Nation & World News

Living Up To His Past, Suarez Apparently Bites Italian Opponent

By Eyder Peralta on June 24th, 2014

In some ways, we should have seen it coming. By the time Uruguay’s Luis Suarez apparently took a bite out of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Tuesday’s match, the ref had already handed out a red card and three yellows.

Chiellini dropped to the ground, writhing, pulling his shirt off his shoulder. And Suarez dropped too, grabbing at his teeth, like they’d been attacked by Chiellini’s shoulder. The ref paid no mind, and eventually both men continued their trot across the World Cup stage like nothing happened.

Twitter, however, had a blast. “Luis Suarez ready for post match interview,” Mohammed Hersi tweeted, adding this picture:

There was also this:

The Los Angeles Times collected plenty of other funny tweets. But what this bite reminded us is just how complex a character Suarez is. Here are three things that may make you like him, yet hate him:

— In 2010, Suarez left the World Cup after yet another controversial play. To stop what would have been a game-winning goal by Ghana, Suarez used his hand. Ghana missed the penalty kick; Suarez missed the next game; and the world debated whether the handball was cheating or just amazing strategy and quick thinking that gave Uruguay another shot at remaining in the Cup.

— In 2011, Suarez, a striker for Liverpool, was banned for eight matches and fined 40,000 pounds after he spewed racial epithets on the field against Patrice Evra of Manchester United.

— After reading through many articles that painted a portrait of Suarez as a “cheat and a lunatic,” Wright Thompson of ESPN set out to find the real Suarez.

Thompson writes about “soccer’s most beautiful player”:

“If someone breathes on him near the goal, he falls down like he’s been knifed. He has bitten an opponent. Twice. And, back in his childhood in Uruguay, there’s an oft-reported incident that serves as explanation, or maybe proof, that he is, in fact, batshit crazy. When Suarez was 15, overcome with anger, he headbutted a referee and received a red card in a youth match, making the man’s nose bleed ‘like a cow,’ as a witness said.”

Thompson was never actually able to find out if that head-butting story was true. But what he found was that Suarez fell in love at 15, and in 2003 that girl moved to Europe. Suarez, who grew up dirt poor, figured that the only way he could join Sofia Balbi in Europe was to play world-class soccer and land a place on a European team.

Despite the odds, it worked. In 2006, Suarez started playing for a Dutch team, and he married Balbi in 2009.

Now, Thompson says, Suarez seems to play soccer as if he were still that 9-year-old kid in the shadow of a bus station in Montevideo.

He’s still that kid, Thompson says, who plays like he’s “terrified of this new life he’s built being ripped away.” He plays like “someone who’s very existence is being threatened.”

FIFA could still review today’s incident and punish Suarez.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Snow falls Wednesday night as Missouri National Guard members stand outside of the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo.

In Ferguson And Across The Country, Protests Are More Subdued

Only about 30 demonstrators were out Wednesday night in Ferguson, NPR’s Elise Hu reports, and there were only a handful of sizable protests across the country.


The US Capitol building as seen from the Cannon House Office Building in Washington.

Judge Rules Fewer Political Groups Can Keep Their Donors Secret

The ruling targets the funders of campaign issue ads that encourage viewers to choose a specific candidate. The FEC now must decide whether it will appeal the ruling or require more disclosure.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Ginsburg Has Heart Procedure, Is Resting Comfortably

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, is 81 years old. Doctors inserted a stent in her right coronary artery to address a blockage.


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies at an oversight hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 23, 2014.

EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels

The rules would lower the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. They are likely to be opposed by industry groups as well as Republicans.


Ronald And Vivian Joseph perform the "Death Spiral' on Oct. 26, 1963, at the World Championships. The International Olympic Committee announced this week that the Josephs, who originally placed fourth in the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria, were in fact the bronze medalists.

After 50 Years, An Olympic Medal Dispute Is Resolved

The International Olympic Committee recognized that American figure skaters Vivian and Ronald Joseph, who originally finished fourth, won the bronze at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments