by Victor Oladapo-Ariyo
He went on to bite PSV’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a league match in November 2010 despite being Ajax captain. He was suspended for seven matches as a result of this and got branded as “Cannibal of Ajax” by a Dutch daily newspaper.
When the name ‘Luis Suarez’ is mentioned these days, what pops up in my head at first is ‘controversy’. The Liverpool FC striker has almost made controversies overshadow his career as a footballer and even his reckoning as one of the world’s finest and most lethal forwards. This has caused the various teams he has played for and his present club great numbers of troubles.
At just the age of 15, he was red carded for headbutting a referee while playing for the youth team of his local side Nacional. Series of controversial issues followed each other as he developed into a football star. The African continent cannot forget him easily most especially Ghanians when he made “the save of the tournament” by blocking Dominic Adiyiah’s goal bound
header that would have made Ghana qualify for the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup with his hands in 2010. He went on to bite PSV’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a league match in November 2010 despite being Ajax captain. He was suspended for seven matches as a result of this and got branded as “Cannibal of Ajax” by a Dutch daily newspaper.
Coming to England to play for Liverpool in January 2011 allowed him to escape serving his suspension in Holland but it didn’t take long before controversy got hold of him again and trust the English media, they make volcanoes out of little anthills. Occasional issues of diving followed by an incident in which he was accused of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a league match which saw him suspended for eight matches plus a fine of £40,000. During the reverse fixture in February 2012, it was alleged he avoided Evra’s handshake during the pre-match courtesies and this caused a lot of trouble for his coach and club.
The latest of his controversies of course was biting (again???) Chelsea FC’s Branislav Ivanovic in a league match on the 21st of April 2013 and this foolish ‘stunt’ of his, attracted a 10-match ban from the English FA disciplinary committee.
Luis Suarez is a very talented footballer and ranks among the best in the trade but his disciplinary issues have always limited him from putting out top performances that will make him rub shoulders with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He is a player I admire a lot and I even rank him 5th on ‘my own’ list of world best footballers but these issues have made his
clubs most especially Liverpool FC lose him and suffer when they needed him the most and it has greatly affected the club’s performance in the past seasons given his quality and match-wining gifts he possesses. At the age of 26, you will quite agree with me that he is at his prime and therefore needs to control his behaviours or “instincts” as he once called it so that he fully maximise the usage of his potentials and probably win the FIFA Ballon d’Or if he steps up his performance.
Having seen out his 10-match ban, he returned to action on the 25th of September 2013 against familiar foes Manchester United, a match in which he impressed despite losing 1-0 and crashing out of the Capital One Cup. He announced his return to the Premier League in style as he scored two goals to help Liverpool to a 3-1 away win at Sunderland and his partnership with fellow Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge has been hailed by many as one of the deadliest strike partnership in the English Premier League at the moment.
So now that Luis Suarez is back, should we be expecting another controversy soonest from him this season or has he turned a new leaf? I personally hope he chooses the latter and help Liverpool secure that UEFA Champions League spot they have been craving for some seasons now. And who knows, they might even win the league given their current run and the fact that they are not really competing on many fronts like other contenders in the league.
Meanwhile, let me sit behind and get ready for another weekly round of English Premier League matches and other European leagues matches and be on the lookout for my ‘good boy’ Luis Suarez to see if he is going to make the headlines again for good reasons I pray as Liverpool take on newly promoted Crystal Palace at Anfield. I just hope he gets on the scoresheet to justify some of my opinions and then Liverpool fans might not ‘walk alone’ this season.
Victor Oladapo-Ariyo tweets from @Twomie
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.