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

Pope Francis opens the morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, on Saturday.

Vatican Bishops Scrap Opening To Gays, Divorced Members

Earlier this week an interim summary of the synod on family issues included conciliatory language on gays and on the taking of holy communion for divorced church members.


An artist's rendering of the flyby with Mars orbiters taking cover. Note that the image says "spacecraft not to scale."

Mars Probes Give Scientists Box Seats For Rare Comet Flyby

A “mountain-sized” comet known as Siding Spring will pass very close to the red planet, where orbiters from the U.S., Europe and India, hope to get close – but not too close — to the action.


Pro-democracy protesters set up new barricades after riot police retreated from a main road at Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong early Saturday.

Hong Kong Activists Clash With Police, Retake Protest Site

Pro-democracy protesters have replaced barricades in the congested Mong Kong district of the city hours after authorities dismantled the obstacles.


People stand on the island's south shore to feel the winds from approaching Hurricane Gonzalo, in Astwood Park, Bermuda on Friday. The storm has knocked out power to half of the residents of the British island territory.

Hurricane Gonzalo Hits Bermuda; Ana To Skirt Past Hawaii

In the British island territory, Gonzalo has wiped out power to roughly half of the island’s 70,000 inhabitants.


The Supreme Court early Saturday declined to block a Texas Voter ID law for the November election.

Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Voter ID Law For Nov. Election

With three justices dissenting, the high court’s ruling effectively blocks a lower federal court decision declaring the law restrictive and unconstitutional.


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