Archive for the ‘Luis Suarez’ Category

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I have a lot of questions. The first is: are pre-season matches a reliable indication of future performance? Had I the entire morning I could do this properly I suppose, and compare summer club friendly records to their subsequent table performance. But I’m willing to bet there likely isn’t much of a serious correlation. I could be wrong though.

I ask this question because there seems to be some panic over Manchester United’s pre-season tour in Australasia. It hasn’t exactly gone well, with three defeats and a last-gasp draw in the last four matches.

The context here is obviously David Moyes. Because it isn’t the losses alone that are drawing attention, but the failure of United to convert chances, and their concession of early leads. Manchester United followers will of course remember this was a feature of their early 2012-13 Premier League season, and United was able often to equalize. But no doubt some will already draw conclusions about the Evertonization of United. Not everyone is that panicky though.

The other question I have is: do players have to be motivated in order to play at their best?

It sounds obvious. Of course they bloody well do! But it depends on what we mean by ‘motivation’ exactly. Here’s why I bring it up: Tor-Kristian Karslen believes Liverpool could be in trouble over the unresolved Luis Suarez sitch:

Even on the best of days, the volatile Suárez needs careful handling. Not only do Liverpool need to keep their main man perfectly motivated to perform to his maximum but also in a fairly balanced mindset to prevent him from succumbing to his dark side once again (a relapse to old antics will see his market value dropping even more). Despite three years left on his contract, an agitated, want-away Luis Suárez is the very last thing Brendan Rodgers needs around the training ground at Melwood.

That’s why Suárez’s history, character and persona arguably makes him a different case to previous instances in which high-profile players have publicly fought their clubs over career choices. The tempestuous Uruguayan is less likely to knuckle down harmoniously than, say, the placid Modric – a fact of which Liverpool are uncomfortably aware.

This is a fairly major empirical leap to make. Karlsen is essentially saying that Suarez must be sold or he a) won’t play to the best of his ability and b) will potentially bite more people and use more racial epithets than ever before.

I’m perfectly willing to believe Suarez might be that self-destructive, but isn’t equally possible that despite his chequered past, Suarez might be a professional, able to play to the best of his ability despite the failure of his agent to orchestrate a decent move. And even if you find that naive, isn’t it also likely that Suarez might not want to jeopardize a potential move next season by acting like even more of a prat because he didn’t get his way this summer?

As much as this all seems like a soap opera sometimes, it’s us who do all the projecting. But we really have no idea what’s going on in Suarez’s head.

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Such is the current state of complex player contracts that not even the club owners and potential bidders know the terms. This is what we’ve learned of the Luis Suarez situation, in which the controversial Uruguayan Liverpool striker has been the subject of a £40 million plus £1 offer from Arsenal.

Arsenal believed this would trigger a clause in the player’s contract which would allow Arsenal to talk terms with the player, but the BBC reports “Liverpool interpret the clause differently.” The authors don’t cite a source, so maybe they’re referring to this:

This is happening in the midst of a debate over Suarez’s potential worth to Arsenal, which, on the low end, involves nervous Gunners mentioning things like “game suspensions,” “biting,” “murder” etc., and on the high end, statistical graphs which demonstrate, conclusively, that yes, Suarez is a good player who scores goals and creates chances and no, is not the shot waster or ball hog some the numbers seem to demonstrate.

So this is a unique situation in which every single facet of transfer speculation has been engaged, and no one truly knows who or what to believe. And won’t it be wonderful when Luis Suarez enters September still with Liverpool and still answering to the broadsheet press upon which he blames everything.

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The Lead

First, this:

So Suarez’s agent’s damage control was all for naught. This is happening. Remember kids: any less than 40 million pounds and LFC don’t know what they’re doing. And yes, it does seem the press did play a role:

Anyhoo, tis the season for friendlies! And while they don’t exactly lend themselves to white hot preview action as well as their competitive counterparts, there is always some grandiose theme to extrapolate out of the otherwise meaningless proceedings.

Over in Brazil for example, a judge called off a friendly that was to be held at Rio’s newly-renovated Maracana stadium. That is until her ruling was reversed:

However a statement on the Rio state government confirms the stadium complies with “all safety rules”.

The statement also confirmed the safety certificate was granted.

“All safety requirements for the friendly between Brazil and England have been complied with and, because of a bureaucratic failure, the appraisal from the public ministry that proves the compliance with the rules on safety at the Maracana have not been sent to Suderj,” the statement read.

Suderj is a division of the Rio de Janeiro state authority that holds responsibility for administrative issues with major sports venues.

Apparently these safety guarantees didn’t make it to the office responsible for approving sporting venues because of a “bureaucratic mistake.” And, make no mistake, this and the first person testimonials we’ll be seeing on Monday about the shoddy state of the place from England fans will be used to push an “Is Brazil Really Ready?” line.

As for the game itself, a bit of pish, a reason to look at Neymar, and whinge about two banks of four.

A little further north, Toronto’s slightly sturdier BMO Field will be the site of another, potentially more fiery rematch between the Canadian and American national women’s teams. They haven’t met since the epic 4-3 Olympic semifinal match in London, a game that still draws a bitter divides otherwise friendly soccer nations.

Equally bitter: fans of the Canadian mens team over the lavish attention paid to their more successful female counterparts? Perhaps, and there is some grumbling about a smaller pool of talented nations in women’s soccer flattering Canada. But fans of the program should put any sniping aside; Canadian soccer rarely enjoys this kind of attention, and the Canadian Soccer Association is milking it well.

The trick, as Duane Rollins wrote yesterday, would be to view this match as another opportunity to spur on a national development program, rather than a glorified back-slap. Attendant media would do well to ask Canada’s technical director and president what movements have been made to implement the recommendations for a division three national league.

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He was speaking in an interview with GolTV’s Martin Charquero apparently. He often spins this kind of crap while on international duty however, and this may be nothing more than a case of having a nice whinge while on vacay.

But he does have a point: it was the English press that bit Ivanovic and the English press that repeatedly contradicted itself when giving its defense in Patrice Evra’s racial abuse case.

This is practically old news now but I thought I would use this as an opportunity to just cram all my Suarez opinionating into a single post considering we’re not going to hear about Suarez for a while.

Suarez Won’t Appeal the Ban: Suarez won’t play for Liverpool again until late Septmeber 2013 as he forgoes an appeal to the FA’s punishment.

What I think: Suarez’s lawyers told him not to after he got the full reasoning for the ban from the FA which is set to be released today, so he, for the best, decided not to make his situation worth. Here is his statement in full:

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Value of My Opinion: .045

David Cameron’s remarks: British Prime Minister David Cameron defended his comments on Suarez in which he said biting set a bad example for the kids. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said they compromised the impartiality of the FA.

What I think: Yep, I’m sure the FA was scared of an offhand remark made the Prime Minister so they added…three games? This is just stupid, and Rodgers should have just his mouth and taken Tony’s advice:

Value of my opinion: About the same as a box of doughnuts with two missing.

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Rodgers and Wenger both say the FA punished the man and not the incident: Yup. They both said that.

What I think: Well, maybe? The FA will be releasing their rationale for the decision in full. No doubt Suarez’s reputation precedes him, and this may have consciously or unconsciously affected the FA’s ten game ban for BITING. BITING. But there are several presumptions here, including the idea that the FA acts like a court of law. Maybe the FA might avoid this sort of thing if they just published a list of punishments for on-field events. Biting = ten games. Purple Nurples = four games. Cracking open the skull of your opponent and feasting on the goo inside = 6 games. And so on.

Value of my opinion: A DVD copy of Life of Pi.

There are rumours Suarez may leave England following match ban: Rodgers said this.

What I think: I’m sure there is a league where biters are awarded with automatic goals and racism is totally acceptable. I’m trying really hard here not to type a certain word that begins with an “I” and ends with a “Y.”

The value of my opinion: A gimmicky blog post.

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If the ten-game ban that Luis Suarez received for biting Branislav Ivanovic last Sunday was badly received in Liverpool, imagine how it went down in Uruguay.

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher had written in support of Suarez in the Daily Mail that he’d rather get bitten than have his leg broken (though his argument fell down when he accepted that rules are different when you are talking about Liverpool’s best player, citing Charles Itandje, Liverpool’s third-choice goalkeeper, who left soon after he was caught laughing and joking during a Hillsborough Memorial service).

On Thursday morning, Pepe Reina went one step further than Carragher and as good as accused the FA of xenophobia, saying: “They treat Suarez differently, because he’s Uruguayan. He knows what he did is wrong, but ten games is absurd, excessive and unfair.”

The written explanation of Suarez’s ban will be received on Thursday—the FA really do themselves no favours by allowing the story to gather momentum before explaining the reasons and Liverpool have until Friday to appeal. They run the risk of a longer ban if the appeal is deemed ‘frivolous’, and of damaging their ‘global brand’ (awful words) if the lessons of the previous Suarez saga look like they have not been learned. As for Suarez the individual, his last year of careful reputation-building has been wasted; he’s back to square one again (or behind it, in fact).

And yet in Uruguay, the reaction has been unequivocal. Suarez is a victim; the media and FA are out to get him; therefore it’s time he left England. “Surely he will leave Liverpool,” wrote El Pais on Thursday. “Suarez always wanted to stay in England despite the hostile climate and tempting offers but this time, the striker is willing to listen to his agent.” The paper added that Suarez is keeping a brave face on his latest problem, not wanting to upset his pregnant wife.
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From the FA website:

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is suspended for ten matches after violent conduct charge
Luis Suarez has been suspended for a total of ten matches after an Independent Regulatory Commission today ruled on a charge of violent conduct.

A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission today upheld The FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect.

This follows an incident with Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday’s fixture at Anfield.

Get ready for pointless acrimony from all the usual places, and all the closely monitored instances of hypocrisy, and why the FA should be disbanded, and why Suarez should be sent to prison, and on and on and on and on and on.