If you are a medical student (or an avid movie watcher), you might have read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and be familiar with what a Split or Multiple Personality Disorder is. Also known as the “Dissociative Identity Disorder”, this extremely rare mental disorder is described by WebMD.com to be ‘characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behavior’. If you look at Liverpool’s front-man, Luis Suárez, you cannot help but wonder if he is not suffering from the very same aforementioned disease.
Everybody knows Suárez is an exceptional footballer, one of the finest strikers around the world for a few years now. He is Uruguay’s all-time record goalscorer with 35 goals. The 27-year-old was the “Ajax Player of the Player” and the “Ajax Top Goalscorer of the Year” in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He was named the “Liverpool FC Player of the Year” for 2012-13 and “Liverpool FC Top Goalscorer” in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Suárez was also named the “FSF Player of the Year” in 2013 and ranked as the 9th-best footballer in the world by The Guardian in December, 2013.
Suárez scored 111 goals in 159 appearances for Ajax, and has scored more than 70 goals for Liverpool in about 125 appearances. When on his game, the Uruguayan is explosive, and he can rip apart any defense in the world. But when one looks at his overall footballing career to date, there are both the bright sides and the dark sides that have been widely used by football pundits and other analysts in describing him. Suárez has been widely accused of diving, biting, kicking and racism by managers, his own team-mates and football analysts, during his stint at both Ajax and Liverpool. One can say that when he signed for Liverpool from Ajax in the winter of 2011, he brought with him not just his prolific goalscoring abilities, but also his history of scandals and controversial incidents along the way.
You might not believe, but the aforementioned 9th-best footballer in the world is ranked 5th in the list of the world’s dirtiest footballers by the Spanish football website El Gol Digital. In every match nowadays, a portion of the footballing world is just waiting for the madman Suárez to reemerge from the depths, and do something foolish again. It will certainly not be a surprise to the footballing world today if another round of bemoaning or excusing actions of Luis Suárez follow. As for now, lets take a look at the top 7 scandals and controversial incidents of the prolific Liverpool Number 7.
7. Moments of Madness in Premier League Matches
After making a £22.8 million (~$38 million) transfer from Ajax to Liverpool, Luis Suárez’s apparently unexplained moments of madness continued in the Premier League. He kicked Micheal Dawson, who was down on the ground, and attacked Scott Parker with a cross-body kick to the chest in separate Premier League matches. In another match against Manchester United, Suárez again sparked controversy by pulling on Rafael Da Silva’s curly hair.
The Anfield Striker was on the highlight reel again when he celebrated his deflected strike against Everton, by ‘diving’ in front of David Moyes. The Everton manager had been critical of Suárez in the build-up to the Merseyside derby, claiming that ‘divers’ such as Suárez were ruining English football and turning supporters away from the game. Clearly angered by Moyes’ remarks, a smiling Uruguayan ran towards the Everton manager, after his 14th-minute deflected strike had given Liverpool the lead, before mockingly sliding on his chest.
6. Middle Finger Salute to Fulham Fans
In December 2011, Suárez was photographed making an obscene gesture towards Fulham fans after Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at the Craven Cottage. The striker was given a torrid time by the home supporters throughout the match as he was booed to the chants of ‘cheat’ for what the Fulham supporters perceived to be his ‘constant diving’. After admitting the charge of improper conduct, the Uruguayan was fined £20,000 by the FA. He had already received an 8-match ban the previous Tuesday after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. That meant Liverpool was without their in-form striker for almost half of their remaining matches that season.
5. Punched Gonzalo Jara in the Face
During Chile’s 2-0 win against Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup qualifying match, Suárez and Chile’s Gonzalo Jara did not appreciate each other’s company. When the two players took their positions for a corner kick in the 34th minute, grabbing and shoving followed. Suárez then took things a step further by punching Jara in the face with his fist. Referee Nestor Pitana did not book Suárez over the incident, despite witnessing the tussle. Suárez was later penalized for the misconduct, meaning he was suspended for Uruguay’s next qualifier, against Venezuela.
4. Bit the Shoulder of Otman Bakkal
On November 20, 2010, Suárez bit Otman Bakkal, PSV’s attacking midfielder, on the shoulder during a goalless draw. Ajax was forced to suspend the then “Dutch Footballer of the Year” for two matches, and Suárez was fined an undisclosed amount which the club said would donate to a “good cause”. The KNVB, however, increased his suspension to seven league matches in the Eredivisie. Suárez later apologized for his actions through a video he uploaded to his Facebook page.
3. Racially Abused Patrice Evra in a Premier League Match
Suárez’s 2011-12 season was marked by an incident which found him guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra during a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in October. The Football Association had opened up an investigation into the case after the match. While Suárez wrote on his Facebook and Twitter pages that he was upset by the allegations and denied the claims, on November 16 the FA announced that it would penalize Suárez with “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior contrary to the FA rules”, including “a reference to the ethnic origin and/or color and/or race of Patrice Evra.”
On December 20, the FA concluded a seven-day hearing for Suárez, handing him an eight-match ban and a £40,000 ($65,000) fine. That racism row with Evra was just melting down when Suárez provoked angry reactions again in their next meeting in February at Old Trafford. The Anfield striker avoided shaking Evra’s hand during the pregame handshakes, for which he and Kenny Dalglish were later forced to apologize.
2. Bit the Arms of Branislav Ivanovic
Suárez’s second biting incident followed on April 21, 2013, in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea in a Premier League match at Anfield. Overshadowing the game itself, Suárez appeared to bite the right arm of opposing defender Branislav Ivanovic inside the Chelsea penalty area. The incident was unnoticed by the officials, and Suárez was able to score an equalizer in the injury time to level the game.
An investigation was ensued afterwards by the FA, finding the Liverpool striker guilty and claiming that the standard punishment of 3 matches was clearly insufficient for his offense. The FA decided on a 10-match ban for Suárez, who did not appeal the ban. The board also criticized the striker for not appreciating the seriousness of the incident when he argued against a long ban later on. The then “Liverpool FC Top Goalscorer of the Year” was fined by the club an undisclosed amount believed to be at least $300,000.
1. Prevented a Goal with a Handball in the 2010 World Cup Against Ghana
In the summer of 2010, on the grand stage of the World Cup quarterfinal against Ghana, Suárez pulled off the best of the controversies that have to this day surrounded his career. With the game tied at 1-1 in extra time, Suárez stopped Dominic Adiyiah’s goal-bound header with his hand. The Uruguayan was sent off immediately, but stayed on the touchline to celebrate Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty kick, before happily walking down the tunnel. Suárez later argued that he had acted out of instinct in doing so during the game, but he clearly did not regret it. He claimed to have made the ‘Save of the Tournament’. He publicly said that his act had redefined the ‘Hand of God’ expression, which is used to refer to the goal Maradona scored with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup.
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac was furious with the incident, and said that the play was an ‘injustice’, labeling Suárez a ‘villain’ and a ‘cheat’ while he ‘enraged the entire Africa’. But, there were some, especially in Uruguay, who viewed their countryman as a hero, one who sacrificed himself in the semi-final for the unlikely chance that the penalty would be missed and his team would later win the game.