chelsea on Sunday, became the first Liverpool player since Fernando Torres to have hit 30 goals in a season.
Hope better sense prevails and the talented El Pistolero learns from his mistakes.