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Luis Suarez is the Devil, Part ∞

The English media is fond of Luis Suarez because Luis Suarez sells papers. That fondness is of rather less benefit to Liverpool or Suarez. And now, with player having given them another excuse to talk about him, it's time for another round of Luis Suarez is the devil.

Laurence Griffiths

Whenever it seems the endless circus around Luis Suarez might just have run its course, content to finally leave the striker free to roam the pitches of England, nutmegging defenders, something comes along to make sure everyone stays worked up in a frenzy. This time, it's an interview Suarez did with Fox Sports Argentina that has the press gleefully rubbing their hands and firing up the engines of moral outrage.

"I'm accused of cheating here," he began. "People say I throw myself all the time inside the box. They said that when we played against Stoke, for instance, and in that case they were right. I invented a foul because we were drawing and I wanted to win."

And now you all know exactly what the main talking point will be when Norwich come to town on Saturday. Certainly one understands why Suarez might find himself bothered by the way he's been treated by many in England, but given the global nature of football coverage he's hardly doing himself any favours by choosing to revisit some of his less pleasant moments in the Premier League in such a manner, even if it is with a South American outlet.

Few at the time of the Stoke kerfuffle especially cared that Suarez' dive followed on from an ugly incident that saw Stoke's Robert Huth blatantly stomp the Uruguayan attacker, with pundits and commentators focusing almost exclusively on Suarez' theatrics and Stoke manager Tony Pulis' demands that he receive a ban for the incident. With even fewer likely concern themselves with such details now, the only result of such comments will be to reinforce the narrative of Suarez as cheat.

"Sometimes on the pitch I say to myself, 'What have I done?'" he continued, discussing the more recent incident that was his handball against Mansfield Town in the FA Cup. "But the name of Suarez sells papers. I touched the ball with my hand accidentally, and I was criticised because I kissed my hand. I say to the media: You should talk more about football, not about other stuff."

He's right, of course. Right, however, doesn't make it smart, and a public figure chastising the media very rarely leads to the media taking stock of its own behaviour. About the only thing he could probably say that would be worse than taking the media to task for their rather sad coverage of the Mansfield handball incident would be to accuse them of doing Manchester United's bidding. Which is exactly what he did next.

"When someone comes and says to me something bad about being a South American, I don't cry, because that happens inside the pitch. I have my conscience clean. But as I have said: Manchester United controls the media, they are powerful and the media will always help them.

"It's complicated to play here in England. As Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero have said, it's complicated for a South American footballer to be here as we are treated differently to the local footballers."

He may be right that the name Suarez sells papers, and he may be right that at times the English media does seem to take a special pleasure in making him out to be some kind of cartoon villain, and he may even be right when he suggests foreign players are given a harder time in England than more local players. But he's hardly helping himself by saying so at this point, and in the process he's just given the people who run those papers another excuse to slap his name up on every back page in England.

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