Luis Suárez on ‘right path’ after seeing therapist to cure biting problem
• Exclusive: ‘All the bad things are in the past’
• But Uruguayan still refuses to accept being labelled racist
Luis Suárez has claimed that he is on the “right path” to becoming a reformed character having sought help to cure his “impulse” to bite people – but the Barcelona striker remains steadfast in his refusal to accept being labelled a racist over the 2011 incident with Patrice Evra.
Suárez, who is set to make his Barcelona debut against Real Madrid on Saturday night, revealed that he has been seeing a therapist to cure his biting problem in an exclusive interview with the Guardian and admitted that he understood the uproar caused by his bite on Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 victory over Italy at the World Cup, which led to him being banned from competitive football for four months.
“I think all the bad things I have been through are in the past,” Suárez said. “I believe I am on the right path now, dealing with the people who can help me, the right kind of people.”
“Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out in that way. There are other players who react by breaking someone’s leg, or smashing someone’s nose across their face. What happened with Chiellini is seen as worse. I understand why biting is seen so badly.”
Suárez said that he had “no desire” to speak to anyone in the aftermath of the match against Italy. Fifa initially banned the 27-year-old from all football-related activity for four months and he was unavailable when Uruguay were knocked out of the World Cup by Colombia, although the court of arbitration for sport later ruled that he was able to train with his Barcelona team-mates and take part in friendly matches following an appeal. However, he has not played competitively since June and Barcelona have been unable to select him since his £75m move from Liverpool.
The clash with Chiellini was the third time Suárez has bitten an opponent: he had previously been banned for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in 2010 and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013. He put each incident down to a momentary loss of control but added that he quickly realised what he was doing and pulled away. “Yes, it is like an impulse, like a reaction,” Suárez said. “Almost as if you realise straight away.”
However, Suárez once again denied that he deserved to be banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 in December 2011 after he was found guilty of racially abusing Evra during Liverpool’s match against Manchester United that October and is adamant that the Football Association punished him without proof. Suárez said that he called Evra “negro” once but justified it by saying that it is a common term in Uruguay.
“I know I was wrong with the biting and the diving but I was accused of racism without any proof,” Suárez said. “There were lots of cameras, but no evidence. It hurts me the most that it was my word against theirs.”
“Every culture has its way of expressing itself, and that’s a word people in Uruguay use all the time, whether somebody’s black or not black. It gets used a lot without those connotations, and that’s why it is completely different to how it is expressed in England, no?”
Suárez insisted that his intent was not to insult Evra. “No, not at any time,” he said. “I just said: ‘Why, negro?’ and it was just like asking: ‘Why?’ These are things that footballers say, that happen all the time.”
ANOTHER INTERVIEW/ARTICLE here (includes his background story, quotes about his wife and, of course, the bite)
VIDEO at the source (weird ending)
Luis Suárez: ‘Biting appals people, but it’s relatively harmless’
In an exclusive extract from his new book, Crossing The Line: My Story, Luis Suárez explains what drives him to bite and why he’s not sure he wants to be cured
I knew straight away, as soon as it happened.
I had let people down. My coach Óscar Tabárez, “El Maestro”, was in a bad way in the dressing room. I couldn’t look at my team-mates. I didn’t know how I could say sorry to them. I couldn’t look at the Maestro. He told me that journalists had asked him about the incident, and he’d told them that he hadn’t seen anything. My team-mates were trying to tell me that maybe the situation was not so bad. But I didn’t want to hear a single word of it. Two more days would pass before I had to leave Brazil, but in my head I was already gone.
I thought maybe the ban would be 10, 15 or even 20 games, but then he said, “Nine matches.” That didn’t seem any worse than I had feared. But he wasn’t finished: “And you can’t set foot in any stadium. You have to leave now. You can’t be anywhere near the squad.” I wanted to stay and support my team-mates. You could see that emotionally the team had died. They were sunk. Even if I was not playing, I wanted to try to make up for things in some small way. But the team manager, Eduardo Belza, had been informed that I had to leave the squad as soon as possible. They treated me worse than a criminal. You can punish a player, you can ban a player from playing, but can you prohibit him from being alongside his team-mates? The only reason I didn’t cry was that I was standing there in front of the coach when he told me the news.
Had the ban stopped at nine Uruguay matches, I would have understood it. But banning me from playing for Liverpool, when my bans in England never prevented me from playing for Uruguay? Banning me from all stadiums worldwide? Telling me I couldn’t go to work? Stopping me from even jogging around the perimeter of a football pitch? It still seems incredible to me that, until the Court of Arbitration for Sport decreed otherwise, Fifa’s power actually went that far.
They had never banned a player like that before for breaking someone’s leg or smashing someone’s nose across his face, as Mauro Tassotti did to Luis Enrique at the 1994 World Cup. [...] I was an easy target, maybe. But there was something important I had to face up to: I had made myself an easy target. I made the mistake. It was my fault. This was the third time it had happened. I needed help.
I know biting appals a lot of people, but it’s relatively harmless. Or at least it was in the incidents I was involved in. When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there. None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield’s ear. But none of this makes it right.
When I got home and saw the television pictures of my bite on PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal in 2010, I cried. I had just become a father to a young daughter, Delfina, and the thought that she would grow up to see that I had done this upset me more than anything else. When my wife Sofi saw the footage, she said to me, “What on Earth were you thinking?” I had to start trying to answer that question for myself.
[...] The pent-up frustration and feeling that it was my fault reached a point where I couldn’t contain it any more.
With Ivanovic in 2013, we had to beat Chelsea still to have any chance of making it into the Champions League. I was having a terrible game. I gave away a stupid penalty with a handball and I could feel everything slipping through our fingers. I could feel myself getting wound up.
Moments before the Chiellini bite, I had a great chance to put us 1-0 up. If I had scored that goal, if Buffon hadn’t made the save, then I would not have done anything. But I missed the chance.
The fear of failure clouds everything for me – even the blatantly obvious fact that I have at least 20,000 pairs of eyes on me; it is not as if I am not going to be seen. Logic doesn’t come into it.
Equally illogical is that it should be a bite. There was a moment in a game against Chile in 2013 when a player grabbed me between the legs and I reacted by punching him. I didn’t get banned for that. That’s considered a normal, acceptable response. When I called Ivanovic after the 2013 incident, he told me that the police had come to see him and asked if he wanted to press charges, and thankfully he had said no. I’m grateful to him, because the circus could have gone on for a lot longer. Punch someone and it’s forgotten, there is no circus. So why do I take the most self-destructive route?
The problem is that this switching off also happens when I do something brilliant on the pitch and, of course, I don’t want to lose that. I’ve scored goals and later struggled to understand how exactly I managed to score them. There is something about the way I play that is unconscious, for better or worse. I want to release the tension and the pressure, but I don’t want to lose the spontaneity in my game, much less the intensity of my style of play.
Liverpool sent a sports psychologist to see me in Barcelona after the Ivanovic incident, and we spent two hours talking about what was going through my head at the time. He said I could see him again, but I resisted. Part of it was theconcern that this treatment would make me too calm on the pitch. [...]
Sofi and I went away to the countryside to talk about everything, and I finally began to accept what I needed to do. She was annoyed with herself for not having been firmer with me before. She said to me, “So now are you going to listen to me?” This time it felt like there was no alternative, and I took the initiative. I did the research and I found the right people.
I’m already learning how to deal with these build-ups of pressure. I have always preferred to keep things to myself, rather than sharing them with anyone, but I am learning that if you let it go, you feel better for it. Don’t keep it all bottled up inside; don’t take it all on alone.
FULL EXTRACT at the source
Messi said 'don't cheat on me' - Aguero
The Argentine has joked about the closeness of his friendship with his compatriot after speaking about their room-sharing arrangements on international duty
Sergio Aguero has revealed in his new autobiography how Lionel Messi jokingly told him "don't cheat on me" after the Argentina room-mates were separated recently.
The two players have been close friends since 2005 when they first played for their country's under-17 side, with the pair rooming together the night before games for the last nine years.
However, Aguero was forced to sleep alone on one recent international trip that Messi missed, with the Manchester City star admitting they both shared a joke on one of the rare occasions they were separated.
He revealed in his new book 'Born to rise': "When one of us is not there, we'll be on our own in the room. Last time when he was missing he sent me a text saying, ''Who have they put you with?''
I texted back: ''Don’t worry about it, love – I’m alone!''. But he shot back: ''Don’t be cheating on me!''"
The former Atletico Madrid striker also talks about their first introduction back in 2005, admitting he didn't even know who the future four-time Ballon d'Or winner was at the time.
"The first time I met Leo Messi I didn't know who he was, only that I couldn't believe the boots he was wearing. But he is like a brother to me."
"After a while I looked at him and said: ''Sorry, what’s your name?''
He just replied: ''Leo.'' ''Leo,'' I said, ''Leo what...?'' ''Lionel,'' he answered. ''Lionel Messi.''
"I recognised the name from somewhere and eventually remembered he was the kid from Rosario who had gone to Barcelona."
Aguero also explains their typical preparations the night before a game, with the 26-year-old often riling the Barcelona star with his fondness for late night TV.
He added: “He tends to fall asleep quite quickly and the only thing that annoys him is that I like to watch TV with the sound down."
“When I fall asleep, he wakes up and comes looking for the remote. When he’s asleep I have to tiptoe to the toilet and stop my phone from vibrating in case it wakes him up.”
+ QUOTES about Balotelli
RME @ Suarez, but I'm sooo here for ''Kunessi''! This probably calls for a picspamn the comments tbh ...