Luis Suarez will never learn. He’ll never adhere to the socially acceptable behavioural traits expected of today’s sportsman and role models.
The Uruguayan just doesn’t possess the restraint to control his ridiculously aggressive impulses. He’s an ultra-competitive athlete, a winner, but an excruciatingly frustrating liability.
The striker has now been banned for 34 domestic fixtures – not inclusive of the four matches he’ll consequently miss in Liverpool’s Champions League and Capital One Cup campaigns – plus nine international games without receiving a single red card.
Suarez’s lack of discipline has deepened beyond petulance. His crimes aren’t furtively executed. Suarez commits on the most prevalent and seminal of stages, desperately craving the infamy and the consequential notoriety that such conspicuousness and exposure breeds. He’s the puppet master. He negotiates the hardened role of ‘victim’ and pulls the strings for others to elevate him on a pedestal.
It’s a cry for attention, but one that those around him attend to. At Ajax, when nibbling on PSV’s Otman Bakkal’s shoulder in November 2010, he was rewarded with a move to Anfield within two months. And the controversy ensued in the years that prevailed in Merseyside.
The pariah, or protagonist, whichever best suits, manipulated the respect and support of his team-mates and former boss Kenny Dalglish in the aftermath of racially abusing Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra. The club rallied, with their unity emblazoned on white T-shirts, but those would soon be tarnished by the ‘guilty’ verdict.
However, not content with besmirching the reputation of his colleagues and supporters, and all others that stood beside him, Suarez moved to further damage the club’s status by inexplicably chomping on the forearm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic that would later be penalised with a 10-game ban.
Taking all that in to consideration, with the accumulation of the aforementioned offences, how did he culminate the season as a hero?
Even now, in the absence of an apology after selfishly instigating Uruguay’s exit from the World Cup, the nation congregates to worship their beloved, persecuted son. An individual hailed for gnawing at the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini is simply incomprehensible! Remember the discontent and indignation assigned to David Beckham in the wake of his sending off for lashing out at Diego Simeone at France ’98? Suarez is deserving of similar disdain.
But it’s hardly surprising when even Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabarez inexcusably forfeited his principles to apportion blame on everybody but his star man, even going as far as accusing the British media of the ‘scapegoating’ of Suarez in an unnecessary witch hunt. This is the same flock of journalists that voted the striker the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year.
Wherever Suarez goes, whatever he does, a shameless stream of propaganda and elaborate conspiracy theories flows to wash away his sins, almost excusing the inexcusable. Suarez’s alleged punch on West Brom’s Gonzalo Jara in a World Cup qualifying defeat to Chile in March last year was glossed over by FIFA, with the governing body allowing the 27-year-old to walk away unpunished.
And it has recently come to light that a cover-up operation allowed Suarez to escape the scrutiny of a FA panel when allegedly attacking Clarets youngster Tom Anderson in a –behind-closed-doors game at Liverpool’s academy training ground in Kirby nine months ago.
Suarez is unmistakably a repeat offender, one of the worst we’ve had the displeasure of witnessing. But the seed is becoming more deeply engrained with every moment of controversy he survives. Any chance of rehabilitation requires an apology, an acceptance of wrong-doing, but that won’t happen when Suarez has been defended on a grand scale institutionally. The powers that be must admonish Suarez.
Sooner or later he needs to be made accountable for his actions. While puncture wounds gradually fade, the scrutiny and repercussion should be made to plague his career for much longer. Unless there’s a break in the trend the latest penalty from FIFA - a nine-game international ban coupled with a four-month ban from all football-related activity - will only serve to delay the inevitable.
For now the cannibal may have left the competition but one thing’s for sure – Suarez will live to bite another day if the institutions that employ him don’t take some responsibility!