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Comment: Time for Suarez to stop the blame game

26 June 2014 22:11

Luis Suarez has a self-inflicted period of reflection ahead of him and the Uruguay forward must use it wisely.

No stranger to controversy, the prodigiously talented Liverpool star sent shockwaves around the football world on Tuesday - the television images of him sinking his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the closing stages of a qualification-clinching FIFA World Cup Group D win are already grimly infamous.

A four-month ban from all football activity will hit his club side particularly hard and Liverpool might be forgiven for thinking they are back to square one following a sensational year on the field from Suarez.

The 27-year-old was absent at the start of last season as he completed a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, a ban covering two games more than the eight he was forced to sit out having racially abused Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra in December 2011.

Yet Suarez returned to a winning side and 31 goals in 33 Premier League games secured him the PFA and Football Writers' player of the year awards, taking the Anfield outfit to the brink of the title.

Brendan Rodgers and his staff were rightly lauded for their part in this apparent rehabilitation but they must now do without their talisman for their opening nine Premier League matches in the new season and the first half of their UEFA Champions League group campaign.

Uruguay are left similarly in the lurch. They suffered a lacklustre 3-1 opening World Cup loss to Costa Rica before Suarez returned from injury to sink England with two goals. It will be hard for boss Oscar Tabarez to relish Saturday's last-16 clash with in-form Colombia.

The two-time world champions' defence of their Copa America crown next year will also be severely impacted by the player's nine-match ban from competitive internationals.

But where now for Suarez himself?

"Before the game, too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years," he said after sending England to a 2-1 defeat last week.

'This is a very good time for me. I want to see what they think now."

This emotional post-match interview painted a picture of a man who, despite being found guilty of racist abuse toward a fellow professional and biting three others, sees himself as the victim. Unfortunately, he has received encouragement to take this viewpoint.

After biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal in 2010, Suarez found a way out of Ajax to Liverpool. In the immediate aftermath of the Evra incident, Liverpool - led by then manager Kenny Dalglish - warmed up in specially made shirts supporting Suarez. He then neglected to shake the United man's hand before a heated February 2012 FA Cup tie.

Similarly, Uruguay captain Diego Lugano led an impassioned defence of his team-mate this week, lambasting the English media in the process.

Support from colleagues at club and international level has been partly understandable. Why not bend over backwards to ensure a brilliant match-winner keeps delivering the goods?

But this latest unsavoury episode means public support must disappear, especially from those who have an interest in Suarez remaining a star of world football.

The most productive thing Suarez can do with his four months off is to accept that, once again, it is his fault and his fault alone. And no one should tell him otherwise.

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