Luis Suarez faces up to a new potential ban today, having bitten an opponent for the third time in his bizarre career. This time around, the unmistakeable teeth marks appeared on Italian defender Chiellini, who after the game expressed his hope that Suarez would not get away with setting such a poor example to the millions of viewers worldwide.
The Uruguayan international – who has become world renowned for shifting from the sublime to the ridiculous in an instant – looks set to be hit with a ban for an extended period of time, given that the maximum available exclusion period is two years.
Pressure is mounting on FIFA to make an example of the 27-year old, due to this being the latest in a long line of embarrassingly archaic actions for which his name has become synonymous. To choose the biggest stage in football for his latest transgression simply adds flames to the fire.
Suarez, despite being one of the most technically gifted footballers in modern football, has a tarnished disciplinary record and has often displayed the kind of sportsmanship which would be more at home in a gladiator ring than a football field.
Undoubtedly Suarez will not feature in the remainder of the World Cup, leaving his country short of attacking options –a point proved by the toothless defeat against Costa Rica in which he played no part.
The player has been subject of big-money interest from Real Madrid every summer for the last two or three years, but it is unlikely a club of that stature would see it appropriate to part with in the region of $90 million for a player with seemingly no concept of common sense. There are even question marks over whether his current club, Liverpool, will be able to seriously stand by their man this time around.
Suarez has a chequered past, well-documented, and not made up. Here is a chronological run-down of his disciplinary moments:
July 2010: Saves the ball with his hand to stop Ghana winning in the last minute of extra time. He was shown a red card, but Ghana missed the resulting penalty and went on to lose the penalty shootout that followed. The world cringed at the lack of fair play exhibited, while the Uruguayan’s hailed him as their saviour.
November 2010: While playing for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie, Otman Bakkal became the first of Suarez’s victims. The Uruguayan sunk his teeth into the player during a mini-brawl and received a seven match ban for Ajax.
December 2011: After Ajax decided to move the player on, Suarez brought his game to England, although unfortunately it wasn’t long before he was caught up in more bad news. He was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 after racially abusing Manchester United captain Patrice Evra. Upon his return to the Liverpool squad, he refused to shake hands with Evra the next time the sides met, a move which prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to label him a “disgrace”.
April 2013: Suarez had been displaying fine form for his club since his racial attack, and it had almost been buried. This was until he took a chunk out of Branislav Ivanovic in a crucial clash against Chelsea. He was subsequently banned for 10 games, and issued an apology to his second victim at the request of his club.
One of Those Things
This latest bite has led to calls from players and commentators alike to ban him from international football for life. It is unclear exactly how FIFA will deal with the player, and whether his previous record will affect anything. Liverpool have declined to comment until after the punishment is handed out.
Suarez himself had something to say about the event, stating that “There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them.” His lack of remorse is unlikely to adhere him to football fans any further.
Interestingly, a Norwegian bookmaker had odds of Suarez biting a player at 175/1. This bet was taken on by numerous punters, all of whom today are very thankful for the Uruguayan’s animal instinct.