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Luis Suarez biting history; Why did he bite opponents?

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez biting history; Why did he bite opponents? Photo/ ESPN.
  • Luis Suarez is one of the complete strikers of his generation. 
  • Besides his goalscoring ability, Luis Suarez is widely known for his outrageous behaviours on the pitch. 
  • The Uruguayan international has a record of biting three players.

Luis Suarez biting history is among the reasons why the former FC Barcelona attacker has faced criticism in his career. 

The current Club Nacional de Football striker has bitten three opponents since becoming a professional footballer in Europe. 

Besides biting opponents, Luis Suarez has also received infamy and was labelled a cheat because of diving, stamping and other antics. 

Spanish football website El Gol Digital ranked Luis Suarez as the fifth dirties footballer in the world in December 2013. 

Putting his outrageous behaviours aside, the Uruguayan attacker is one of the best footballers of his generation. Luis Suarez will go down in history as one of the most complete strikers the football world has ever seen.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez. Photo/ MARCA.

He is an accurate finisher with booth foot and has the rare distinction of being the top scorer in three top-flight European leagues. The only footballers who match the feat are Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy. 

Apart from the individual honours, Luis Suarez has won titles in Uruguay, the Netherlands, England and Spain. He also won the Copa America with Uruguay in 2011. 

Who Did Luis Suarez Bite? 

1. Otman Bakkal 

Luis Suarez biting history goes back to his time as a youngster with Ajax. During an intense match between rivals Ajax and PSV, cameras caught Luis Suarez biting an opponent. 

The incident happened after the match’s referee Bjorn Kuipers sent off Ajax midfielder Rasmus Lindgren for a tackle. 

In the heat of the moment, Suarez suddenly approached PSV’s Otman Bakkal and bit him. The referee didn’t see the incident, but it was caught on cameras. 

Suarez, who was at that time the captain of Ajax, received a seven-match ban from KNVB due to his outrageous behaviour. 

The suspension led to the Uruguayan international losing his captaincy as Ajax refused to appeal the decision. Suarez subsequently asked Ajax to release him to a team outside the Netherlands. 

2. Branislav Ivanovic 

Luis Suarez biting history continued in England after he secured a move to Premier League giants Liverpool. Chelsea were leading the game when Suarez suddenly bit Branislav Ivanovic’s right arm. 

Just like his previous biting incident, the referee didn’t see Suarez biting an opponent, so he didn’t send him off.

However, the FA gave Suarez a ten-match ban and a hefty fine for biting Ivanovic. 

3. Giorgio Chiellini 

The punishment from FA did not stop Luis Suarez from biting another player the following year.

Suarez’s most shocking and infamous bite came at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Uruguay and Italy were tied 0-0 when Suarez launched an attack on Giorgio Chiellini and sank his teeth into the Italian’s right shoulder.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez biting Chiellini. Photo/ ESPN.

As you would expect, there was a heavy price for Luis Suarez to pay because of the third bite. The Uruguayan striker received a four-month ban from all football activities worldwide. 

Suarez also received a ban for nine international matches and a fine of 66,000 euros. On top of that, the lethal attacker was disallowed from entering any football match and training with his teammates for four months. 

However, Suarez’s ill manners did not stop FC Barcelona from signing him that summer. He joined FC Barcelona from Liverpool in July 2014 for a fee of 75 million euros. 

During his unveiling in August, Suarez, who was under the spotlight, promised never to bite another person again. 

Why Did Luis Suarez Bite People? 

Luis Suarez biting history ended at the 2014 World Cup tournament. But why did he bite opponents on the pitch? 

Suarez spoke about his biting incidents in his autobiography – Crossing the Line. He revealed what went through his mind after biting Otman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanovic and Giorgio Chiellini. 

According to Suarez, other players tackle while he bites. His adrenaline levels in a game get so high sometimes; the pulse is racing, and sometimes the brain fails to keep up. 

BBC interviewed sports psychologist Dr Thomas Fawcett to find out why Suarez was biting opponents on the pitch. 

According to Dr Thomas, Luis Suarez biting incidents (especially one for Ivanovic) happen on impulse. They happen as a result of emotional responses and are spontaneous. 

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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