For many the distinction between genius and insanity is quite a small one; and no one person epitomises this more in football than Liverpool’s very own Luis Suarez. People may well try to understand the inner workings of the enigmatic Uruguayan, but I doubt even the player himself would do his thought patterns justice.
Suarez portrays himself as a shy and retiring character, but with the hint of the devil inside him. We’ve seen this aspect of the forward before; twice banned for biting as well a racially aggravated fracas with United’s Patrice Evra.
I’m not for one moment defending Suarez, but for me some of these vices are central to him being the footballer he is. Of course in an ideal world Suarez would be a role model to the next generation in all aspects of his conduct; he couldn’t be further from that at the moment. But for me his dark side is all part and parcel of him, you cannot unfortunately have one without the other.
In a rare interview with French TV Suarez did his best to lift the lid on his personal side:
“I think that I am someone who is shy, really – I know how I am off the pitch in my everyday life, and I’m more of an angel with a little bit of the demon,” he said.
“It is very difficult for me to have this image because of who I really am. But I have learned about my behaviour, and today, you have to know I am someone very timid and for that I am very careful what I say.”
I think some would be a little surprised that Suarez views himself as being a timid character; on the pitch he exudes confidence and is more often than not at the centre of things. You don’t net 24 league goals in just 23 appearances if you are shy and retiring.
When Suarez walks onto that pitch he is a different beast, the devil in side him comes to the fore. Suarez may well be timid in his personal life, but the same just cannot be said of his footballing exploits.
Biting, diving and racist abuse are things we can do without in football; but a bit of passion doesn’t go amiss. Suarez realises this distinction and is supposedly working on it, trying to temper this inner devil and making it compatible with the world of Premier League football. Liverpool don’t want to lose the attitude that makes him so special, I think they just want it managed.
Suarez finally seems at home in England, and even questions about a move to France couldn’t dissuade the Uruguayan from his principal aims:
“Being able to play a Champions League match at Anfield, that would be incredible, something unforgettable,” he explained.
“I would really like to live this experience. Today with my club the main aim is to qualify for the Champions League.”
Whether you love him or hate him you cannot doubt Suarez’s abilities. The very best always play on the edge, trying their best to gain that inch and push themselves to the very limits of their capabilities. Suarez typifies this, and most that admire his footballing talents wouldn’t want to do too much to harm it.
No need to tame the devil.