Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 28 July 2015

What if Luis Suarez knows exactly what he’s doing?

By Kevin Garside

Published 01/07/2014 | 02:15

Luis Suarez made contact with the Italy defender before going to ground. Giorgio Chiellini then accused him of biting his shoulder
Luis Suarez made contact with the Italy defender before going to ground. Giorgio Chiellini then accused him of biting his shoulder
Mario Balotelli of Italy greets Luis Suarez of Uruguay prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Andrea Pirlo of Italy appears to strike Uruguay's Luis Suarez in the face during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Uruguay's Luis Suarez is tripped up by Italy's Andrea Barzagli during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Andrea Barzagli of Italy challenges Luis Suarez of Uruguay during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Andrea Barzagli of Italy challenges Luis Suarez of Uruguay during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Italy's Andrea Barzagli, left, and Uruguay's Luis Suarez challenge for the ball during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Italy's Leonardo Bonucci, left, tackles Uruguay's Luis Suarez during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Giorgio Chiellini of Italy challenges Luis Suarez of Uruguay during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini complains after Uruguay's Luis Suarez ran into his shoulder with his teeth during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Giorgio Chiellini of Italy react after a clash during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 24: Giorgio Chiellini of Italy pulls down his shirt after a clash with Luis Suarez of Uruguay (not pictured) as Gaston Ramirez of Uruguay looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay bursts balloons during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay bursts balloons during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts after a 1-0 victory over Italy in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Head coach Oscar Tabarez of Uruguay hugs Luis Suarez after a 1-0 victory over Italy during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay is interviewed after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

I concede that Luis Suarez's frivolous face-plant account of this, the third major biting infraction of his career, was a beauty.

You wonder how the Fifa assizes ever saw through it. But far more revealing was the balcony scene with the kids the day before the authorities released the priceless fiction relating to the moment the teeth of Suarez coincided with Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder.

While the court of Luis I convulsed at his exclusion, the king took to the veranda of his mother’s home, as any dutiful son would, in Lagomar near Montevideo, a child in each arm, to say thank you to his people for their enduring love and support.

Observing Suarez in the domestic nest, the first thought that struck was how he might deal with the blight that afflicts many a lively infant, the biting episode.

How would he explain to the biter, were it young Benjamin or daughter Delfina, that behaviour of that sort is non-negotiable since it runs counter to the very idea of decency and civility at the heart of our culture?

Suarez seems to function like a fully rounded individual in that setting. Indeed, there is barely a dissenting voice in Uruguay or Liverpool, where grown men fall over themselves to attest to his devotion and commitment to family and friends, his generous nature and so on.

Therefore, armed as he is with this naturally occurring, all-round good-egg quality, you would fully expect him to rebuke the naughty child in order that he or she might develop into a good-natured individual like Pops.

If we allow this idea of Saint Luis to take hold, then we might lob a hand grenade into the popular line of inquiry that seems to want to get to the bottom of a victim complex, to understand why this essentially good man repeatedly falls foul of appalling recidivist tendencies. Poor man, he can't help himself, he needs help, that sort of cod.

Uruguayan president Jose Mujica says Fifa are 'a bunch of old b******s'

Luis Suarez admits biting Giorgio Chiellini: Vows never to bite anyone again 

Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his children as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. (AP Photo)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his children as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. (AP Photo)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his daughter as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. Suarez returned to Montevideo early Friday, arriving too late to see the hundreds of Uruguay fans who had gathered the previous night to give him a hero's welcome despite his World Cup banishment. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his children as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. Suarez returned to Montevideo early Friday, arriving too late to see the hundreds of Uruguay fans who had gathered the previous night to give him a hero's welcome despite his World Cup banishment. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez waves to fans from his home's balcony, alongside his children, on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. Suarez returned to Montevideo early Friday, arriving too late to see the hundreds of Uruguay fans who had gathered the previous night to give him a hero's welcome despite his World Cup banishment. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, center, talks with Uruguayan team members at the Serhs Hotel in Natal, Brazil, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Vlademir Alexandre)
A Uruguay fan shows his support for Luis Suarez in the stands before the FIFA World Cup, Round of 16 match at the Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Colombia fans hold an image of Luis Suarez of Uruguay during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Uruguay fans wear Luis Suarez masks ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Uruguay fans hold up and wear Luis Suarez masks ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Colombian fans hold up a sign 'Where's Luis' in reference to the banned Luis Suarez ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: Uruguay fans holds up a t-shirt of Luis Suarez ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
A fan wearing a Luis Suarez masks holds a baby doll prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
A fan holds up a sign reading "Suarez Just A Guy Who Loves Football" prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Algeria and Russia at Arena da Baixada on June 26, 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
A woman takes a photo next to an advertisement featuring Uruguay's Luis Suarez on Copacabana Beach on June 26, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Suarez has been banned by FIFA for four months following a biting incident during a match. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

But what if that is the wrong question? What if the therapeutic approach is missing a massive point? What if there is no need to unravel some primitive brain function that overrides all well-adjusted behaviours?

What if he knows exactly what he is doing? What if he is not driven to act impulsively but chooses to act as he does? What if it is just the rank bad behaviour of an overindulged adult allowed to do as he pleases, surrounded by sycophants afraid to say no? Ever thought of that, doctor?

When a player can do what Suarez does on the pitch, make a difference even among the best players in the world, then he has power. Those shooting at the same goalposts are not the least bit interested in challenging that commodity, only harnessing it in their own interest and, when required, apologising for it.

So Liverpool’s big move now is to work out how they might keep him, or sell him at maximum value. Their first concern is not abhorrence at his actions but how to maximise interest.

This is the same reflex operating at club level as revealed on the international stage by Uruguay.

This is not to slam Liverpool in isolation. There is not a club in operation that would behave any differently. This is the culture of big-business football and ultimately damns all involved in the game.

If Suarez were not a unique force of nature on the pitch, his selfish behaviour on it would not be tolerated. If he couldn’t kick a ball at all he would have been punished appropriately years ago.

The collective response in Uruguay has raised the absurd deification a further level. Watch that trend continue when Madrid, Barcelona and the billionaire petrodollar outfits compete with their offers of sanctuary so that he may escape the torment of a return to Merseyside and the English persecution.

Even those in the “English-speaking world” who condemn Suarez finish the sentence with the universal rider that he is a great player, as if they fear the consequence of total excommunication by the Luis lobby.

Perhaps it is as well that a new, and at least for now, more wholesome hero has emerged to clear the football palate.

While Suarez is returned to the bosom of his homecoming team-mates, we salute the boy who sent Uruguay packing, Colombia’s very own J-Rod, also known as James Rodriguez.

There is a subculture of teenage PlayStation and Xbox gurus who saw this 22-year-old coming via their immersion in Fifa gaming products. He is no secret either in the precincts of Porto and Monaco, who laid down £36m for him last summer.

But for the casual observer at this World Cup, the connection with Rodriguez amounts to a renewal of vows with the game we love most.

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