Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the pitch. Maybe the the puns should be kept to a minimum, but at what should be the very peak of his career Uruguayan superstar Luis Suarez has bitten what should be a sensational career in its own behind.
The main talking point of the 2014 World Cup should be the numerous upsets that has sent several of soccer’s blue bloods home early. That would include Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy which saw Gil Azzurri’s head coach and other heads roll immediately after the final whistle.
But instead everyone is talking about something else.
For the third time in four years serial biter Luis Suarez has struck again. He bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in 2010 while playing for Dutch juggernaut Ajax, and was suspended for seven matches. Then last year he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and was banned for 10 matches.
The third time should be the charm, and FIFA has no choice but to throw the book at him. The organization needs to clamp down like a shark off the coast of Recife, and Suarez may have a fate similar to Sam Quint. The organization can ban a player for as long as two years.
Maybe Suarez should consult with baseball’s Miguel Olivo, who was recently shown the door after biting a teammate in a dugout altercation as a member of the Albuquerque Isotopes. That will likely be the last act of Olivo’s professional baseball career.
Suarez’s fate won’t be quite that bad only because he is arguably soccer’s most prolific goal scorer. But he will have an extended vacation to work on his apparent cravings and biting fetishes.
Most of the media has focused on how Suarez should be suspended for the rest of the World Cup, but a suspension will likely go long beyond that. The biggest loser will end up being Suarez’s club team, Liverpool.
When last seen, Liverpool lost its best chance at a Premier League title back in May after Steven Gerrard slipped and the team squandered a three-goal lead at Crystal Palace. It was devastating in the short and long-term for a number of reasons. Gerrard is not getting any younger, Manchester United’s rebuilding program will likely not go longer than one year, and odds were good Suarez wouldn’t make it through the World Cup without making his next stupid mistake.
Even if Suarez gets off relatively easy I would expect a six-month ban, through the end of the calendar year. That would eliminate him from half of the domestic season and the entire group stage of the Champions League. By that time Liverpool will likely be battling Everton and Tottenham for fifth place rather than having designs on a championship.
The silver lining is that Liverpool can think ahead with the new domestic campaign still weeks away and the transfer window still to open. There won’t be a scoring talent like Suarez available, but the club should have funds to find either another striker or shore up its leaky defense which towards the end of last season lacked bite.
By the time the 2018 World Cup rolls around Suarez’s career will be on the downswing. He can consult with Landon Donovan on how brief someone’s reign as star of a national team can be. The world will go on confronting much larger issues.
At least Suarez knows he has left his mark on the 2014 World Cup, literally and figuratively.