Relief at Luis Suarez’s imminent exit from English football 8

Luis Suarez’s exit from Liverpool now looks inevitable and without, making yet another reference to all the incidents he’s been involved with during his time at Anfield, and it’s one of the ugliest, more jarring episodes in the Premier League’s recent transfer history.

Of course, we’re used to seeing Spanish clubs aggressively pursuing British-based talent and most of us have grown a weary tolerance to Marca, to the public tapping-up, and to UEFA’s unwillingness to ever do anything about it.  But with this transfer, it’s really the player’s behaviour which sticks in the craw.

Luis Suarez is revolting.  Truly, he is a disgusting embodiment of all the negatives that we associate with modern footballers.

I’m not a Liverpool fan and neither am I a supporter of one of their rival clubs, so whether players choose to stay or leave Anfield is of little consequence to me.  However, having watched the relationship which has existed between the player and the club over the last few years, it’s almost impossible not to feel some sympathy.

This is a player who has humiliated his fanbase time and again, and who has - via the partisan attachment formed through simply wearing the club shirt - abused loyalty on an almost unprecedented scale.

Some Liverpool fans, those who are old enough to know better, have really humiliated themselves over the past few years and have felt the need to form contrived defences for their star player.  It’s easy to mock that - and I and many others have - but it’s worth remembering just how much of an acute embarrassment Suarez has been to his employer.  How conflicting must it be to have to rely on a forward’s goals whilst also having to tolerate the horrendously negative attention he simultaneously brings upon your club.  The Chelsea game at the end of last season was a perfect example: what was the dominant emotion - the relief at the saved point or the dread of the impending memes, the derision, and scathing ridicule?

Liverpool are not a victim here, because despite the negatives Suarez has guided them back into the Champions League and will shortly be used to swell the club’s transfer budget by anything up to £80m.  But even so, try to look at this from a human level: he has been forgiven repeatedly, endless excuses have been manufactured for him, he was indulged with a new contract as recently as December 2013, he has never really shown any genuine contrition for the brand-damage he has done to this club, and he spent the last two Summer’s trying to artificially engineer a move away.  He is a rat of a human-being.

When I think of Luis Suarez in years to come, I will not only associate him with Ivanovic, Evra, endless simulation and the Chiellini moment, but also with an endless stream of media tactics and off-season maneuvering.  The interviews on Uruguayan chat-shows, the faux-grievances with Liverpool which were designed to force their hand, and the eye-watering lack of loyalty he showed to this club at almost every moment.

A common refrain with Suarez has been to laud him as an ‘asset to the Premier League’.  I disagree; for all his goals and all his great moments, his departure will ultimately be a relief - his tendency to create morale-sapping narratives has been peerless during his time here, as has his ability to separate fans of different clubs into seething little factions.  This country already has John Terry, there’s absolutely no need for another player who provokes that much hatred.

Within a few days, he will be Spain’s problem - how strangely liberating that feels.

There will be some who continue to make excuses for him and who will try to mitigate his behaviour with stories about his childhood or his upbringing; fine, but beyond that smokescreen is an enormously immature person who doesn’t really the deserve the stage that Barcelona will now give him and never warranted the unconditional protection that Liverpool naively afforded him.

Follow @premleagueowl

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