When Barcelona signed Luis Suarez from Liverpool for a reported £75 million earlier this summer, they did so at their own risk—knowing that he’s prone to a bite or three.
His infamous bite (and third of his career) of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup is part of what brought the Uruguayan to the Nou Camp in the first place. But club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told James Montague and Amanda Davies of CNN that no steps are in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
When asked whether or not Suarez had a “no biting” clause in his contract, Bartomeu was quick to play down the question, but did say that the club were having second thoughts on the striker after the Chiellini incident:
No, no. We didn't rethink this decision and we told Luis after the bite. He knows he did wrong. He apologized. That's very important for us. That means he knows that he did not do things properly -- and of course, coming to our city, coming to our club, there's going to be a way of managing Luis Suarez, because at Liverpool he was a perfect player. Liverpool fans can tell it, supporters can tell it.
Indeed, Suarez did demonstrate just how fabulous a striker he can be last season, but his conduct has always let him down.
Though he's a player with heaps of ability and goalscoring prowess, what’s stopped the Uruguayan from being uttered in the same sentence as football’s greatest are moments of madness like biting.
Having sunk his teeth into Otman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanovic and now Chiellini during matches, the chances of it happening again are well within the realms of possibility.
However, as Gary Lineker revealed, Suarez has promised that he won’t act in such a manner again:
Suarez has finally apologised for biting saying it will never happen again. I hear that Barca insisted on apology if transfer is to proceed.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 30, 2014
Not that those words haven’t come out of his mouth before, though, and when Bartomeu was asked what would happen if Suarez repeated his ludicrous actions, he refused to talk hypothetically:
This is now a question. This is a question that a lot of people now ask us. We cannot talk about something that could happen or not. We don't know. What we know is that we accept this responsibility and we also wants this responsibility of bringing Luis Suarez to the family of football.
The fact remains that when Suarez lets his football do the talking, he’s one of the best in the business—something that Steven Gerrard agrees with, according to SuperSport Blitz:
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard has wished Barcelona bound Luis Suarez well & described the striker as “an amazing talent” #SSFootball— SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) July 12, 2014
Clause or no clause, let’s hope that the transfer to Barcelona brings out the Suarez that makes defenders cower with fear, not physical pain.
While his reputation as a person may have been tarnished beyond repair, there’s still room to progress as a footballer. And if he keeps his teeth to himself, he’ll undoubtedly do that with Barcelona.