Let me start by saying that Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz is a wonderful footballer. He’s not the best finisher in the business but is fantastically skilful, has exceptional movement and has natural pace and poise to go with it. When in possession he reminds me of the aura Zinedine Zidane used to have in his pomp. That rare ability where the ball and boot have magnetic qualities or they seem to have this invisible shield protecting them from tackles or challenges. On these skills alone he should be revered throughout the whole game and talked up as one of the games potential greats, but unfortunately for young Luis the talking points he conjures up aren’t about his abilities as a footballer.
Luis Suarez’s main problem is that there is another Luis Suarez messing things up for him. An evil Luis Suarez. A racist Luis Suarez. A Luis Suarez who dives and cheats. A Luis Suarez who’s a target of an FA/Man United Sponsored witch-hunt. A Luis Suarez who appeals for everything and feels hard done by when he gets nothing in return. A Luis Suarez who’s either too stupid to realise his actions manipulate a bunch of parochial supporters who specialise in injustice or a cunning Luis Suarez who knows exactly what he’s doing and has finally found a club where he can indulge in the worst sides of the game and get the full support for doing it.
But we can trace the story of Good and Evil Luis Suarez back to their respective childhoods in Uruguay. They were both born the 24th January 1987 (The same day Tony Cottee scored a hat-trick for West Ham at Coventry). They both grew up in the same town of Salto some 308 miles north west of the capital Montevideo. They were both the 4th of seven brothers, both moved to Montevideo at the age of 7, both their parents seperated. They both impressed the local football scouts and both at the age of 14 signed signed for Nacional. When Good Luis Suarez was injured at the age of 15, Evil Luis Suarez took his place and headbutted a referee. Shortly after this whilst Good Luis Suarez was at home drinking cocoa and playing scrabble, Evil Luis Suarez was out partying and getting drunk. Even worse than this though was that Evil Luis Suarez had seen Single White Female on VHS and decided to match his appearance exactly on Good Luis Suarez.
When they both turned 19 some Dutch scouts from Groningen spotted good Luis Suarez scoring wonder goals and signed him for 800,000 Euros. The only stumbling block was good Luiz Suarez, ever the good Samaritan insisting on a clause in his new contract that evil Luis Suarez had to come with him to Holland else the deal was off. Groningen agreed and admired his humanity whilst being sceptical about evil Luis Suarez being on their books as well. The clause stated that must always stay together and the evil Luis Suarez would automatically replace the good Luis Suarez if he was injured. But their fears we unfounded, rumours of a Groningen player being a part of the local Bong and Blintz scene were largely unsubstantiated and good Luis Suarez started to impress the Dutch football world. His haul of 10 goals in 29 games brought him to the attention of Ajax. The clause from Nacional to Groningen still existed and knowing this Ajax put a cheeky bid of 3.5 million Euros in for the pair of them. Good Luis Suarez was happy but then Evil Luis Suarez decided that Groningen needed to be punished for not accepting this reasonable bid and decided that they went straight to the KNVB arbitration panel. It backfired on Suarez and Suarez and the KNVB ruled against them. Ajax had no choice but to up their bid to 7.5 million Euros instead. Good Luis Suarez donated his extra signing on fee to a local dog charity and told evil Luis Suarez to behave himself.
The young and innocent Luis Suarez at FC Groningen. Hoe zegt je Chipmunk in Nederlands?
At Ajax the young and raw good Luis Suarez received expert tutelage from the likes of Marco Van Basten, Frank De Boer, Henk ten Cate and Dennis Bergkamp. He took on board the advice and set up a fantastic partnership with Klaas Van Huntelaar. A partnership that brought goals in abundance. Evil Luis Suarez was either stuck in the reserves or trawling the city’s red light district in search of love. They both were selected in the Uruguay 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Good Luis Suarez stole the show displaying his abundant natural ability while evil Luis Suarez was forced to go on “Meet and Greet” tours of the local Townships were he told local residents “to smile a bit more so he could actually see them”. However in the quarter final with Ghana, good Luis Suarez was injured again and evil Luis Suarez replaced him and played well. He even made a terrific penalty save even though he wasn’t really supposed to be the goalkeeper. He got a red card and worldwide disgust in return for the “save of the tournament”. Injustice.
Yet more trouble occurred on the 20th November 2010 good Luis Suarez was injured and replaced by evil Luis Suarez for the match against PSV Eindhoven. A match where he was dubbed the “Cannibal of Ajax” for biting the shoulder of Otman Baakal. Good Luis Suarez watched from the director’s box shaking his head. “So soon after Ghana, people are going to think I’m him, I’ll never get my dream move to the Premiership at this rate” he was heard to murmur to himself. He later hacked Evil Luis Suarez’s Facebook account and posted an apologetic video on his behalf.
But get a dream move he did. To a small English club down on it’s luck and the 2nd biggest team in Liverpool. The good Samaritan in him coming to the fore again. But by now good Luis Suarez was regretting that good Samaritan clause in the initial contract he signed at Groningen and really wanted shot of the referee head-butting, shoulder-biting and shot-stopping ball and chain stopping him being a better person. He deliberated and deliberated but Evil Luis was very persuasive. “The good people of Liverpool will understand me” he said. “You’re problems are over, fear not good Luis Suarez”.
So sign for Liverpool he did. He was very proud that he was the club’s new record signing at £22.8 million pounds. He went to bed full of pride and tucked up in his new club duvet but then woke up to find that he wasn’t the club’s record signing any longer. Andy Carroll had arrived and was worth £12.2 million pounds more than Luis. Feeling injustice he went on a 3 day bender with evil Luis Suarez who offered to teach him all of the dirty tricks of the trade in order to help him combat Andy Carroll, his new nemesis. He taught him advanced cheating, diving, constant appealing for nothing, feigning injury, looks of abject injustice, intermediate lying and basic casual “Uruguayan buddy” racism. Feeling he could do no more, evil Luis Suarez took a jet plane from John Lennon Airport to Montevideo via Madrid citing homesickness.
However he returned to Liverpool just in time for the clash with Manchester United. Good Luis Suarez was in good form and good humour. He bumped into Patrice Evra. “How are you Patrice?” he said cheerfully. “Good, Luis. Drink afterwards?” said Patrice. “I’m not a big drinker really” said Luis. “How about a coffee then Luis, how do you like it?” said Patrice, winking. Suarez laughed, pointed at Patrice and said “Black, like you”. A roar from the crowd drowned this out. “You what?” asked Patrice. “Ok a little bit black” said Luis toning down his initial joke. The crowd roared again. “Who’s a little bit black?” asked Patrice looking a bit miffed. Seeing the confusion in his eyes Luis switched to Spanish, as he hoped that Patrice would understand that better. “Little black, little black” he kept saying in Spanish. Evra looked very confused but then found out from a spanish speaking team-mate exactly what he said and to be fair to Patrice he’d only asked him a question about coffee not ethnicity. He expected this sort of thing it from Serbian team-mate Nemanja Vidic but not from a sophisticated Uruguayan of mixed descent and so reported this to the relevant authorities (The FA and the Manchester United Board of Conspiracy Against Scousers).
Luis couldn’t believe it. “What have I done wrong”? Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish backed him up, as did his adoring fans. The FA and MUBCAS deliberated over this and promptly found him guilty of racist abuse. He was banned for 8 games and fined a lot of pesos. Harsh indeed. They would’ve understood him in Uruguay. Luckily for Luis he’d found a small piece of Uruguay in the north of England.
By the time the return match came around his manager had stoked the flames nicely, re-affirming his innocence but strangely not choosing to appeal against what the FA/MUBCAS decided. Good Luis Suarez decided to ask Evil Luis Suarez to masquerade as him for the day as he didn’t want to be the scapegoat of evil and the target for all abuse. “Just make sure that you shake Evra’s hand, it won’t rub off” he told evil Luis Suarez. “Don’t worry, I’ll play it by the book”. He didn’t of course. Good Luis Suarez winced as he avoided the handshake. At least he gave Patrice one chance to cripple him. King Kenny, unaware of the Doppelgänger situation said he wasn’t to blame but good Luis Suarez decided to apologise anyway for something he personally didn’t do.
By the end of the season he had to play with Andy Carroll, who found a bit of form. In order to be top dog, the diving got worse, the appeals louder and the feigning of injuries got more frequent. The Kop, bless them, lapped it up as they love someone who battles the system. By the start of next season King Kenny had been replaced, Andy Carroll had left and he was still innocent. But he had little to fear from his new manager. The diving could continue. “Work on the percentages Luis” Brendan told him at Melwood. “Dive around all over the place and I’ll get on the blower to Mike Riley”. Luis looked sceptical “Do you really think this will work Senor Rodgers?” “I dunno Luis, but I’m gambling on the youth team to keep me in a job for a bit longer and anything’s worth a go. Besides the Kop will lap it up”. But for Luis it’s proving to be a vicious circle. The more he dives, the more the Manchester United sponsored referees give against him, but in for a peso, in for a pound. Liverpool expects.
Joking apart, which is most of the above apart from one or two salient points, I find it a crying shame that most people outside of the red half of Liverpool think he’s a horrible, cheating, racist piece of shit but can anyone really blame us for thinking that way? The irony of the song sang at him up and down the country is that Luis Suarez doesn’t know who he is, otherwise he would change wouldn’t he? But can he though? Frankly I doubt it. To be fair to Rodgers, even though he’s beginning to grate on me, he’s not got another card to play on Luis Suarez behalf except highlight that amidst all the diving, cheating and appealing there’s probably at least 10-15% of offences committed against him aren’t being punished. A Liverpool supporting Torquay United friend yesterday told me at Wycombe that “it’s ok for the referees to be unprofessional is it?”. The problem is that it’s more complicated than that. If I was a referee I would wonder about every decision I had to make on Suarez, but that would take ages (more than a few seconds) and the poor refs have only got a split second to call it. The problem for Senor Suarez that it takes no time at all to build up a certain reputation but it takes so much longer to get rid of it. He knows what he’s doing does Suarez and by now so do the more savvy defenders who will try to encourage the referee to think that he has dived. The vicous circle.
But perhaps there is salvation. It was interesting to see Stephen Gerrard take the matter into his own hands the other night against Udinese. Suarez tried to take a quick free kick, he couldn’t because a Udinese player stood right on the ball. Suarez appealed and appealed, the game continued and Gerrard firmly shoved Suarez to remind him to get on with the game. More of this please Mr Gerrard.