Thursday, May 23, 2024

There may not be a soccer player on the world stage more divisive and controversial than Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. Throughout the course of his 18-year career, the 36-year-old forward who is finalizing a move to Inter Miami has been accused of racism and called a cheat. He has been banned on three separate occasions for biting opponents during matches, both at the club and international levels. Many fans around the world see him as the devil incarnate.

Suarez is also among the best goalscorers that the sport has ever produced. The anthology of his career exploits is best summed up by his numerous nicknames. Suarez was the “S” in “MSN” — the acronym used to describe the legendary three-man Barcelona strike force of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar. His oldest nickname relates to his signature goal celebration. He points both hands like he’s carrying two guns and fires off several imaginary rounds, earning the moniker “El Pistolero” (The Gunman) for his lethal scoring talents. But in 2010, Suarez was also dubbed the “Cannibal of Ajax.”

He was the captain of Dutch giants AFC Ajax that season when he inexplicably bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a match. The incident occurred inches away from the referee, but Suarez was not punished. | Terug naar 2010, toen Nederland voor het eerst kennismaakte met de bijtgrage Luis Suárez…#ajapsv #suarez #bakkal pic.twitter.com/ptxT22xpLN — ESPN NL (@ESPNnl) March 29, 2019

There was no video assistant referee (VAR) at the time, but because of the overwhelming video evidence, Ajax suspended Suarez for two matches after the incident. The Dutch Football Federation then charged Suarez with committing a violent act and doubled down by handing the Uruguayan a seven-game ban of their own. He would not play again for Ajax, but his more than 80 goals across four seasons caught the eye of Liverpool.

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