Luis Suarez and No Longer Caring

Laurence Griffiths

Luis Suarez is an insanely talented footballer, but the last twenty-four hours have provided clarification that the emotions simply aren't worth investing when it comes to where his future lies.

Maybe it's a defense mechanism, but I've rapidly become disenchanted with where Luis Suarez plays his football next season. Could be Liverpool, if you believe the club's and player's assertions from the spring, could be Real Madrid, if you believe Uruguayan radio and some of what's been kicking around the Spanish press today, could be Liverpool again, if you believe the player's agent earlier today, or it could be somewhere that Luis Suarez hasn't yet decided, which is the latest mind-numbing twist in an increasingly annoying, boorish will-he won't-he transfer saga.

Everything about Luis Suarez is absurd, from his ability to twist and contort and defy physics with a football at his feet to his on-pitch behavior (biting, hair pulling, questionable use of culturally insensitive nicknames) to the reaction he inspires from others. From the ill-advised t-shirts to the blatant xenophobia in the British press to the nutmegs to the bit of Reflex Blue ClimaCool he jammed between his two front teeth, there is generally little about Suarez that is understated or inspires indifference.

So maybe it's a product of distance--he hasn't featured for Liverpool other than in an apologetic capacity since he scored a typically absurd last-minute equalizer in the draw at Anfield with Chelsea in a finish that he really shouldn't have been around to see. We received assurances from Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers that the club would be working to rehabilitate his character and make him even better, and even more heartening was that the player seemed to be committed to the plan and the club.

And now he might not be, or maybe still is, but none of it is really worth caring about anymore. This isn't a 180-degree turn against a player we've vehemently and blindly defended; we know he's impulsive and flawed and even a little scary on the pitch, and that none of that excuses the types of things he's done in the confines of a football stadium (thought I'll contend that pulling Rafael's hair was the only acceptable move given the circumstances). We also know that the frothing condemnations from sections of the British press and opposition supporters has verged on being even more embarrassing and diabolical than anything Suarez has actually done. There's no "told you so" here.

But there's also not really any sense investing even more emotion into the fate of Luis Suarez anymore. If he stays at Liverpool that's wonderful--I hope he manages to right the wrongs from the past few seasons in some small measure and makes himself notable only for the football. It's likely I'll hope the same for him if he heads to another club as well, so long as it's not in the Premier League and I don't find myself having to root against him on a regular basis. Practically speaking it'll be hard for Liverpool to fill his role, but returns from the last month of the season prove they can cope, even if it's going to take some creativity.

Whatever ends up happening, though, I can say that for now I won't be caring. In a way that's kind of sad, I think--a player who exudes passion and energy and demands that others have a strong opinion or feeling towards him one way or the other will soon settle his future not with excitement or hand-wringing, but with indifference and shoulder-shrugging.

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