Uruguay’s Suarez seeks redemp­tion at World Cup

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - WORLD CUP -

NIZHNY NOV­GOROD, Rus­sia: Uruguay for­ward Luis Suarez is look­ing for redemp­tion at the World Cup in Rus­sia.

He was vil­i­fied in South Africa in 2010 for pre­vent­ing a goal with his hands. Four years later, he was con­demned for bit­ing an op­po­nent in Brazil. Now, Suarez wants to fin­ish a World Cup with­out con­tro­versy and to give peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to talk about his play and not his un­sports­man­like be­hav­ior.

The Barcelona player, who is one of the top strik­ers in the world, has made it clear that he wants to re­move “the thorn on a per­sonal level.”

Suarez was given a nine-match ban for bit­ing Italy de­fender Gior­gio Chiellini in Brazil. That in­ci­dent, along with the hand­ball against Ghana in 2010, is among the most en­dur­ing mem­o­ries of his ca­reer.

The in­ci­dent against Ghana took place in the match’s fi­nal min­utes and the Africans surely would have won had the ball gone into the back of the net. In­stead, Uruguay won and ad­vanced to the semi­fi­nals.

Suarez bit Chiellini four years later, also to­ward the end of the match when the score was 0-0. The ref­eree didn’t see the in­ci­dent and con­ceded a cor­ner to Uruguay from which the South Amer­i­cans scored and elim­i­nated Italy from the tour­na­ment.

In both games, critics claimed that Uruguay only ad­vanced be­cause of Suarez’s dirty plays, giv­ing him a rep­u­ta­tion as a cheater that he hasn’t been able to shake off.

Suarez had pre­vi­ously bit­ten Ot­man Bakkal in 2010 when he played for Ajax, and Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 when he played for Liver­pool. Suarez has also ad­mit­ted to div­ing, and in 2011 he was pun­ished by the English Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion for mak­ing racist com­ments against Pa­trice Evra. Suarez de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions. With his con­tro­ver­sial back­ground, Suarez’s ca­reer seemed that it would most cer­tainly fade fol­low­ing his sus­pen­sion in 2014. How­ever, Barcelona gave him a new op­por­tu­nity and the Uruguayan took ad­van­tage of it.

So, the ob­vi­ous ques­tion on the eve of Uruguay’s match against Egypt Fri­day in Group A is whether Suarez can con­trol his im­pulses in Rus­sia. If any­body be­lieves in him, it’s Uruguay coach Os­car Tabarez, who has known him since he was on the coun­try’s youth teams.

When asked Thurs­day if Suarez was more ma­ture now, Tabarez said “with­out any doubt.”

“Ma­tu­rity comes in all ar­eas of life – in foot­ball, in fam­ily life, in per­sonal life,” the coach said. “He has thought about it. He has pre­pared him­self for the World Cup. I think that in ad­di­tion to be­ing a great player, Luis is very in­tel­li­gent.” –

Suarez was given a nine-match ban for bit­ing Italy de­fender Chiellini in Brazil.

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