The World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the global sporting calendar; therefore it is the greatest stage for footballers to achieve immortality as either heroes or villains. As we are nearing the conclusion of the group stages it is becoming apparent which players are making themselves noticed as they seek glory both personally and for their countries. The pressure has long been on Neymar’s slight frame to lead his Brazilian team to glory, and the Barcelona forward is doing everything in his power to emulate Brazilian heroes of the past in the quest for a sixth title for Brazil. Meanwhile Messi has long been a hero in Catalonia, yet has failed to make enough of an impact for his home country when the World Cup has arrived, but with 4 goals in 3 matches he is proving that he could make the difference just as Maradona did in the 1986 finals.
Yet it is not enough for a stage to be full solely of heroic admirable characters. There needs to be at least one villain to unite the audience in disgust. Step in Luis Suarez, the consistently brilliant and controversial player from Uruguay. Much like the rest of the Uruguayan’s career, his World Cup began with drama as he started the tournament from the touchline with questions being asked whether he would be fit enough to compete at all. Suarez missed Uruguay’s opening defeat to Costa Rica yet made a triumphant return as he took the tournament by storm and broke English hearts as he scored both goals leading his country to a 2-1 win. The way in which Suarez dispatched both chances was brilliant and clinical, yet his celebrations at the full time whistle were excessive and riled an English crowd which had only recently accepted him. Suarez celebrated full time to such an extent that before the adverts started rolling on ITV he had already been restored to his previous status as public enemy number one in England. Whilst England fumed the rest of the world looked on in admiration at a player who inspired so much from his teammates, yet all this admiration turned to disgust as he once again gave into his cannibalistic impulses and bit an opponent as Uruguay knocked Italy out of the World Cup in their final group game.
What is perhaps most laughable about this latest act of cannibalism is the nonsensical manner in which it was committed. Uruguay were a man up and controlling the game, and the fierce chomp which Suarez gave his favourite Italian dish Chiellini seemed entirely unprovoked. Whilst pundits around the world have been condemning Suarez for his latest mid-game snack the Uruguayan squad and management have added further pantomime-esque farce to the proceedings with shouts led by captain Diego Lugano of “Oh no he didn’t!” as they attempt to defend their temperamental talisman. Unfortunately for Lugano and his team, FIFA have responded with a resounding ‘Oh yes he did!’ and have hit Suarez with a 4 month ban, meaning that unfortunately this great villain’s World Cup is over before it had really got going.
Original Football would like to take this moment to say goodbye to Suarez. Love him or hate him (and most people hate him) he is one of the great entertainers in World football and the World Cup will be a quieter, albeit safer, tournament without him.