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Why Luis Suarez Is A Villain Of The Game

Soccer has always had heroes and villains. It is all part of the show, particularly in the commercialized world of today. Often a player can be viewed as a hero by one person and a villain by another, depending on which team they support. But there are certain times when club rivalries are put to one side. Times when supporters can do nothing but admire one of their opponents. And times when a player acts so disgracefully that even his own team’s fans struggle to support him.

After Team GB’s recent 1-0 victory over Uruguay at the Olympics, Luis Suarez claimed he was angry at the supporters who booed during his country’s national anthem. The booing, however, only occurred when the Liverpool forward’s face appeared on the big screen. Suarez was quoted as saying that he believed the reception he received was down to the crowd’s “fear” of him. ‘Pure hatred’ may have been more accurate.

When people mention Luis Suarez, the first incident that comes to mind is the messy racism affair involving Patrice Evra. But this certainly wasn’t the first time the Uruguayan had caused controversy.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw Ghana become only the third African team in history to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition, gaining admiration from neutrals across the globe as they did so. They would now face a Uruguay team including Diego Forlan, Edinson Cavani and, of course, Luis Suarez. After former Man United striker Forlan had equalised for La Celeste in the second half, the Black Stars went inches away from winning the game in extra time. What prevented Dominic Adiyiah’s header going into the net, however, was Luis Suarez, who handled the ball on the line and was subsequently sent off. Had Asamoah Gyan gone on to convert the last-minute penalty, winning the match and making Ghana the first ever African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals, the incident may have been forgotten. But the country’s hopes and dreams were crushed as they watched the striker miss the opportunity, his spot kick striking the crossbar and Ghana ultimately being knocked out in a penalty shootout.

The actual handball was not the most despicable part of the act. After all, it is important to remember what was at stake here. And, despite it being totally immoral, who could honestly say they would not have instinctively done the same to help keep their team in the game?  Where Suarez completely abandoned his morals, however, was when he went on to run around in celebration as Ghana missed the penalty, in the knowledge that his dishonest play had cost the African side the game. After the match, the Uruguayan would lose whatever respect people had left for him, as he arrogantly proclaimed: “I made the save of the tournament. The ‘Hand of God’ now belongs to me.”

Later that year, the then-Ajax forward went on to show his animalistic nature by biting an opponent in a game against PSV. Midfielder Otman Bakkal was the victim of Suarez’s unorthodox attack, as the Uruguayan gracelessly planted his teeth into the Dutchman’s shoulder. Perhaps Suarez could be forgiven for his actions at the World Cup, as he continued to provide little evidence that he was capable of behaving like a decent human being.

But the aspect of Suarez’s game that infuriates people most is the cheating that he gets away with. Fans may have indescribable bitterness towards players who score against their team, but usually this is only temporary and all is forgotten by the time they come up against their next opponents.  They realize that the players are essentially just doing their jobs and that, as much as it may upset them, there is no ill feeling towards them as fans.  But when a player tries to bend the rules to gain an advantage, it creates a sense of injustice. This makes it personal to the fans, who are not likely to forget about the player’s actions any time soon.

An example of this is the view of Suarez by Everton fans. From the moment he signed for the Toffees’ bitter rivals Liverpool, the Uruguayan forward probably had little chance of being seen as anything other than a villain. But just to confirm this, in his first derby match Suarez would commit the heinous crime of having a fellow player undeservedly sent off, rolling around on the floor after being fairly challenged for the ball by Jack Rodwell. The Everton midfielder was immediately given his marching orders by referee Martin Atkinson, with the decision clearly encouraged by Suarez’s play-acting. Whilst the club’s successful appeal against the dismissal proved Rodwell’s innocence, it could do little to change anything about the 2-0 defeat that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Evertonians.

His compatriots and Liverpool fans stand by him. It would be wrong to expect any different of them. After all, whenever somebody pulls on your team’s shirt you should give them nothing but support. But are there really people who can happily accept cheating from their own players?

High-profile cases of diving in recent years have involved players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba and Ashley Young, all world class players with a tremendous amount of skill. Luis Suarez is no different, and the biggest shame of the situation is that these professionals have talent others can only dream of, yet they resort to such trickery and deception in every game.

Luis Suarez may not appreciate the jeers from supporters, but if that is how he chooses to play the game then he must accept the criticism that comes his way.  Because it is thoroughly deserved.

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  1. Andrei

    August 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Luis Suarez is “a villain of the game” is because football fans want one. Because people in media business know all too well that soap operas with their villains and heroes, cinderellas and evil step-mothers sell. Luis Suarez is the villain of EPL because he is such a convenient target. He is a foreigner from South America, sudeca in Evra’s speak. He is a greasy one he is supposed to be a racist and a diving cheater. Focusing on his personal shortcomings lets media and fans forget about John Terry an Rio Ferdinand’s racial shenanigans. It lets them ignore Gareth Bale’s diving antics.

    • Frill Artist

      August 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      You can stop kissing up to Suarez now.

  2. Savory

    August 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

    He’s welcome to his opinion. I just don’t think that players need any more demonization than they already get from the print publications. It just gets out of control and the league and the sport is poorer for it.

  3. Bishopville Red

    August 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

    What are you on about??? Ashley Young is not world class.

  4. James

    August 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Everyone should be outraged at the booing during the playing of the Uruguayan national anthem and the booing of Suarez because it happened at the Olympics. It goes against what the Olympics stand for. I’m glad some journalists in Britain voiced their displeasure of what happened during the Uruguay vs Team GB game regarding the booing.

    Outside the Olympics I have no problem with the booing during games except it should not happen during the playing of the national anthem.

  5. Brandon

    August 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Dredging up muck from years ago just because a player was booed during his national anthem and had the nerve to be upset about it?

    Pretty blatant hate bating and vaguely irresponsible, and does it amount to anything more than partisan xenophobic hypocrisy? I thought EPL Talk was above this. Maybe page hits have been low? Pretty disappointed. The man paid his time.

    • The Gaffer

      August 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      Brandon, that’s not the case at all. It’s a relevant topic given Suarez’s outrage about the booing.

      The Gaffer

      • The Gaffer

        August 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

        Brandon, if EPL Talk was trying to get pageviews, I would be writing about transfer gossip and rumors all day, which is something we don’t cover.

        The Gaffer

      • Michael

        August 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm

        I too am disappointed that the main story on EPL talk is a bitter hit piece on Suarez. He is booed the entire match and comes out with comments that he just wants it to stop. EPL talk then feels the need to publish an entire article bashing him? No class at all.

        • The Gaffer

          August 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm

          EPL Talk is an independent site that publishes opinionated articles from soccer bloggers, journalists and fans from around the world. Since they’re opinions, I don’t expect everyone to agree with them all the time.

          The Gaffer

        • Mufc77

          August 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm

          Maybe it will stop when Liverpool fans stop booing Evra, remember him he was the real victim in this but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Also let’s not forget suarez wasn’t even man enough to apologize to Patrice Evra after saying he expected an apology from Evra when he was found not guilty.

          As for booing during the anthem I didn’t see it but I don’t agree with that at all, no need to disrespect the whole country because of one man.

  6. ThompsonLives

    August 2, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Ah, MUfc77. Successful troll is successful.

  7. Nick

    August 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I’m a huge Liverpool fan, and I will support anyone who wears the kit. However, I certainly wouldn’t mind if we sold Suarez to Juventus or Milan. He just doesn’t represent the club with any sort of class, despite being an absolutely fantastic player with impeccable technique. Even though he was the best player on the team last year, just not worth it. Liverpool is better than that.

    • cnl. onions

      August 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      What specifically bothers you about him?

      • Nonsense

        August 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

        I would have to say probably the fact he bites players, dives, uses terms to demean black players, and refused to shake hands. Basically a bad guy.

  8. Jon

    August 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Couple things.

    1) Suarez was punished for the Evra incident for telling the truth, as he felt it was not racist in intent. Call him naive but obviously he was not expecting the punishment handed down as he would not admit openly to saying the word in question otherwise.
    2) While the handshake incident was bad, it was overblown by all. Its a handshake, and Evra did little to cover himself in glory after that game. Lets not prop him up as a paragon of virtue.
    3) The handball incident was exactly what many players would do, he just admitted it. Again, if we are judging him for being a villian, perhaps we should acknowledge his honesty in his public comments.
    4) His “diving” is much like other players, sometimes too much, but also sometimes overblown. The Rodwell incident was not nearly as serious as it is being made out to be. Watch the clip (I just did), he grabbed his leg, fell down and stayed down, but he did not engage in the wild waving of the arms, pointing, shouting or screaming, nor does Martin Atkinson actually look at him before pulling out the red card. I have seen far worse from great players (Ronaldo, Nani, Ashley Young, etc).
    5) Liverpool did poorly handle the situation, even if they believe and want to support Suarez they needed to be more diplomatic. It was not simply a matter of “support our player to the hilt” vs “not support him at all.” That was the failure of Dalglish and the club.
    6) Suarez is immature, and needs to understand the public reaction to his actions. He is very guilty in these scenarios but the reality is also less than “he is pure evil and should take 1000% of the blame” mentality that prevails. All of these situations involve reviewing with context, and the other people involved.
    7) He is right, if he was not good, people would eventually stop caring. That is a sports truth.

    That all being said, I will continue to root for him as a Liverpool player, not necessarily a person, or a role model, just a player. I am far from the only one, and we are not the only club supporters who root for a player who has done poor things. Chelsea will continue to root for John Terry, Stuart Pearce was consistently loved by English supporters and Eric Cantona was a legend at Man U, yet he kicked a fan in the chest. Its the reality of humans, some are the salt of the earth and some are scum, and many fall in the middle.

    • declan

      August 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Great comment man enjoyed reading it, very good points.

      • Jon

        August 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm

        Thanks I appreciate that. Its interesting for me to read all the English papers and the reaction to Suarez and the whole saga, living in American there is definitely a different viewpoint about these types of situations, not better nor worse just different. I wonder how this would be handled in Spain, or Germany or South America. I know that the USA we will castigate a star athlete until he has hit professional rock bottom, but then we will just as quickly root for him after he shows contrition or the ability to thrive despite the controversey. We almost enjoy the scandals sometimes and appreciate someone who performs while embroiled in one. (See: LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, among many others).

    • Pat

      August 3, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Great post Jon.

  9. Andre

    August 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    The stuff with Evra was awful, and the biting incident was insane and uncalled for, but if you are really bothered by what happened against Ghana in the World Cup you are an idiot. A handball there is just like taking a foul to stop a player from getting a shot on goal. Suarez intentionally stopped the ball with his hand, got a red card, and walked off the field.

    If their best striker had been able to hit a target 8 feet high and 24 feet wide from 12 paces away they would have gone through anyway. That Ghana lost that game is on them, not Suarez. And honestly if you had just booked your place in a World Cup semi-final wouldn’t you celebrate with your teammates?

    • Mufc77

      August 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Sometimes there is such a thing as a “good red card” just ask Ole Gunnar solskjar. Even though SAF said what he did was wrong in public you can bet he was the first to tell him “well done” after the match with Newcastle all those years ago.

  10. Mufc77

    August 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    What Liverpool fc failed to grasp is that they could still have backed Luis the racist Suarez after the verdict and still save face. A simple statement accepting the FAs verdict and punishment yet they would still support suarez when he returned would have ended things but no Liverpool had to play the victims as usual and Luis the racist Suarez is still doing it 6 months later.

    • cnl. onions

      August 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      It’s kind of ironic that you call him “luis the racist suarez” since your own club admitted that wasn’t true and you, yourself are actually acting racist.

  11. tonys

    August 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Context certainly matters.

    The two players then become involved in a heated argument, in Spanish:

    PE: F—— hell, why did you kick me?

    LS: Because you’re black.

    PE: Say it to me again, I’m going to kick you.

    LS: I don’t speak to blacks.

    PE: OK, now I think I’m going to punch you.

    LS: OK, blackie, blackie, blackie.

    As Suárez is speaking, he pinches Evra’s left forearm. As referee Andre Marriner stops play, Suárez uses the term “negro” to Evra again, prompting an angry reaction from Evra, who tells Marriner he has been racially abused.

  12. Mufc77

    August 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    The only thing worse than the Liverpool players and management who shamefully backed Luis “the racist” Suarez is the is the Liverpool fans who continue to say he did nothing wrong, Shankley would be turning in his grave.

    As for his handball at the WC I never had a problem with that or him celebrating after Ghana missed the penalty, but bragging about it after the game just goes to show you what a idiot he is.

    And nobody fears Luis the racist suarez simply because on last seasons form he couldn’t score in Whore house with a bunch of $100 bills. Players like Aguero, RVP, Rooney are feared Suarez not so much.

    • tonys

      August 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      It’s because they’re racists. If Rooney said the N-word, as a MU fan, I’d be all for punishment.

    • Clampdown

      August 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Yep, a guy who is part black himself is a racist in your mind because he used a term frequently employed in South America to address another person. Meanwhile, Rio thinks Cashley is a “choc ice”, we all know what Terry said, Chicharito tweets that another players is “negrito” and that’s OK by many, and Stuart Pearce racially abused Paul Ince, yet is now cheered. But Suarez is the racist. Suarez is guilty. The hypocrisy of English football supporters knows no bounds.

      Despite all of that, I would agree, Suarez is an idiot and has done many things to deserve being called that.

      • Nonsense

        August 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

        Clampdown – are you from South America? Exactly so stop acting like you know what the term is. It most definitely can be used in a dirogatory way in countries there, it’s all about context and intent. Has Chicharito ever been accused of calling another player that during a game on English soil – never and never would. If you think for one second during that game that Suarez used a term of endearment to Evra you’re crazy. The fact that he has a grandfather who is ‘black’ DOES NOT mean he himself cannot be a racist. You’re dellusional. There are things such as self-hate, not being proud of your heritage, etc. Get over it. The man has bitten someone, demeaned a player by using a word he knew would be offensive, refused to shake hands and then lashes out at others for booing an all-around bad guy.

        • Clampdown

          August 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

          How would you know whether or not I’m from South America. I’ve never said either way.

          I never claimed he used it as a term of endearment. You should know this, as we have gone back and forth on this before. It is used as a term of familiarity, like “mate” in England. I know Americans and the English have a hard time understanding this. There was a Brown University professor from Montevideo who laid out in great detail why Suarez could not say what he is claimed to have said as well as the language distinctions (I was looking for the link but can’t find it. If someone else does, please post it).

          I find it odd they you are now accusing Suarez of self-hate. He sure is an easy target. But what do you really know about him.

          Also, as I’ve said, he’s done a lot of dumb things. I don’t blame people for not liking him. I do think booing him during the Olympics runs counter to the spirit of the Olympics, though.

          • Nonsense

            August 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

            Clampdown – I can say with absolute certainty you are not from any county in South America (if you say you are you would be lying – be honest) by the way you describe the meaning and that it is only a term like ‘mate’. To say this would be incorrect. There are many countries in South America where darker skin latinos are treated with prejudice. Another way to look at it is if he called a white player while arguing whitey. Contenxt and intent!

  13. Matt

    August 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I know Suarez is a “villian”…but booing a player at the Olympics? Come on…

  14. PaulF

    August 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    lets be honest, Evra did slightly put his hand down right before shaking Suarez’ hand. Although Suarez is stupid for falling for it anyway.

  15. Michael

    August 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Pathetic article. Compared to United and Chelsea players, Suarez really doesn’t dive that much. In the whole ‘racism’ saga, it is Evra, United, and Fergie that are the bad guys. Suarez didn’t do anything wrong. It’s hilarious to met that if you’re English you can intentionally break somebodies leg (Shawcross) and ruin a career (Ramsey’s not the same) and the England public defends you and says “he’s not that kind of player” and you get a 3 game ban. But because of a word that you say that is totally acceptable in your culture, you get 8 games?? Words shouldn’t be punished period unless they threaten violence.
    I loved when Suarez celebrated after Ghana missed the penalty. He had real emotion and wasn’t scared to show it, exactly what I would have done. The real “villain” in this whole mess is the English fans. You guys really need to grow up on that island and do some critical thinking.

    • Fernando

      August 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Is that why Dalglish regretted his actions during the saga after it happened? I mean he would have no reason to do so if he thought Liverpool Football Club handled the situation as best they could.

      First of all your assertion that the English public backed Shawcross make no sense considering Arsenal are also an English club with English fans. There is no sound logic in that statement at all.

      As we know now, it is not acceptable to use the word Suarez did in England.

      What exactly did Sir Alex Ferguson do wrong in this episode? Back his player like Dalglish did?

      • Michael

        August 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm

        Are you kidding? Arsenal are going to back their own club and players obviously. So yes, that does make sense. I couldn’t comprehend even having a thought as dumb as that. The majority of England backed Shawcross even when he had a CLEAR track record of seriously injuring people in the past.

        If anything it was racism by the FA and the English public for how they treated Suarez.

        Why does it matter what Dalglish felt after the saga? We aren’t talking about Dalglish, he could feel something that isn’t true. The one thing Dalglish did right last season was how he handled the Suarez saga.

        Ferguson didn’t stop at his player. He launched an attack of Suarez, and said that Dalglish was fired because of the whole saga, which was a ridiculous statement.

        • Fernando

          August 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

          How Dalglish/Liverpool acted has a lot to do with how Suarez is seen now. I mean if you can’t see that then I can’t really illustrate that clearer. Suarez did something wrong and followed it up by not shaking Evra’s hand, in turn only adding more fuel to an already combustible situation.

          Based on what evidence did the majority of the English public back Shawcross? You find the public opinion polls and I’ll say you’re right. Your initial comment on this is so baseless as to bugger belief.

          “If anything it was racism by the FA and the English public for how they treated Suarez.”

          I see a logical discussion is impossible with you based on that statement.

          • Michael

            August 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm

            So because Liverpool backed their own player, it has made him become more of a villain is what your saying. If that even is true, it would just reflect even more pathetically on the English public.

            Let’s not forget that it was Evra that got the yellow card in the incident on the field. Evra has always been a dirty player that couldn’t keep his mouth shut. As an Arsenal fan, I’ve longed for the day when someone gives him a dose of what he deserves.

            I sincerely believe that if Suarez was of European nationality then he wouldn’t have got such a harsh penalty, which is racism. Terry still hasn’t been punished. He was “tried” and got off the hook. If any punishment from the FA happens it will be months from now. In regards to Shawcross, it was pretty evident at the time from reading articles, listening to phone ins, and by comments by English coaches themselves that he was backed by the majority. You resorting to asking for public opinion polls proves that you can’t win the argument intellectually.

          • Michael

            August 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

          • Fernando

            August 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm


            So based on some media you saw, that gave you the notion that EVERYONE/majority in England back edShawcross. Got it.

            The patron saint of Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish, admitted this situation could’ve been handled better by him and the club. Now if you want to discount his own opinion of this and then you’ve got blinder on. I mean if Dalglish says this don’t you think that validates the media backlash that the club took?

            If you want to call wearing ridiculous t-shirts in support of one player, while lashing out at Evra before the evidence was heard, then thats support I hope no club ever copies again.

    • tonys

      August 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Just because it is totally acceptable in your culture doesn’t make it racist. If a premier league player was from the American South and his parents were in the KKK and he called Evra a N— would that make it acceptable because he heard it all his life? I’m tired of the acceptability argument. If you run a red light in Britain and you come from the Caribbean would you be able to argue “it is acceptable where I am from”? When in Rome, do as the Romans.

      Your statement, “As an Arsenal fan, I’ve longed for the day when someone gives him a dose of what he deserves.” disqualifies you from making any logical, rational defense of Suarez.

      It doesn’t matter what John Terry did. You are again avoiding the facts that Suarez did wrong according to European law. If I am speeding and a police stops me can I point at the 5 other speeding cars and say “That’s no fair, you didn’t stop them” ? No, because wrong is wrong, even if other people have done it and gotten away with it.

      Your arguments have all be strawman or some other kind of logical fallacy up til now.

      • Clampdown

        August 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        Yes, he’s guilty of being ignorant. Suarez did not call Evra the N word. You are distorting what happened.

        • nico

          August 3, 2012 at 6:19 am

          Then y did he say he sed the n- word and in his contry its fine wake and smell the bull crap u talking!!!

        • Nonsense

          August 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

          Clampdown – nothing was distorted the comparisons and were spot on. Suarez was wrong, his club disgraced itself (Liverpool chose to back a proven cheat and a guy who bites other guys) in the wake of the incident, and he’s ignorant not because he didn’t know better but because HE DID KNOW BETTER. Suarez has played in Europe for years. Suarez is an idiot…end of story.

      • Michael

        August 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

        No, they haven’t. Why don’t you point one fallacy out? Go take a logic class then come back to me. What is the difference between manslaughter and murder? Oh yeah, intent. They are punished very differently.

        We’re not talking about if what he did was wrong according to English law. That much is obvious, and he served his punishment and expressed remorse. We’re talking about whether he is a “villain” or not. I personally don’t think that words should be punished unless they threaten violence in any capacity.

        Why does my statement disqualify me from making a rational defense of Suarez? You can’t say that without saying WHY that is the case. In fact, I have already made numerous logical and rational defenses of Suarez that neither you nor Fernando have been able to address. You’re making this too easy for me.

  16. Fernando

    August 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Have to say that this piece is fairly measured in its criticism of Luiz Suarez. I was expecting a full fledged attack on his character. Obviously some Liverpool supporters may disagree with this assessment but I think it’s fair.

    On the matter of Didier Drogba, if you can name the incidents where he’s dived for a penalty I’ll be glad to say I’m wrong.

  17. Matt Jones

    August 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Take cover mate…

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