So Luis Suarez will be banned for 9 international matches but more importantly for his club Liverpool FC the 4 month ban “from all footballing activity” is the detrimental blow. With rumours mills and newspapers all linking the prolific poacher to a move away from Anfield, how does this significant ban change the club’s plans?
Spanish journalist Guillem Balague tweeted this morning prior to the ban that even with the punishment looming over Suarez, both Real Madrid and Barcelona were still interested in the Uruguayan superstar. Liverpool, who would’ve been otherwise reluctant to sell their prize asset may now be tempted by the sight of cash and players supposedly on offer.
With some fans saying Suarez’s punishment is too harsh for its impact on Liverpool, others believe it is not harsh enough, Suarez not only doing this once before but twice! In November 2010, whilst captaining Ajax, Suarez picked up a 7 game ban for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal’s shoulder. He did not learn his lesson though as in April 2013 he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. For this he received a 10 match ban and said, “I apologise to my manager and everyone at Liverpool for letting them down”. Liverpool supported him for this as they did when he picked up an 8 match ban for being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
This begs the question, after all these misdemeanours, why on earth does anyone want him? Barcelona in particular, a team who pride themselves on an image of social responsibility and being “Més Que Un Club” (more than a club), seem undeterred by the regular bans and negative press. The reason for this of course, is Suarez’s unbelievable talent on a football pitch. Suarez has scored 69 Premier League goals in 110 games since arriving from Holland, last season being his most prolific as he notched 31 in 33. He swooped the awards too by winning the Barclays’ Player of the Season, Player’s Player of the Season, Football Writer’s Player of the Season and European Golden Shoe as well going on to score twice as Uruguay helped put England out of the World Cup.
How about Suarez’s fit with both the Spanish giants, who needs him more?
Barcelona – A side under new management once again, this time it’s Luis Enrique at the helm taking over from Tata Martino who failed to add any silverware to the Catalan club’s impressive trophy cabinet. Following Pep Guardiola’s departure and the late Tito Vilanova’s stepping aside to battle cancer, Barcelona seem to have lost their way somewhat. Martino, reportedly the choice to keep Lionel Messi happy, did not succeed and so Enrique will bring this back to the Barcelona way. Should Suarez move there he will have to accept being second fiddle to Lionel Messi, something Neymar experienced upon his arrival in Spain. Suarez though is a team player, his partnership with Daniel Sturridge, nicknamed the S-A-S saw him play unselfishly, a requirement to play for Barça.
Real Madrid – Carlo Ancelotti has work to do this summer, cross city rivals Atlético Madrid stormed La Liga winning the title and pushing Real into third. They were also 90 seconds away from beating Real in the Champions League final but the tide turned and La Decima was achieved via a 4-1 win. Benzema suffered criticisms at various points of the season and with Morata the only real replacement up front after Higuian moved to Napoli, it would appear Suarez would be the perfect fit.
One thing is for sure, this story is set to rumble on over the summer with an appeal to the ban on the way by Uruguay. The best opinion i’ve heard on it is that Suarez lives on his instincts, that’s why he is a genius with the ball, that’s why he can turn a game on its head single handedly but it’s also a curse. His instincts cause him to act up and ultimately hurt those who put their trust in him. Luis Suarez, as much lunatic as he is legend!
By Gareth Thomas | June 26th, 2014