What he said:
“I know biting appals a lot of people, but it’s relatively harmless.”
Luis Suarez, in his book, “Crossing the line: My story” reveals his reaction to the four-month ban for chewing his adversary, Giorgio Chiellini, in the 2014 World Cup game against Italy.
“Had the ban stopped at nine Uruguay matches, I would have understood it. But banning me from playing for Liverpool, when my bans in England never prevented me from playing for Uruguay? Banning me from all stadiums worldwide? Telling me I couldn’t go to work? Stopping me from even jogging around the perimeter of a football pitch? It still seems incredible to me that, until the Court of Arbitration for Sport decreed otherwise, Fifa’s power actually went that far.
They had never banned a player like that before for breaking someone’s leg or smashing someone’s nose across his face, as Mauro Tassotti did to Luis Enrique at the 1994 World Cup. They made a big thing of saying the incident had happened ‘before the eyes of the world’. Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi in a World Cup final in 2006 and got a three-match ban.
I was an easy target, maybe. But there was something important I had to face up to: I had made myself an easy target. I made the mistake. It was my fault. This was the third time it had happened. I needed help.
After my 10-match ban in 2013 for biting Branislav Ivanovic, I had questioned the double standards and how the fact that no one actually gets hurt is never taken into consideration. The damage to the player is incomparable with that suffered by a horrendous challenge. Sometimes English football takes pride in having the lowest yellow-card count in Europe, but of course it will have if you can take someone’s leg off and still not be booked. When they can say it is the league with the fewest career-threatening tackles, then it will be something to be proud of.”
“When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there. None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield’s ear. But none of this makes it right.”
The Uruguayan star attempts to explain why he is cannibalistic on the pitch:
“The fear of failure clouds everything for me – even the blatantly obvious fact that I have at least 20,000 pairs of eyes on me; it is not as if I am not going to be seen. Logic doesn’t come into it.
Equally illogical is that it should be a bite. There was a moment in a game against Chile in 2013 when a player grabbed me between the legs and I reacted by punching him. I didn’t get banned for that. That’s considered a normal, acceptable response. When I called Ivanovic after the 2013 incident, he told me that the police had come to see him and asked if he wanted to press charges, and thankfully he had said no. I’m grateful to him, because the circus could have gone on for a lot longer. Punch someone and it’s forgotten, there is no circus. So why do I take the most self-destructive route?
The problem is that this switching off also happens when I do something brilliant on the pitch and, of course, I don’t want to lose that. I’ve scored goals and later struggled to understand how exactly I managed to score them. There is something about the way I play that is unconscious, for better or worse. I want to release the tension and the pressure, but I don’t want to lose the spontaneity in my game, much less the intensity of my style of play.”
What he really meant:
“It’s certainly harmless—for me. I don’t need my mouth to shoot goals; It’d be folly to bruise my feet,head or shoulders while foully taking my opponent down.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’m a man who believes in toothing my own horn.”
What he said:
“(Luis) Suarez, fat? He is a naturally stocky player. He is at his ideal weight and he is ready to compete. If you want we’ll give him liposuction but I don’t think he needs it.”
What he really meant:
“Now, now, now. Suarez has scored two goals on his return and yet the press claims he’s overweight. Maybe it’s all the critical newsprint he’s been chewing on since the World Cup that’s making him appear lethargic to you…”
What he definitely didn’t:
“What’s a little bite or two for Suarez? He’s earned it.”
Luis Suarez celebrates his Gol to put Uruguay 1 – Netherlands 0 – Take 2 | 110608-6714-jikatu (Photo credit: jikatu)
Escobar’s ghost be damned—the mafia don, not the footballer!
The rest of the line-up will follow over the next three nights.
Suarez! Talk about Suarez!
The man sure has bite in him; both in front of goal and while gorging on all things edible.
“A small bite for Luis Suarez, a giant one for Liverpool”. Indeed!
Soccer took a backseat while off-field jibes at Suarez hogged the world headlines.
Perhaps, some semblance of order will be restored this week when play on the football field returns to centre-stage.
Uruguayans, meanwhile, will mourn their country’s ouster from the World Cup; their favourite son—both saviour and devourer.
Till then, have a great week!
We could debate for hours, days, months, years , perhaps until the next World Cup in Brazil, but there can never be a definite answer to our perambulations, our speculations on what could have been. England fans will berate Sepp Blatter and other FIFA officials for not bowing to demands for the introduction of Hawk-eye technology: Frank Lampard’s goal would have been allowed and a recharged, rejuvenated England side would surely have thumped Germany into submission. Or so they would have us believe.
Image via Wikipedia
What if Luis Suarez had not succumbed to his heart-felt instincts to prevent the Ghanaian goal, throwing his hands at the ball, to stop it from crossing the goal-line. I wonder if Suarez is a betting man. If so, he surely knew that the odds of saving a penalty kick were much better than expecting a magical tailwind to swerve the Jabulani ball away from the goal line and towards safety. Did that thought cross his mind?
His words describing the incident were something on the lines of Maradona’s Hand Of God. Funny how Maradona gets quoted by all the cheats. Perhaps, they hope that his cheeky greatness will gloss over the heinousness of their folly.
But this article is not going to dwell on the Uruguayan fortune in entering the semis on the back of a piece of impudence by a suave Suarez , a hero to his countrymen , who has been termed – tongue-in-cheek – the best goalkeeper of the tournament. His save on the line was ,arguably, the most significant save of the tournament.
Our hearts and minds went out to that man from Ghana- Gyan – who had till then not missed a single penalty. And in that instant of despair, his stricken face told the story. In that moment , all our hearts cried for Africa, for Ghana, for Gyan. We were one in solidarity with the Ghanaian team. But those are the rules of the game: a handball deserves a penalty and a red card. And that is how it is. To twist a cliché: Abide By The Rules, Die By The Rules.