Luis Suarez: An exceptional talent blemished by the reputation that precedes it

Suarez is one of the most exciting players to watch in the Premier League but his affinity for controversy tarnishes his reputation and keeps people from appreciating his talent.
 Brendon Netto
 Comment | England
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Refereeing in the Premier League has to be one of the hardest jobs in the world of sport. The pace of the game is electric and if you dare blink, you may miss an incident that could prove pivotal and have you criticized incessantly by the fans, coaching staff and media alike. To compound their problems, referees have to deal with players constantly trying to con them into giving their side the advantage. Luis Suarez of Liverpool has earned a reputation for being such a player.

Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis called for Suarez to be punished by the FA for simulation following his side’s stalemate at Anfield. The striker appeared to belatedly perform a theatrical dive when inside Stoke’s penalty area. He was lucky to escape a booking but unfortunately for the otherwise extremely talented Uruguayan, it is that kind of stunt that people have come to associate him with ahead of his ability on the ball.

"The one in the penalty box was an embarrassment and how he (Suarez) wasn't booked I don't know."


Suarez has always been a livewire upfront as his mazy runs and frequent nutmegs constantly keep defenders second-guessing. His ability to twist, turn and wriggle his way out of tight spaces is second to none. Unsurprisingly, his style of play often draws clumsy challenges when desperate defenders find themselves sticking a leg out lazily once the ball is already past them. That is precisely why Liverpool’s number seven has drawn so many fouls throughout his career.

However, Suarez has often chosen to hit the deck fairly easily as well. Defenders caught on to his ploy and intelligently started pulling out of challenges while he throws himself to ground in anticipation of a tackle. Referees have wised up to his antics as well and have since treated his appeals, even the legitimate ones, with little consideration. Suarez effectively became the boy who cried wolf.

Admittedly, his reputation precedes him and probably does lead officials to deny him the benefit of the doubt. During Liverpool’s away game against Sunderland, he was clearly brought down by John O’Shea for what should have been a free-kick but instead, the referee chose to book Suarez for simulation. Granted, the officials have an obligation to base all decisions purely on the visual they have of the incidents but when a few of them aren’t entirely clear, perhaps the player’s reputation does play on their minds and hinders their judgement.

One could even argue that Suarez has brought this injustice on himself. The truly embarrassing part of his dive against Stoke is the fact that his manager and team-mates have defended him over the past few weeks against such accusations. The incident on Sunday effectively negates their defence of their star striker and further questions his character following similar incidents in the past.

If only the forward would cut out that sort of ugliness from his game, he could shed his undesirable tag as a diver and be treated as every other player rather than being a target for opposing fans and a question mark to the officials.

He is capable of delivering the spectacular but it is his ability to also produce the unattractive that leaves a lasting impression. He has put on some stellar performances for Liverpool this season but his unsavoury antics have served to add a few blemishes as well. Make no mistake about it, Luis Suarez is an exceptional talent but one that may never be truly embraced for as long as it is coupled with a touch of sourness.

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