Around this time last year, there was speculation and media furore surrounding one man. A man who without doubt is one of the most gifted players of his generation. A man who,without doubt, can do the sublime with either foot. And alas, a man who without doubt, could just as easily shoot himself in either said foot just as quickly!
Luis Suarez was in the midst of the Branislav Ivanovic ‘bite’ controversy and serving a 10-match ban. This on top of gaining an unenviable reputation for ‘simulation’ – or diving as we call it in pub world – and embroiling himself and the club in the ugly Patrice Evra racism incident for which he served an eight-match ban. Suarez was a man on a mission. Not to help starving children, rid the world of it’s many ills or the destruction of all that’s bad among us. Merely one of self destruction. The destruction of his own reputation, before it was really established in the Premier League and, sadly I should add, that of Liverpool Football Club. I don’t believe the latter can be done by one man but he certainly had an unwittingly good go.
I have to admit, I’d lost patience with him. “Luis Suarez must be sold!” I ranted and I wrote. I’m not alone in who can make that admission. Many vilified him. Many defended him. “He wouldn’t be the same player” some said, referring to a time – that unlikely to arrive in our lifetime – when Suarez would eradicate the ugly and temperamental side his game. A view which I personally believe is complete and utter ‘BS’. The reality is, it simply needs to be channeled in better ways. Toward a better end. Toward better actions that lead to becoming a better person. The very proof of the ‘pudding’, so to speak is in the ‘eating’. Suarez, the proverbial ‘pudding’, and his 2013/14 Barclays Premier League performances being the said ‘eating’
This season we’ve seen a new Luis Suarez. I for one have eaten my words and a large slice of Humble Pie for afters. I couldn’t be more happier to have been wrong. To say the man has been transformed would be putting it mildly. Very mildly indeed. More mild than the mildest of mild Cheddars! Suarez has emerged as the Premierships top scorer which is all the more astonishing considering the fact that he missed the first six games of the season. What’s more his nearest challenger is fellow Liverpool team mate Daniel Sturridge on 20. A phenomenal fete.
It’s just not in the goal-scoring stakes that Suarez has shown remarkable application. This season has seen him pick up a mere five yellow cards whilst playing in the league this term. He served more than three times that number in bans last season. What a lad!
I saw this morning that Suarez has been confirmed as the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) Player of The Year and in my opinion it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving man. Notwithstanding the fact that I’m a Liverpool man, whichever club you follow I don’t think there are many football fans who would argue that point. Perhaps Yaya Toure of Manchester City. The only other player I believes comes even close. But when you see where Suarez was this time last season and where he is now. It’s a no brainer.
So from me, a huge apology to Mr. Suarez. He’s shown that with some application, one can utilise a fantastic talent for the better and get the deserved recognition from the doubters. As my favourite poet Rudyard Kipling said:
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,… Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son”
Stand up that man. I apologise for I got you wrong. Stand up Luis Suarez. For you are The Man.
Follow me on Twitter: @Mrbengreen