Around this time last year there were rumors that Luis Suarez wanted to play in the Champions League. Could one blame him? To even the most casual fan it was obvious he was an immense talent who deserved the chance to play in the best soccer league on the world. When the rumors of interest from Real Madrid came there were some fans that felt maybe Luis Suarez deserved to leave. Of course every Liverpool fan knew he was irreplaceable, and that without him Liverpool stood very little chance of making the Champions League; but in the world of sports there is no loyalty, so if Suarez was going to leave at least it was for one of the best clubs in the world willing to pay top dollar. Then Real Madrid’s interest tapered off and Arsenal came in with a low-ball offer specifically designed to trigger the release clause in Suarez’s contract, a release clause that should not have been public knowledge (Did Suarez’s camp tell Arsenal about the release clause?). When Suarez began to pressure the club to sell him to Arsenal the fans and ownership were in an uproar. Why would Liverpool sell their best player to a rival in their own league for less than he’s worth right before the end of the transfer deadline when he could not have been applicably replaced? The entire idea was ludicrous and it reflected poorly on Luis Suarez because he was trying to leave a club that had stood up for him doing his two suspensions and put them in a tight spot as he left. Thankfully for Liverpool, it kept Suarez at the club and they came in second place in the 2013/2014 season because of his goal-scoring prowess. Luis Suarez even signed a new contract and seemed to be happy with the club that had brought his career to new heights.
Then the season ended and the rumors began anew. Before the 2013/2014 season Luis Suarez dreamed of playing for Real Madrid and in the Champions League. Suddenly now it’s Barcelona, Spain that he has always wanted to play. According to people in Suarez’s camp he has always dreamed of living and playing in Barcelona because Sofia has family there. A reason that seems odd when he was willing to move to London last year. Once these rumors began it was obvious that Luis Suarez was not a man of his word. He would say anything to leave Liverpool. There may be no loyalty in professional soccer anymore but there should at least be honesty. The lies that Luis Suarez has been telling have finally made no doubt about his character and his intentions. Suarez was not done yet though. After spreading gasoline over his last remaining bridge at Liverpool he went out and bit Giorgio Chiellini and got suspended for four months. This meant that he would be unable to play for Liverpool till the end of October. Therefore, if he stayed at Liverpool they would be without their most prolific striker for two crucial months but if they sold him then his price would be driven down because of his suspension and proclivity for future suspensions. It is no wonder Liverpool refused to make a statement after the incident. The club and its fans are clearly tired of standing up for a player who shows no appreciation for them putting their reputation on the line. Make no mistake about it, Liverpool has a lot to lose by putting their respected reputation on the line, and they did it twice for him.
Success is not guaranteed for Luis Suarez at Barcelona. He will be playing with two players who are notorious for wanting the ball at their feet at all times. While at Liverpool Luis Suarez and Sturridge were the focal point of the attack. Players such as Raheem Sterling played a big part, but it was Suarez who was heavily relied on for his clinical finishing to help Liverpool outscore their opponents to make up for their defensive deficiencies. Barcelona will have Lionel Messi and Neymar to score and Luis Suarez will play second fiddle to two of the best players in the world. Sometimes having too many selfish attacking players can stymie the attack rather than propel it. This is not a guarantee. However, it is something to consider when moving from a team where you are the fulcrum of the attack to a team where you are the third best attacking player.
There’s also the problem of Luis Suarez’s glaring Achilles Heel. He bites one person it is a moment of weakness. When he bites someone twice it is a sign that he cannot control his anger. After he did it three times it is clear his anger control issues have reached a breaking point. Below is a quote from former legendary Barcelona striker Hristo Stoichkov in reference to Luis suarez,
“He is marked for the rest of his life. To play at Barca with what he has done is a problem. Every opponent and the referees and the press will make his life difficult. He will have to play with provocation and media attention, which will leave him in permanent tension.”
Stoichkov speaks from experience since he believes he was “targeted after he infamously stamped on the foot of referee Ildefonso Urizar Azpitarte during a match against Real Madrid in 1990.” After he made this rash decision, referees were always keeping an eye on him and opposing players and fans were always trying to provoke him. The Italians are notorious for getting under players skin. Marco Materazzi was able to provoke Zinedine Zidane into a headbutt so the fact the Italians were able to get under Luis Suarez’s skin is no surprise. However, now that fans and players know how easily Suarez can be provoked they will put out all the stops to get him to do something stupid. Beating Barcelona is a tall task for any team and it becomes a much easier task when they are down a man. Imagine Barcelona vs. Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, every fan and player from Real Madrid will spend the game trying to get under his skin. At some point Luis Suarez will crack.
Luis Suarez has very few friends left willing to defend him. He is still an icon in Uruguay, but there are probably more than a few Uruguayans that blame their exit on the fact that he could not play against Colombia, or for the rest of the World Cup for that matter. Liverpool was one of his biggest defenders but they have finally given up on him after suffering damage to their reputation. At Barcelona Luis Suarez will be on a short rope. His history of violence and unsportsmanlike conduct will mean any suspension he gets will be a big one. There’s also a big possibility his contract will be structured so that Barcelona can recuperate some of their losses if Luis Suarez gets suspended. If he does get suspended or do anything wrong the Spanish media will eviscerate him just as badly as the English media had done and who knows how long Barcelona will protect him before they give up on him as well. Luis Suarez burned his last remaining bridge for a rickety rope bridge in Barcelona hovering over a deep dark cliff. It will be a miracle if he survives.