Luis Suarez is in the dumps again… And this record nine-match international ban and suspension from all football-related activity for four months will have a huge impact on this player. Personally I feel Suarez deserved this punishment. You cannot get away with a murder in broad daylight. Can you?
Suarez to me remains an enigma. A player who scored 31 goals for Liverpool last season, the man who single-handedly beat England the other day, now finds himself in the news for all the wrong reasons. How on earth did a player of his stature bite a player when the entire world was watching?
May be he was under pressure to deliver. But he has done that before also. So I think it’s a character trait. By doing what he did on Tuesday in the match against Italy, Suarez has his country down.
He is the main player of Uruguay and the nation was banking on him. Suarez has let everyone down. Now may be the Uruguayan federation will back him, but I believe sooner or later better sense will prevail and the federation will take action against him.
To me, this controversy is as scandalous as Diego Maradona failing the dope test in 1994. Then also Argentina, who were looking so good till that incident, just fell apart and I am expecting Uruguay to meet a similar fate.
It will be a Herculean task for the team management to boost the sagging morale of the team. This I am saying knowing very well that Uruguay are one of the most competitive teams in world football. Even they will find it tough to recover from this body-blow.
Another incident which comes to my mind when a star player buckled under pressure was Franceso Totti’s when he infamously spat on Denmark’s Christian Poulsen. He was banned for three games by Uefa and Italy failed to qualify for the 2004 Euro quarter finals. This is what happens to a team when their main player acts irresponsibly.
In sport, different players react to things differently. Some go into a shell, some fight back, while some will do what Suarez did on Tuesday. I think his mental make-up gets shaken every time he feels he is under pressure.
In our playing days I recall an incident which had finished someone’s career. During the 1973 CFL Derby, Sukalayan Ghosh Dastidar, who was on the Bagan reserve bench, lost his cool and punched referee Bishwanath Datta.
He faced a lengthy suspension and he was never the same player again.
During my interactions with Sukalyan, I never found him to be hot-headed. In fact he was level-headed person with an enormous talent. It was just an one-off incident.
But Suarez, if somebody tells me that he did that in the heat of the moment then I am not ready to buy that. He has a history of biting players.
Probably this time, he has bitten more than he can chew. And now quite rightly he will spend four months in the wilderness.