As the red mist descended upon Patrice Evra in Saturday’s game between Manchester United and Liverpool, it was apparently Luis Suarez who had angered the Frenchman. At the time of writing it is unclear whether Evra’s allegations of racism are true.
Yet what is clear is that Luis Suarez is sheer entertainment. Whether you love the guy, whether you hate him – He is an asset to our league.
Suarez is a man who will always be volatile in his play. His actions, which are considered reprehensible, have covered putting his hands up to save his team from exiting the 2010 World cup, and back in his Dutch days, actually biting an opposing player’s face. It is these actions which have supposedly angered every non-Liverpool fan and even raised a few die-hard Scousers eyebrows at the same time.
But come on. An old-fashioned wind-up merchant is paramount to a successful league, no?
Suarez plays with his heart on his sleeve. He is a perfectly unpredictable player: he can work the goal keeper with both feet, trying to quell his movement is (I’d imagine) like trying to grab hold of the wind, and his dribbling and often incisive passes rival that of the best playmakers in the league.
And his unpredictability is something which carries into his persona. He is utterly, utterly charismatic, something which is lost on many footballers nowadays. He brings a certain glow to whichever ground he plays at.
There are those who call for his erratic behaviour to be quelled. I am one who calls for it to remain. The way everyone has started to despise him, the way the extent of his awareness has actually included leaving a foot out to gain a penalty when his back was actually facing the challenger. There is a part of me that wants someone to go over to Luis Suarez, take a good old fashioned swing at his nose and then carry him off the field and place him in the Everton fans stand to be pelted with eggs by Liverpool’s fierce rivals.
But that’s the beauty of a player who is devilishly sneaky. He makes you feel – his biting of the face of an opposing player is so morally wrong it’s untrue but it’s also captivating. And there is a part of me that likes him for making me stand on my feet and launch a tirade at him, or jump off the sofa with my pulse racing when everyone swarms around him ready to rip his eyes out.
Parallels can be drawn for other players of yesteryear. Maradona was sneaky, erratic yet intriguingly and blisteringly brilliant when he played. At the 2010 World Cup I wanted to dislike him but all his unorthodox signing of the crosses and the way he kissed the players as they came off the field is just too hilariously insane to disregard. And Suarez is the same – like Cantona, like Inzaghi, you shouldn’t like them but you end up loving their madcap antics.
They become part of the furniture – if they change their behaviour you can’t help but long for what they used to be because it has become familiar. They are characters in a game which is often too sanitized. And what’s more is they know the line that must not be crossed. Carlos Tevez’ recent refusal to play, while enjoyably dramatic and disgraceful at the same time, was the epitome of how the modern day lifestyle of a footballer can make the player become everything that is wrong with the game.
Suarez, however, looks to have fallen in love with Liverpool as much as Liverpool has fallen in love with him.
What is also important to note is the fiercer the hate for Luis Suarez becomes, the closer the Liverpool fans will become attached to him. If the world seemingly hates one of your players you return with your own barrel-full of vitriol, it makes you stand firm and defend your man. The way Liverpool fans will eventually become accustomed to the hatred which comes his way will be admirable.
And so here’s to Luis Suarez. I love and hate him at the same time. But one thing is sure – he will always provide us with entertainment with his football, or entertainment with his charisma.