This year’s Fifa World Cup finals currently taking place in Brazil have been the most exciting, yet of all those that I have witnessed and followed. There have been lots of goals, relentless excitement and plenty of drama such that all the wait for the games has been worthwhile. Everything that you would expect in football, both positively and negatively, has been on offer in these World Cup finals.
Well, we have got even more. After grabbing the headlines for the right reasons in his first taste of action against England, Uruguayan (and Liverpool, I must add) striker Luis Suarez decided to deflect all the attention of the footballing world — and beyond — to himself for the wrong reasons after biting an opponent yet again. I am not sure if it is right to use the word ‘decide’ because it is difficult to imagine any normal person deciding on doing that.
But then Suarez is not a normal person, whichever way you want to look at him. He is simply one of a kind whether you want to look at his talent as a footballer or the controversy he often courts because of his strange behaviour. He simply does extraordinary things, some of which delight the watching public and others that leave you standing aghast as you wonder how any human being would behave that way.
As a Liverpool fan, I am saddened by the turn of events and I feel he deserves the punishment he has been given although I do not think it is what he needs if the aim is to reform him. The punishment only serves to make a statement that the game can (and should) not condone Suarez’s deplorable behaviour. The man needs to be helped more along the lines of what Liverpool have been doing in the just-ended season.
And if I might be a little controversial, I would like to argue that biting, just like spitting, is disgusting and unacceptable, but the offended player is not injured to such an extent that he cannot continue playing. It may sound hypocritical, therefore, that these silly antics are punished much more severely than some really violent acts that threaten the opponents’ career. It is a question of what we value more.
So far, Liverpool have refused to comment on what this latest episode of this soap opera that is Suarez’s career means to his Anfield tenure which was already the subject of massive speculation because of some reported interest from Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. From the reaction I have had access to, it is clear that Liverpool fans are sharply divided on whether the striker must be offloaded or not.
My position is very clear. I do not condone what Suarez did and it is indefensible, but given a chance, I would still keep him at Liverpool despite the excess baggage that he carries along. He is a player I would gamble on because I know there will be teams queuing up for his signature if he were to be released from his contract right now. He is as much of a prized asset as he is a liability.