Luis Suarez: The Hero or Villain?

Oscar Wilde once said that the ‘only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.’ The quote epitomizes Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, who in a record breaking season has redeemed himself to the Merseyside faithful. Nearly a year ago, Suarez was labeled the ultimate footballing pariah after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The crisis threatened to consume the Uruguayan, who, aside from being given a 10 game ban by The FA, was nearly driven out of the English game. The British press went after the striker with a fierce intensity and assassinated his character in a blood thirsty manner.

Somehow he survived the media maelstrom and is now currently enjoying the best season of his career.  His resilience confirms that Luis Suarez the sinner, and the man so many people love to hate, has one the brightest futures in world soccer.

At the time of writing, Liverpool sit in second place in the Premier League and remain on the cusp of claiming their first league title in 22 years. Irrespective of whether they win the league or not, Suarez will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. It is a stage he craves and one that his talent deserves. On a personal level, things couldn’t get much better for Suarez, who will surely be the frontrunner for all the domestic ‘Player of the Year’ awards.

Suarez currently sits on 29 Premier League goals, despite only having played 27 games. The Uruguayan has arguably surpassed fellow Anfield legend Robbie Fowler for the most prolific season by a Liverpool player in the Premier League era. Prior to catching fire and finding the form of his life, Suarez had to work hard to find redemption from the Anfield faithful. In the aftermath of the infamous Ivanovic incident, he soured relations by threatening to leave Liverpool. Those tense times are now a distant memory and Suarez is once again one of the fan favorites. The Kop have shown their capacity to forgive and forget the transgressions of the past. Although forgiving is easier when the talent is elite and the future seems promising.

Unfortunately, many within the soccer world are unable or unwilling to move on. In the eyes of his detractors, his reputation will be forever tarnished by the unsavory racism saga involving Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and the biting debacles he has twice been involved in his career.

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