As one of the Premier League's favourite villains, media controversy has never been far from Luis Suarez. It's only been this season that the narrative surrounding him has begun to change. While you still can't get through an article without the author mentioning one ban or another — including this one, sorry! — for the most part it's mentioned as a footnote to the larger and far more interesting story of his incredible and unrivalled form this season.
Suarez's form is indeed completely other worldly, and it's been impossible for the media to ignore it because since returning from his most recent match sabbatical, he's nearly been a paragon of fair play virtue. Suarez had, prior to biting the delicious Branislav Ivanovic, been on an impressive run of good behaviour and then CHOMP, so it's unsurprising that though many are cautiously optimistic about his improved behaviour, they're also waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It seems, though, that Suarez has gained a self-awareness about his behaviour not previously demonstrated, and is making an active choice to restrain the natural instincts that arise given the fierceness present in his game.
"My temperament, my attitude, my desire and hunger when I’m on the pitch has always been like this and will continue to be this way," Suarez said in an interview with ESPN. "I know now that I have to control it a bit more. An example came about two weeks ago I had an open shot at goal that hit the post. It rebounded close to my hand, and I was about to go for it but then stopped. If the same thing happened two months ago I would have gone for it.
"These things stay with me but I’m changing, I’m improving my attitude on the pitch because I know I was wrong in the past. I was creating an image of myself that I know wasn’t me."
One of the more infuriating things about Suarez in the past has been his general refusal to take responsibility in his part of his many controversies; there's often a pervading sense that he's a blameless victim in his many indiscretions. That Suarez is now speaking so plainly about the changes he's made in his game seems like a major step forward in terms of him owning his behaviour, and it's something that lends much credibility to the idea that he has changed for the better this season. Maybe the other shoe won't drop.
"Today all I am thinking about is Liverpool," the striker continued. "I don’t want to create any controversy or anything. I am more than happy with my life here and my wife and children are very happy as well. We are very content with our life. "