And so he's off. Luis Suarez, the pantomime villain of the English Premier League has stated that he wishes to depart for pastures new and, as it will come to pass, he will not pull on the red of Liverpool next season.
It's ok. I've celebrated his goals with gusto, I've felt his torture when his majestic runs at defences have culminated in an almost predictable rapping of the woodwork and I've argued against his punishments from the FA even when his actions do not lend themselves to sympathy, but I wish him luck for the future and don't regret him leaving our club behind.
The OCD wet dream of his transitions to and from Anfield both being to the backdrop of a ban, incredibly both for biting an opponent, says enough about the man. As an isolated incident, the Cannibal of Ajax episode could be spun as a momentary lapse, but, as they say, to bite one opponent may be regarded as a misfortune, to bite two looks like carelessness.
No, the shocking mirrored bookending of his Liverpool career demonstrates not a particular evil, nor true malice of any kind, but enough to let us know that what Suarez is made of, his psychological makeup, doesn't fit with The Liverpool Way. The handball against Ghana - and subsequent ill-advised celebration of the ensuing kick at goal - showed spirit, the fortuitous manual ricochet versus Mansfield pragmatic professionalism, the routine gamesmanship an almost commendable dedication to a generally losing battle; the biting, however, neatly foreboded and recalled the Patrice Evra incident - the moment Liverpool should have realised the game was up.
Patrice Evra was not a reliable witness, his take on events were most believable when he admitted he did not see Suarez as a racist, but he was spoken to with language that was not intended as terms of endearment but to goad the Manchester United defender into a, perhaps violent, reaction. Context may be a factor in determining whether or not Suarez's words constituted "racial abuse", but this is not a defence for the Uruguayan, rather a confirmation of his guilt. The case was a hopeless sham, further confirming the FA's arrogance and incompetence, but Suarez was guilty all the same, guilty of going too far in the pursuit of victory, too far for a Liverpool player.
I laughed as I saw the replay of Suarez's bite on Ivanovic - the Serbian can certainly handle himself and, with the help of his friends and family, will get through this - and I laughed as Suarez was banned for ten games. Both decisions were ridiculous, the Liverpool player's and the FA's. I had laughed when David Cameron, of all people, suggested that Luis Suarez should be punished severely due to his status as a role model, in a brief aside between measures brutally condemning the poor to an impossibly harsh quality of life, and I knew the FA would take heed. I was also pretty certain it would mean the end of Suarez carrying a Liver Bird on his chest.
So now he can leave. The media rounded on their collective ghost writer, the player whose actions every weekend, both good and bad, filled a thousand column inches before finger touched keyboard. "Did we make him do THIS?!:" they ask, in unison, as they defend themselves in ironic tributes to one of the Premier League's greatest ever talents. It's fine, guys, you need him much more than we do. With Balotelli and Suarez gone, however will you deliver entertaining copy? Ah yes, the England shirt looks like a Germany top. Bravo.
And we can enjoy him from afar, not worrying about how his actions reflect on our great club but our laughter accompanying him bamboozling the defences of the Bundesliga or La Liga, in the colours of Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. 101 Great Goals is now Suarez's arena, with Kopites clutching at the straws of statistics suggesting we're better off without him, even on the pitch. In that regard we're not, but with £50million spent wisely perhaps we can be. Goodbye, Luis. Thanks for the memories.
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