Luiz Suarez does not bark; he bites. The Uruguay striker seems to have a clear hunger for goals and opponents. Banned or fined, Suarez keeps biting.
Right or wrong, he is always in the headlines. Suarez did not score Tuesday to send Italy packing but his 80th-minute antics dominated the sports news across the globe.
The baby-faced Latin American snacked on defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder when they collided and tumbled onto the ground in the Italy penalty area. Chiellini eventually got up, pulled down his shirt and furiously indicated he had been bitten on the shoulder. Suarez, on the other hand, grabbed his teeth as if he was in pain as well. The Mexican referee too saw the bite mark but took no action at all. But, the bad news for Suarez is that Fifa, the football's world governing body, has weighed in and started a probe that may lead to a lengthy ban on a player of unquestionable talent. The maximum ban for such an offence is for 24 matches or for two years. Fifa is also probing an alleged Suarez punch on Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara during a World Cup qualifier.
It was the third time the man now known as The Cannibal has sank his teeth on an opponent during a match. His two other teeth offences happened at club level. A mercurial footballer, Suarez was first banned and fined in 2010 for biting the PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal. His wayward teeth again seized the spotlight while playing for English club Liverpool in 2013. This time, the 27-year-old bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm and then went on to level the match at 2-2.
This has been his modus operandi in a chequered career of glory and ignominy. He loves to score goals and create controversies.
Ghana will never forgive Suarez. Dominic Adiyiah was about to put Ghana through to the 2010 World Cup semis in the final minutes of extra time, but Suarez leapt up and prevented the ball going in with his hands. The referee saw everything and sent him off. But Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty and Suarez celebrated wildly on the sidelines. That was not enough as Uruguay went on to snatch the victory in a shoot-out, with Suarez making faces.
Suarez was banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in 2011. He refused to shake Evra's hand when Liverpool met United again next year. His ban was extended by one match when he was seen making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans.
He also celebrated a goal by diving in front of the then Everton manager, David Moyes, who had earlier claimed that "divers such as Suarez are putting fans off the English game."
Everybody thought the World Cup was over for Suarez after he got himself badly injured four weeks back. He sat out the first match as he did not recover fully, but, playing in the next match, he scored twice to send England tumbling out of the World Cup. In the match against Italy, he did not score but bit.
Will he bite or score in Uruguay's next match against Colombia on June 29? Of course, he may not be there for the next match or the rest of the World Cup if Fifa decides to take prompt action against the belligerent striker. One thing is for sure – with Luis Suarez, there is never a dull moment even when he is off the field. Let's wait and see!