There will be people out there who feel that Luis Suarez has spent the last few days in his lair more suited to cartoonish super-villain, reflecting on his shooting down of England’s World Cup hopes and plotting on doing the same to Italy’s.
Pausing from reliving the moment he ripped the ball past Joe Hart and ripped millions of England flags from the windows of millions of English homes, Suarez will have instructed his minions that this was a good time to strike. Break out the old “English press” routine again. Get his father-in-law on the phone. This will give them something to talk about.
And indeed talk about it they have.
The Liverpool Echo, for instance, features those two stories alluded to above in great detail on their website, whilst once again the rumour mill is ablaze with talk of a player who signed a new Anfield contract in December being on the move, this time to Barcelona—at least as per the Daily Mail’s citing of several Spanish sources.
As ever with Suarez, everything is happening at breakneck speed and causing words to tumble from mouths without much thought.
“How dare a player voted as the unanimous Footballer of the Year last season display such contempt for the country he lives in? Does he not have any respect? Do you remember those incidents with Patrice Evra and Branislav Ivanovic? You do? Well I’m going to talk about them anyway. Endlessly.”
And so it goes on and on.
You can tame Suarez. You can put him in a nice suit and give him an award and tell him how good he is, and you can listen to the platitudes he gives back, such as in the Guardian when he won the PFA Player of the Year prize in April, but the fact remains that this is a footballer so far on the edge as to repeatedly topple over it. Although we’ll leave the diving jokes for another day.
Suarez’s incredibly emotional reaction following the England game told you so much about his complex character. He felt he’d conquered a foe, bested a rival, maybe even knocked back some of those inner demons for a while at least.
But perhaps it also had something to do with Walter Ferreira, the Uruguay team doctor Suarez was seen celebrating with in Sao Paulo who, as per Eurosport/Yahoo.com, put his own cancer treatment on hold to help treat the forward’s meniscus injury which threatened his World Cup before it had even begun—and how England fans enjoyed that.
To delve into Suarez’s character is to take a step into the unknown—as ESPN’s Wright Thompson found out in the quite stunningly brilliant profile of the forward on the eve of the World Cup—but the fact remains that there is only one organisation which controls his next move. The one that he’s signed up to play football for.
Contrary to what is likely to be stated elsewhere, Liverpool will remain calm over the latest in a long line of Suarez stories. They managed to rebuff interest in him last summer and they’ve got far more ammunition with which to fend off potential suitors this time around.
Suarez will leave Liverpool one day.
The club will find an offer for his services suitable and they’ll agree to let him go, just as they did with Fernando Torres and countless others before him. It happens. It’s football.
Perhaps that time will come sooner than you think, but with a Champions League campaign to negotiate and still not overly scary Premier League title rivals to take on in the coming season, you have to suspect that time isn’t now.
Another season of on the edge excellence from Suarez, another sustained title charge, making a decent fist of the Champions League, and the prestige and, yes, money that goes with that might make the right time the summer of 2015.
There are still those who feel—probably hope—that last season was a fluke, so “going again” could set Liverpool up for the years to come. He could go in peace then. Or what he passes for peace.
Until then you’ll never stop the rumours, the claims and the counter-claims, largely because this is a player whose life plays out in headlines. Endless opinions on him will be sought and, like this one, written down.
Suarez, for his part, will just keep trying to play football.
But his football world is so far removed from everyone else’s it’s almost untrue, a bit like that cartoonish super-villain lair.
For 90 minutes the target is Italy.
What comes after that is anyone’s guess.
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