“I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both,” Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I’ve never read something that truly embodies a soccer player more than this one does Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has built his mental home somewhere between these two natures, and in the past has struggled as he bounced between polarities. His magnificence on the pitch leaves fans and players alike stunned and breathless. He sees the game in a way that only a Cruyff could. Yet he leaves us all confused with his antics. He has bit 2 players in his career on the pitch, leaving even his biggest supporters without a leg to defend him on. All except Brendan Rodgers who has fought for Suarez like a father, both in the media and in the board room. How does Suarez reward the Northern Irishmen and the Anfield faithful? With absolute brilliance.
Suarez is the leading goal scorer in the Premier League this season, despite a substantial suspension to begin the season. He has outscored 7 of the 20 teams that make up England’s top flight. Even more impressively he has more domestic goals then any other player in the top 5 leagues in Europe. He has already hit the 20 goal mark for the season and looks to be a shoe in for the Golden Boot in a League not know for huge goal scoring years.
The Little Uruguayan has always been a genius goal scorer but what has prompted this incredible explosion of goals? Brendan Rodgers deserves a lot of credit. To an outsider for years it seemed that Suarez felt he wasn’t loved at home. Like all neglected children, Suarez lashed out for attention on both the media and Ivanovic’s shoulder. He felt like he was being held back at Liverpool because he thought he deserved to play in the Champions League. Yet somehow Brendan Rodgers was able to sooth the tormented genius, and Suarez has responded well. He now feels comfortable enough to sign a deal that either keeps him at Anfield until a Bale like bid comes in for his services.
This is not to say that Suarez has lost his anger. The opposite is true. Angry geniuses thrive at the medium where their anger and creativity collide. Much like a Sith Lord, Suarez has found a way to channel his anger into a powerful force. It is a dangerous line though. One more incident like the one that happened last year could mean the end of Suarez’s large stage career. The English FA would have no issue banning the repeat offender if he loses the control. While Suarez could still find work, many clubs would be unwilling to pay him the amount of money he may deserve because of his internal Dr. Jekyll.
It has been a long time since someone realistically challenged Ronaldo and Messi as the top player in the world. Ronaldo’s speed and athletic ability make him a handful for any defender, while Messi’s technical ability and goal scoring has won him the last 4 Ballon D’hors. Suarez is a different animal though. In a world of clubs seeking a pure number 9, Suarez floats the bill. His pace, elusiveness, goal scoring ability and touch him make him one of the most complete footballers in the world and my favorite for 2014’s Player of the Year.