Suarez Is Suarez's Problem

Luis Suarez is feeling sorry for himself. The Uruguayan striker says that he’s been “persecuted” England, and he adds that he’s “not prepared to keep on putting up with the English journalists”.

Well, Luis, want to guess who has no problem putting up with the British press? You’re rival for the Premier League Golden Boot this year, Robin Van Persie.

You know what Van Persie doesn’t do? He doesn’t bite people. He doesn’t racially abuse people. He doesn’t dive, he doesn’t cheat, and he doesn’t complain about the aftermath of diving and cheating afterwards.

Suarez wants to move to Real Madrid, and while Liverpool, Real, and Suarez’s agent play ring-around-the-rosy with the prolific striker’s future, Suarez should spend a good, long while thinking about the newspapers that cover Real. He should spend a good, long time thinking about the AS and the Marca – because it isn’t just the English press that has a problem with cannibalism.

It’s hard to tell at this point if Suarez is done with Liverpool and the English press. If reports in Spain are to be believed, Suarez has already agreed to a contract with Real Madrid, and wants to move to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Liverpool have emphatically stated that their most prized asset is not for sale.

It makes sense. Liverpool have always stood behind Suarez, even during the striker’s darkest times. During the Patrice Evra racism scandal, Liverpool backed their man, just as they did after he tried to consume Branislav Ivanovic’s upper arm. Through the flurry of outrage and disbelief, Liverpool have driven Suarez through the storm.

The way the striker is repaying his club? He’s trying to leave. They might value loyalty and gratitude in Spain too, just a wild guess.

Suarez’s rap sheet is extensive, and his misdeeds well documented. In his comments yesterday, Suarez also said that “I have fought too hard since I was a child to get where I am to let some journalists batter me in an unfair way. They don't judge me as a player; only for my attitude. They speak about me like they have known me all my life.”

Suarez has been judged as a player. He’s a great player – he has terrific skill, he’s a superb finisher, and one of the top forwards in the world. It’s hard to find a person anywhere who denies Suarez’s footballing talent.

It’s also hard to find a person anywhere who can completely disassociate Suarez the footballer with Suarez the person, sense so many of Suarez’s indiscretions have come while he was playing. His (illegal) cameo appearance as a goalkeeper for Uruguay against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup? When it went array, when Suarez was sent off and Ghana had what was sure to be the game-winning penalty, he was full of sadness and remorse.

As soon as Asamoah Gyan sent that penalty ringing off the crossbar, Suarez celebrated wildly. He got away with his crime.

Remember, Suarez had problems way before he got to Anfield. At Ajax, Suarez was suspended for getting into a fight with a teammate at halftime of a match, and Suarez’s last on-field contribution to the club was biting Otman Bakkal of PSV.

At Liverpool, Suarez’s racial abuse of Evra was disgraceful enough, but the fact that Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand after the incident – not the abused refusing to shake the abusers’ hand, but the other way around – was nothing short of despicable.

In April, he bit an opposing player, again. Not only is this disturbing behavior for a soccer player, who is seen as a hero by so many, it’s disturbing behavior for a human. Suarez needs help.

Liverpool would be wise to cash in on Suarez. The 40 million pound fee that is being bandied about would be a fantastic return on a player the club purchased for 22 million pounds. By selling him now, Liverpool would have ample to find his replacement and use the profit from his sale to strengthen the squad in other positions.

Besides, don’t Liverpool want Suarez out of town anyway? The club have obstinately defended Suarez too many times. He’s said he wants to leave. It’s time for Liverpool to say good riddance.

I don’t know if Real Madrid know what they’re getting themselves into. As a club that is very concerned about reputation, and a club that knows it has had it’s good name muddied by the actions of Jose Mourinho this season, Florentino Perez must know it’s a risk to bring Suarez aboard. But the allure of Suarez’s goals has proven to great to resist.

The reality of the matter is, as long as Suarez keeps producing, he’ll always have a place at the top of the game. It just won’t be a comfortable place.

Suarez wants to go to Real Madrid, and the move looks likely to happen. I just don’t know why Suarez thinks changing teams and changing countries will solve all his problems. He won’t be starting with a clean slate. It’s not like news from England doesn’t get to Spain.

Suarez can leave Liverpool, the club that have thrown you a life-line again and again, and he can play for Real Madrid. But until Suarez understands this, nothing will ever change. The problem isn’t the English media. It’s him.

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