Not for the first time this season, Liverpool star Luis Suarez was at the center of attention. It was not for his stoppage-time equalizer in the Reds' 2-2 draw against Chelsea that was the main talking point, nor his terrific pass into Daniel Sturridge for the substitute's opener, no, it was something far more sinister.
Instead, it was the Uruguay international's inexplicable decision to bite Branislav Ivanovic's arm halfway through the second half, again underlining his reputation as the ultimate super villain.
Whereas the majority of football fans will have been shell-shocked by the incident, it will have been deja vu for those who followed Suarez's career before he moved to Liverpool in January 2011. Biting opponents may not be part of the repertoire of many players, yet the prolific attacker has proven to be somewhat of a specialist as he previously turned vampire in November 2010 when the then Ajax forward took a bite out of PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal's shoulder.
After teammate Rasmus Lindgren received a red card in the closing stages of the scoreless Eredivisie draw between both Dutch giants, a scuffle took place involving a number of players. Bakkal stamped on Suarez's foot during the brawl, provoking the 26-year-old to react by biting the surprised midfielder. Referee Bjorn Kuipers failed to spot the incident, yet the attacker would not get away with his crime.
Understandably, Suarez's bizarre action led to an intense debate in the media about what punishment should be taken and Ajax opted not to wait for the Dutch football association's (KNVB) verdict. The Godenzonen did play their star striker in the Champions League match against Real Madrid three days after the incident, but then handed him a two-match ban, as well as a hefty fine that would be donated to charity.
The club's reaction did little to satisfy the Dutch press, though, with even Ajax-minded paper De Telegraaf calling for a more severe punishment, labeling Suarez: 'The cannibal of Ajax'. The KNVB weren't too impressed with Ajax's punishment either and took a firm stance by handing the controversial forward a seven-match ban.
Meanwhile, Bakkal refused to judge his opponent and remained coy on the incident when questioned about it by the press.
"Things were pretty hectic and a lot of incidents took place. Perhaps I could have milked the situation a bit more, but as I said, it was all quite hectic. I'd rather talk about the game itself," he told reporters at the time.
- Sports & Recreation
- Luis Suarez
- Daniel Sturridge
- Otman Bakkal