Luis Suarez’s transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona is complete as the Premier League club has agreed to sell the Uruguayan striker to the Spanish giants for £63.4-£75million, depending on whether you believe sources close to Barcelona or Liverpool.
Now that the 27-year-old’s move to La Liga is history, I’m wondering how he will be remembered by the faithful supporters of the Anfield club?
Just to get this out of the way, I am a Manchester United supporter. Two of my favorite players of all time are Roy Keane and Eric Cantona. Both of these players were without question one of the greats at each of their respective positions. But neither were choir boys.
Roy Keane still hold the record for the most red cards in the history of English football, thirteen.
His most notable on-the-field incident being the knee-high challenge on Manchester City’s Alf-Inge Haaland that could have ended the Norwegian’s career (a tackle that Keane later confessed was premeditated).
While Eric Cantona, for all his footballing genius and goodwill around the world, will always be remembered for his 1995 kung-fu kick on Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons, that led to a nine-month suspension from the club; he was also sentenced to two weeks in prison, which was later reduced to 120 hours of community service.
With that said, both players were tremendous on-the-field servants while at Manchester United and are still universally admired by the club’s supporters.
Keane had a falling out with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and ended his career at Celtic. Despite the behind the scenes issues between the manager and the player, Manchester United still honored Keane with a testimonial match against his new Scottish club in May 2006.
Cantona retired from football at the age of 30 in 1997. Although this announcement surprised Manchester United supporters, the Frenchman called an end to his career after contributing to the team’s fourth championship in five years. Although his name had been linked with possible moves away from the club, Cantona held to his word that he would retire from football as a Manchester United player. “I always planned to retire when I was at the top and at Manchester United I have reached the pinnacle of my career,” Cantona said.
To this day, both players will hear their names being serenaded around the stands at Old Trafford.
Another name still heard being sung around Premier League grounds by United supporters is Cristiano Ronaldo’s.
Of course, Ronaldo never had the on-the-field issues of Keane and Cantona. But the Portuguese forward was constantly being linked with a move to Real Madrid over his final two seasons and his imminent departure was a constant source of stress amongst the club’s supporters.
Despite his desire to leave the club, United fans still hold the player close to their hearts and treat him as if he’s still a member of the club.
But I wonder if Liverpool supporters will do the same for Luis Suarez?