Anything to win, aka “Benvingut, Luis Suarez!”


Let’s be clear about this:

The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act by desperate men, a board trying to save its power-hungry asses and a new coach who doesn’t want to be like his predecessor. It’s at the terminus of an arc of lies and neglect of a sporting project.

At the end of the mountain of bollocks strewn by this board in the name of furthering its project is just the latest piece of crap in a veritable deluge of the stuff. Those sluggards didn’t even have the nerve to say to their new coaching hire “Yes we are supposed to just get you the players that you ask for, but we have to draw the line somewhere.”

The Luis Suarez signing was completed today, for a fee that nobody will ever know, ironic from a board that steeped its initial pitches in “transparency.” It’s also just one more bit of skullduggery from a group that is ostensibly running an organization for the good of the entity. But there is nothing good about this deal, not even the goals that Suarez will score because they will be tainted, smeared with the disgusting effluvia of soulless men.

Suarez is the perfect signing by this board, a liar and a cheat who thinks that you are stupid, who will say that he didn’t deny shaking a player’s hand when it’s on video … who will say he didn’t bite, that a player rammed his shoulder into his mouth when it’s on video. Like our board and our new coach, he will do anything to win. A symbol nonpareil.

But let’s go back in time a bit, to when Barça was a Catalan institution, rather than a business based in Catalonia.


Rosell and his board won in a landslide. The club was riddled with debt, and couldn’t even afford to make color copies. We dealt Txigrinski back to Shakhtar for 10m LESS than we paid because we needed the money. The club went after Laporta for guarantee monies because times were hard.

Then came salvation in the form of a pot of gold from Qatar. The shirt had a sponsor and the club went from “Brother, can you spare a dime” to “Record profits!”

It was also that this point that the Prince Charming theory began, aka “Our team is so special, that not just any player fits. We are trying to sign the perfect one. We shall see.”

To a cynical old bugger such as I this is shorthand for “We have no intention of buying anyone because we have other ambitions, and will hope we can scrape by with what we have.” This phase also kickstarted a period of neglect of the sporting project that has resulted in the crap we are dealing with now.

“Puyol is our CB signing”

One sentence sums up their neglect of the sporting project. Guardiola AND Vilanova saw the need for a squad freshening and reinforcements instead of going Swiss Army knife, and buying players who could play certain positions. But no.

The error was compounded by betting on the wrong horse, cutting Eric Abidal loose on a free for the salary dump and keeping Carles Puyol, who was recovering from his 9,423th successive injury. Abidal went on to play a full season for Monaco, albeit one of diminishing effectiveness, while Puyol became a card-playing partner for Jonathan Dos Santos, then retired at the end of this past season.

Xavi continued to age, Thiago left and suddenly the roster was peopled with a core of stalwarts and some “Not todays.” Tello, Dos Santos, Cuenca, Afellay, Sergi Roberto all languished on the bench taking up roster spots while the first team ran itself into the ground against a succession of opponents that had by now figured out how to play against it.

A caretaker coach was brought in with the task of “Hey, win something if you can.” That he waded through a shit-filled trench and still came within 5 goals of a Treble is a staggering feat, despite the fondness of culers for crapping on his efforts and accomplishments as if it were an Olympic sport. He had the same dwindling, damaged squad that was there when Guardiola left, only it was even more fried, physically and mentally. He toed the party line because that is what a caretaker is supposed to do, but you know that he knew that a phrase like “Puyol will be our most important winter signing” was so much crap.

But the board was on a mission.

“Look what we found in the sofa cushions!”

Neymar. It happened in the night, on little cat feet this deal that cost a whole heapin’ pile of money, a deal that made a president scuttle down the ratlines, made the name Jordi Cases famous (or infamous, dependent upon your worldview) and exposed a sordid bit of dealmaking.

Rosell resigned, Bartomeu took over and laid it all out for us, right down to the 40m for Neymar’s father. He, like Rosell, described the whole deal as “impeccable and perfectly legal.” And even if the Spanish tax authorities took issue with that depiction of events, another remarkable thing happened:

An austerity club spent 57m for a player.

Still no center back though, because well … Mister Perfecto was still proving elusive, but rest assured we are trying as hard as we can to make it happen. Meanwhile … shiny thing!

“Oooooh! Look! MORE Shiny!”

The stadium project. Everything was all about the stadium project. Faux austerity, no signings of any real import for too long, no squad freshening, “we count on Sergi Roberto” all led to a Nou Nou. For a passel of lads fond of monuments, this was it. That referendum had to pass, and frankly, a team being in trouble probably made for a more effective sales job.

“We need this new house, because we can’t compete with the big, fancy teams who have their big, fancy, revenue-generating houses. However we strive to buy expensive players, we can’t if we don’t have the same kind of big, fancy, shiny house. It will save this club. The project will be starting in 2016, so if you want to save this club, you know how to vote in the next presidential election.”

The referendum passed with an appallingly low turnout, one that had many questioning whether the vote was even valid. And that was that. Now, was it time to think about the team? Not so fast, said the footballing authorities.

“You can’t buy that stuff”

FIFA came down with a transfer ban for the club, based on irregularities in the registration of youth players, violations perpetrated by the very folks who were ostensibly in charge of steering the club to better times. Garments were rent, entreaties flung at the nearest available deity to stay this vile punishment. And wouldn’t ya know it, through a series of events including a miscalculation by FIFA itself in assessing the status of a couple of the players, the ban was stayed and the board could now set about the business of no longer being an austerity club.

Suddenly, business was being done. Ter Stegen came. Rafinha and Deulofeu returned from loan. Rakitic was purchased from Sevilla, and Claudio Bravo from La Real. Cesc Fabregas was sold to Chelsea and Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal as, in the space of a summer (rumor has it the transfer ban was only stayed, not lifted) the club has now set about trying to eradicate 4 seasons’ worth of neglect.

And the club has done some excellent business this summer, nabbing key reinforcements for very good prices thanks to timing, and taking advantage of situations in which a player wants to come to Barça. And yet, not only are there too many holes to fill in one summer, but the wanton neglect of the sporting project, a crime that allowed three years to fall from the legs of the best, most vibrant footballing crew of anyone’s recent memory.

Because they are buying all of that nice new stuff, we are supposed to forget about the past, and trust them with the future as desperate men try to save their own asses.

Yet still, no center back because well, you understand that there is a Barça profile, and not just ANY player can be purchased to fit that profile. This one is too big, this one too small. This one won’t be sold. This one is too expensive. This one is just … nope, never mind.

A REALLY shiny thing

Because of all that neglect, the club didn’t win anything worthy of note last season. And there is nothing that will get rid of a president and his board like poor results. So at the terminus of that arc of neglect is a vile act, Luis Suarez, yet another expensive attacker who comes as we pick and paw over CBs, negotiating like little old ladies at the village market trying to knock a few cents off the price of a peach because of a bruise.

Prima facie signing an attacker is correct, given that the club’s complexities last season were not conceding goals but scoring them. So let’s buy this dude, who is in the estimation of many the best forward on the planet, and get busy.

Except the player comes with baggage that is either too much to deal with, or immaterial. Depends on who you are.

Over the course of his career, Suarez has bitten three opponents, and been found guilty of making racist remarks to another in the heat of an argument. He has kicked, dove and displayed stunning feats of self-centered petulance. He is presently serving a four-month FIFA-imposed ban from all football-related activity, except for transfers. Ain’t THAT lucky? He can’t even enter a stadium, but he can have a team pay a king’s ransom for his services. Where his presentation will be held is still in discussion, as it can’t be at the Camp Nou.

In the arms race that is modern football at the highest level, teams want the best players. And it seems, in the case of our board, they don’t much care about the history of that player as long as he can score bags of goals. Many supporters feel the same. Whether anyone agrees is a personal decision. It is also immaterial as the club doesn’t care what any of us thinks. But for purposes of debate, it helps to know where you stand.

For me, a line has been crossed. This board has transformed Barça into Real Madrid in Catalonia. Further, by choosing to bite yet another opponent Suarez has engineered the transfer of his choosing to a team with a better chance of studding his trophy case with more tributes. Who wouldn’t take that kind of sanction? And he gets time off until November.

Justifications and excuses

Pepe is a spectacular defender. I would no more want him at Barça than I would want to set my ass on fire. Suarez has many, many supporters, culers who, besotted on the juice of victory and missing that taste, are fine with it. “Yes! Bring him on! When is the victory parade!”

“We can rehabilitate him, and make him a better person.”
“He deserves a second chance.”
“Kicking is a lot worse than biting.”
“There are bigger problems in the world than someone biting someone else.”

This all falls, for me, under the category of “anything to win.” It isn’t even a question of morality, even as it is a question of values. It’s also a choice of risk and reward, and acceptance. Is the club that we support willing to accept a player AND pay an immense fee for him, despite the fact that said player might in fact cause the reverse of the very thing he is purchased to facilitate? What if he wigs out in a Champions League final?

“Well, we got there, and that’s better than losing to Bayern. He will behave better next time.”

Ask Uruguay if they could have used his services in their most recent World Cup match. Might someone be asking Enrique, “So who are you going to start, now that Suarez has been suspended for (insert transgression here)?”

Valid ask. And by the by, how dare that mean ol’ FIFA suspend him just for one little old bite, a contention that ignores the player’s history, and the clear intent of FIFA that the player take some time to get some help. This is a human being, with a family and people who love him. Not sure how they feel when he does things like that, but it can’t be good, irrespective of the hero’s welcome that he gets upon returning to Uruguay, despite the reality that he let down his teammates and country by not being able to control his baser impulses at a time of struggle.

Many Liverpool fans say that it’s time for him to go, that he’s talented but has become too much of a liability. Seeing a batch of 10+match suspensions come and go tends to jaundice one’s view of a player, no matter how talented.

Luis Suarez should not be playing football this season. He should be getting help for what is clearly a problem. If he hurt his knee, he would have to take the required time to heal the injury. Is a psychological injury any less dangerous to play on?


Barça has had hard men, and tough tacklers. Hristo Stoichkov stomped on a ref’s foot, and hurled himself about the pitch like a man possessed. Samuel Eto’o had his demons, demons that, curiously enough, never manifested themselves on the pitch in ways that brought suspensions, etc. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a self-centered asshat. Here’s a Suarez table:

Groningen: 5 matches, 4 goals, 3 yellows and one red
Ajax: Suspended after an accumulation of yellows; suspended again after an altercation with a teammate over a free kick and who would take it; suspended 7 matches for his first biting incident
Liverpool: Suspended 8 matches for Evra incident; suspended one match for obscene gesture to opponent supporters; suspended 10 matches for biting Branislav Ivanovic (the FA disciplinary committee remarked on the player’s lack of remorse, things that also manifested themselves in the Evra and Chiellini incidents)
Uruguay: Suspended 4 months for biting an opponent during a match.

“He is a fierce competitor who would do anything to win. I want that player on my side.”
“He is a very nice man off the pitch, his teammates like him and his family loves him.”

So what about …

In attempts to justify letting in vileness, people are coming with all sorts of false equivalences, but there is nothing comparable.

In 2011 during yet another hotly-contested match against Real Madrid, Sergio Busquets, Mr. Peek-A-Boo, Van Persie throat-grabber was accused of calling Marcelo a monkey. RM presented video to UEFA and demanded action. Pep Guardiola defended Busquets, saying that “My players are an example of professionalism and honesty.”

The situation was debated in this space from all angles. No real determination was made by UEFA and the case simply went away. Do I think he did it? Yes. Immaterial. The difference is that Suarez was found guilty and punished for his. Like Suarez, Busquets has but the one incident, and despite those who say that each one is a racist, neither is that we know of.

That is to say, they might have made racist remarks (yes, I believe Busquets did), but they are not in an of themselves racist. Again, that’s a personal line. There is also the school of thought that says if your mind immediately turns to racist stuff to unsettle a black opponent, the mouth speaks what the soul contains. Yet in the court of public opinion, you can only go by a player’s actions, and neither has had any further incident in that regard.

Is even one occurrence of taking someone’s humanity like that too much? Again, that is a line that each of us has to define, while making debates about redemption, forgiveness or frankly, not really giving a damn because he scores goals. Where I stand on the matter is clear, and if the club was thinking of transferring Busquets in, I would be looking as askance at it as I did the signing of Rakitic, who has homophobic remarks in his past.

Before you compare it to Rakitic (yes, his remarks are disgusting), he apologized, and there have been no further incidents. Again, does the mouth speak what the soul contains? Valid question.


Rakitic, Busquets and Suarez are brilliant players. Any team would be lucky to have ONE of them, never mind all three. But each of them forces a personal decision upon culers who line up to support Barça. And this isn’t like the board, where you can separate the board from the team and spit at one while cheering the other.

— Do you hold your nose and cheer?
— Do you not cheer any goals that are scored by the offenders?
— Do you go on allegiance hiatus until such time as the crap is cleared from the dressing/board room?
— Do you say “Spirit of forgiveness, and yay for us!”

Depends on each of us.

Again, this isn’t a morality question. But it is many other questions, including pride and values. What culer didn’t beam as announcers crowed about the number of homegrown names that studded Barça’s world-beating roster. Yet as fast as a Messi run to goal, we have become the Nou Galacticos. They have Ronaldo and Bale? Okay, we have Neymar and Suarez. So there.

The club has sacrificed something essential for the sake of winning, and winning right now because the Gucci-loafered tootsies of wealthy Catalan businessmen are in danger of being stepped on. So we buy a player with so much baggage he needs his own Sherpa and culers cheer, because the club got a brilliant player and let’s ignore all of that other stuff. Suarez doesn’t need a transfer. He needs help.

A simple game

What if Alex Song, or Adriano bit an opponent, and was suspended for making a racist remark at another player, even once? What would be the reaction of culers? What if a lesser player was being considered for a transfer and had the same disciplinary record as Suarez? What would culers be saying? Because this isn’t about statistics, it is about humanity. Is it human to forgive? Try inserting Song or Adriano into that equation, and ask yourself what your reaction would be.

Full points for full honesty.

But what about my money?

David Villa was 26 when Barça bought him for a fee of 40m. A few years later, ineffective and damaged, we sent him to Atletico Madrid for 2m give or take. Culers screamed about how crap the board was at business, even though the principal value of that transfer to the club was the salary dump. Suarez is 27, and we will be paying TWICE as much as we did for Villa. And in two or three years, assuming he doesn’t make the club fed up sooner than that, what will be his value? What is the number that will make culers scream bloody murder about how poor the club is at doing business? Because no way in hell will be be sold for anything approaching his stratospheric fee.

“Barça isn’t a selling club,” is what many including myself say. You buy a top player, use him up and then jettison his fat salary while wiping your brow. Either way, when the club buys astronomically high and sells low, that’s two groups of people who will have nothing to say.

The sport of it all

Suarez is, by many accounts, the most talented and fearsome striker in the game right now. And Messi needs a striker in front of him, many assert. So why not the best that money can buy? Suarez runs the pitch, makes space, is excellent in tight spaces and moves constantly, making defenses adjust to his movement and creating spaces for teammates with that movement. He is Diego Costa without the bullying.

On paper, sporting-wise, he is the perfect signing, were it not for the price and the time bomb aspect, not to mention the baggage. In a recent Sport poll, 90 percent of respondents felt the Suarez fee was too high. And while personally, I wouldn’t take him on a free, I can see their point.

But now it’s done, and there will be plenty of time to debate this, as he can’t even train with or play for the club until around November, so think of him as a winter window signing. In this very personal situation and very personal decision-making process, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still struggling over what to do in the wake of this, for me, appalling acquisition.

Danger, Will Robinson!

My first thought when I heard of this transfer news was, “Dude can’t even handle Chiellini, how in the hell is he going to be able to deal with Pepe and Ramos, 3 or 4 times per season?” At times of tension and maximum stress, Suarez seems to have difficulties. Being a Barça attacker is like being in a cauldron of boiling ire. Can he manage?

Then came Hristo Stoichkov, the man who knows a little bit about temper/temperament, with some advice and warnings for Suarez in a most excellent ESPN FC story from Dermot Corrigan:

“I have read about the transfer,” Stoichkov said. “He seems a really good player to me, one of the best forwards, with the character required to play for the biggest clubs — but the bites are going to be a problem!

“He is marked for the rest of his life. To play at Barca with what he has done is a problem. Every opponent and the referees and the press will make his life difficult. He will have to play with provocation and media attention, which will leave him in permanent tension.”

“I made a mistake with the stamp on Urizar and what came afterwards was very hard,” he said. “What is going to come to Luis Suarez will be the same. Opposition players will provoke you, they will look for violent reactions, try to get you out of the game.

“And if you are hot-blooded — well, sometimes it takes a lot to control yourself. Plus, referees are more worried about your reaction than what they say to you. Every game is a psychological war. And then there is the journalism, which also puts on pressure so that you can make some good copy. It is not easy. You must be a bit special to live with that.”

How special is Luis Suarez, in the abovementioned context? We’re about to find out.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Fantastic article, and I agree with practically everything.
    Sorry to nitpick, but David Villa was 28, turning 29 when he joined us which makes him and Zlatan older than the age at which we are purchasing Suarez. Small difference.

    As a Culer, this purchase makes me cringe with disgust. We have indeed become an EE in Catalonia. ‘Anything to win’ seems just about right and we have easily discarded all the values that made us special. It’s like seeing your talented, intelligent and innocent daughter embracing the pole to make ends meet.

    From a sporting standpoint, I see the need for buying a CF. But like you, I wouldn’t have wanted Suarez in our colors even for free, let alone an astronomical sum of nearly 100M.

    Ok, so where are those defenders!
    are we going to go through yet another season neglecting this vital need and coming up with some lame excuse?

  2. hear, hear. disgusting player, disgusting decision by this board. the issues with the acquisition of Suarez, on both a moral and a footballing level, are many and varied.

    – terrible PR for a club who has just suffered a terrible year of PR. that affects our public image and therefore our bottom line.

    – a direct blow at the club’s image of inclusion and fair play. we’ve won the La Liga Fair Play Award 3 of the last 4 seasons; we won the FIFA Fair Play award in 2007. we go out of the way to instill real human values in our La Masia kids, which is part of the reason why Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are the stable, humble people they are. what does signing Suarez, the highest-profile offender of all those values in recent years, say to those kids? that you can racially abuse and even bite people on the pitch, but if you’re talented enough we don’t care?

    – make no mistake, we pushed out Alexis Sanchez to make this happen. we got rid of a (more versatile) 8/10 forward for a 9/10 forward, for *€45m*. we did this because there is speculation that Messi might play better with a striker in front of him. maybe he will. maybe he won’t. that is wholly unproven; the only time we’ve tried to do it was with Ibrahimovic, and that didn’t really work out as planned.

    – we’ve just spunked €75m for a striker, when every football fan on Earth knows that we need serious investment in our defense. apart from the necessary goalkeeper acquisitions, we’ve seen virtually no transfer movement on this front. we have 2 real center-backs on the payroll right now, one of whom is Marc Barta. does anyone really think we couldn’t acquire at least 2 of Marquinos, or Mats Hummels, or Benatia, for €75m?

    – can Messi and Neymar play together? after 1 season, the answer remains “maybe”. yet we’re throwing another big-name, big-ego striker into what is already a very complicated mix. i would argue we require much more investment in our midfield, given our upcoming transfer ban, than in a striking combination that, until recently, included Messi/Neymar/Pedro/Alexis/Tello. all talented strikers with a tremendous array of different attributes to pick and choose from.

    – oh yeah, and Suarez can’t even play for another 3 months, because he’s BANNED FROM FOOTBALL FOR BITING ANOTHER PLAYER IN A WORLD CUP KNOCKOUT MATCH.

    cules who support this trasnfer are simply wrong. it’s a disgraceful action by a board who’s done everything they can to lower the club to the kind of amoral, soul-less profit machine we, not so long ago, derided our great rivals of being. but Real Madrid have never done anything this bad. bear that in mind when you sit there and try to defend this indefensible deal. if we ever had a claim to the moral high ground vis-a-vis los Blancos, we don’t any longer.

  3. You guys can say or write anything you want,but Luis Suarez has become a Barcelona player, if you can’t live with it, jump ship. Call him a liar or whatever, it doesn’t count so deal with it

  4. Couldn’t care less about the moral posturing people are doing. You have yours, I have mine. No amount of rhetoric will change the fact that I hope he does fantastic, and
    Not going to react as if the board itself came into my mothers home
    And upturned all her furniture. For me, This club is about and represents so much more than one Suarwz signing can take away from.

    1. At present for many culers, this club is about nothing and represents nothing. Fair play? To hell with that. Sportsmanship and values? To hell with that, too. We need goals and lots of them.

      As I note above, it isn’t about morality. This club had had vile men running it for decades. But until now, their lack of values and scruples haven’t been manifest in a single transfer until now.

      Dismissing it as “moral posturing” is facile and not entirely accurate.

      Ultimately, everyone has their own, very personal views. Mine are expressed above.

    2. Hmm, again, I see where you are coming from, BUT it is a matter of perception. You see Barca fans might perceive their club as having great values, fair play, sportsmanship, etc. So they see the Suarez signing as a betrayal of those values and that it will hurt the image of the club. The problem with this perception is that it is pretty much ONLY Barca fans who believe this. Outside of the club nobody thinks Barca hold these values, in fact most people see Barca as cheaters and divers and “sportsmanship” is the last thing associated with the club. That is my problem with people who say that signing Suarez goes against the values of the club or that it will ruin the club’s image. The whole concept of Barca having higher values is a myth. Barca players will do anything to win just like anyone else, other players kick and push, Barca players dive and roll around.

    3. Agree completely with this, Hilal.
      This is not to say that one view or other is correct, rather that it is important to take a step back and consider that our opinion may, very possibly, be incomplete.

    4. Have you read some of the bile on twitter? Some people are 100% turning this into a morality issue, having a go at people who aren’t calling for Suarez’s lynching immediately.

  5. Great post, even while I disagree with some of your points, I can see where you are coming from. I wouldn’t have signed Suarez myself, given his obvious drawbacks, but I do see the value of signing him and why the coach wanted him. A few of my quips..

    1) Just because we are spending big hardly makes us the galacticos. Barca has always spent big on players to complement its youth. Ronaldinho, Henry, Zlatan, Villa, Alves. All big money signings. Yes the Suarez sum is huge, but that is the market, if you want to play in it you have to pay up. I still see a strong core of Barca bred players who are going nowhere plus Rafinha and Deulofeu have returned and they refused to sell Pedro. Dislike the board all you want, I am no fan of theirs, but we are a far cry from becoming anything like the Galacticos.

    2) While I agree that CB’s are essential, signing a striker was as important, IMO. Our main issue last season was actually the inability to score more than the tendency to concede too many goals. Just because we need to sign CB’s doesn’t mean we do not also need to sign a player like Suarez. Let’s wait and see how the rest of the transfer window pans out before we pass any judgements. For all we know the board will go and buy two quality CB’s in which case you couldn’t really fault them in the transfer window this time. Yes they have neglected the sporting project for a few years, but better late than never!

    3) Your question on Alex Song or Adriano is not the right question frankly, because they are not similar calibre players. It is a case of risk and reward. Buying a player like Suarez is high risk but high reward. If Song or Adriano did something similar it would be different because the risk of keeping that player is so much greater than the reward. A more pertinant question to ask would be… What if Messi bit someone? I bet most people who are so vehemently against Suarez wouldn’t be so quick to get rid of Messi.

    My last point is this. So far, Suarez has done nothing bad in a Barca shirt and untill he does I will chear him on like any other player because above all I want Barca to win and to win playing the type of football we all love watching. If Suarez can help to do that then he will be a good signing.

    1. My last point is this. So far, Suarez has done nothing bad in a Barca shirt and until he does I will cheer him on like any other player because above all I want Barca to win and to win playing the type of football we all love watching. If Suarez can help to do that then he will be a good signing.

      This basically sums up my opinion. Hes part of the team now. A soldier in our ranks and a divided house cannot stand Ive done some really shitty things in my life under pressure. I cannot be the one to cast the first stone.

    2. that’s an insane opinion, frankly. how could you possibly say that his goals and assists for previous clubs count, but the other things (bite players, racial abuse) he does on the pitch don’t? just because you want to gloss over them?

      mark my words though, he will transgress in the blaugrana. he’s done it at every single club he’s played for; why would we be different? then maybe you people will wake up.

      if Messi bit *multiple* people and racially abused a player, EMPHATICALLY YES i will renounce him and not want him at the club, as that would be horrible for the club’s image. i care about our club, and don’t want to see it cheapened by having to justify the violent or racist actions of any one player. apparently many of you don’t hold the same standards.

    3. As I mentioned above, these “standards” of yours are all pretty much in your head. The image of the club, outside of its fan base, is not of a club that has such great values. Most people see Barca as a bunch of divers and cheaters. If it did actually hold true to the values you claim, then I could understand this arguament, but frankly, it doesnt. I have felt embarassed many a time watching Busquetz act like he was shot when he was barely touched. Hardly the great image of sportsmanship that many Barca fans like to believe in.

      I never said that his goals and assists for previous clubs count. He has not scored or assisted for Barca yet, just like he has not bitten anyone in a Barca shirt yet. Till he wears the Barca shirt and either scores a shitload of goals, or bites someone again, he will be neither a good nor a bad signing. He could be a complete failure sporting wise without biting anyone. New signings are always risky, especially at Barca which is a very complex system to play in. Just because he scored lots of goals previously doesn’t mean he will for us. Right now he is a signing with a lot of potential to either go very well, or very badly. As with most big money transfers there is a lot of risk involved.

    4. Hilal, but it is the right question precisely because they are not players of similar quality. It’s exactly my point. A player’s behavior and the tolerance thereof is directly related to what he can do for a club.

      Your first point it an excellent one. I would also suggest that of your list, Ronaldinho was added to a struggling club, Henry a veteran looking for a last hurrah. Ibrahimovic really the only Galactico-type player on that list, but I get your point, so please pardon my semantic quibbling.

      It seems that many people are reducing the contention to being against Suarez. For me, the biggest problem is what Suarez represents, and the potential effects. I have nothing against him, though I think that he needs help. For me, the broader questions are as enumerated above.

    5. Ahh ok I see what you mean. So essentially what you are saying is that it shouldnt matter how much a player can bring to a team, their behaviour should be looked upon in the same way? Yeah, that makes sense in principal and in an ideal world that would be great, but I just dont see that ever being the case, at any club. The high value, high profile players will always be able to get away with more than the lesser value players. I think that stands true in most walks of life and not just football. I have a colleague at work who is rude, aggressive and frankly just a dick but exceptional at his job. If he wasnt so good I doubt he would still be there, but he is. Such is life.

      Again, I completely understand where you are coming from and what the signing represents to you and frankly to me it sounds like you dislike the board a lot more than you dislike Suarez.

      Maybe I am just a bit of an optimist but I would like to believe that Suarez will come and be an amazing player for us and that next year a new board will be elected. So we can have our cake and eat it too 🙂

    6. Actually to be more specific, I dislike what the board has done in the name of “saving the club.” I don’t dislike Suarez at all. I don’t know him. I do dislike what he represents, which I think is lost in all of this.

  6. As already mentioned, we bought him, so everybody should live up with that. Those who can’t, well…
    It was not the wisest decision, that’s a lot of money, but in the end it might turn out to be what we really lacked in these last couple of years.
    As for the defenders, the board already stated that the deals are on place and that they will get announced as soon as the WC ends. I believe that that’s the case, i just don’t know who will those names be.
    I would love Hummels, Verthogen and Cuadrado. And we have money for them.

  7. i’m incensed by the lack of concern about this, honestly. i had thought that people here had more respect for the club and what its values used to mean. evidently to many those values are secondary to sporting success.

    and that’s a shame.

    1. So you purposefully separate the opinions on this matter into only two categories ‘the morally correct’ and the ‘morally corrupt’ and claim you’re one of the first, Hmmmmmm

      If it were up to me, I would have never bought suarez for any price, Yet at the same time i recognize it’s not a black and white issue, I can squeeze my head and come up with good counter arguments and points, Just like many members in this blog did, Yet at no point i felt the need to place myself at a higher moral ground than those who share a different opinion than mine, And no one has the right to do so.

  8. BTW, I didn’t expect that this piece would be at all popular. But in a situation where a personal view is all that any of us has, this is mine. If someone wants to say “We bought him and that’s that, so shut up,” that is certainly their right.

    People follow the team for various reasons. Some don’t care about the club or how it is run, and only follow the team and its exploits. Win or lose, doesn’t matter a whole lot in a deeper fashion. You sit in the bar, watch the matches and cheer for goals. If the team loses, whatevs.

    There are deeper fans, where exploits of the team matter in a deeper way, but they don’t care about the club or how it is run. Many levels of worldview.

    What is MOST important is that we keep the debate respectful. Thanks for wading through all that above. It’s appreciated.

  9. Very happy. Even with all the self-righteous indignation. Hope he doesn’t mess up.

  10. This could well be the second disastrous mega-signing in a row for us. I do not doubt Suarez’s skills. I recon he’s far better than the overrated Neymar, the manner of whose signing already damaged our reputation.

    It’s his mind that’s the problem. He went for nearly a week denying any wrongdoing in the Chiellini fiasco, only to apologize for it in the end. That’s the standard M.O. in all his previous scandals.

  11. I will reserve my judgement on Suarez for when I see Suarez playing or his interaction with the team. That may take until November as a matter of fact, but I didn’t trust the general shouting about Barcelona signing a diving diva in Neymar. Turns out those were right in sorts, but Neymar stopped diving in the course of his first season in Barcelona. So yes, I have faith.

    What we are witnessing now is a squad overhaul, as extensive and as expensive as the one that brought the Dream Team of Cruyff and the Second Dream Team of Guardiola.

    I will probably be named a fanboy of the soulless minions of Satan that rule the club for what I’m about to say:

    What was it about Pep’s team that was less about winning and more about keeping the Catalan identity of the club? Were Henrique, Caceres, Keita, Dani Alves and Hleb brought up by the club, nurtured from birth with the milk of humility, Barcelona/Catalan values, or were they brought, as was Pep Guardiola, in order to win and reverse the slipping grip of power from a Club President who was subjected to a vote of no confidence and lost it, and survived due to the fact that only 60% voted against him instead of the 67% required?

    Was the original Dream team, which was built and replentished by Catalans Laudrup, Koeman, Stoichkov, Txiki, Bakero, Goiko, Hagi, Romario and Salinas(not to mention Zubi) about winning or was it brought together to make the star of La Masia and its graduates, Guardiola among others, shine brighter?

    It is true that Barcelona has become more than a club. It is an institution. Barcelona and its president and board have a choice, a real one, and it is as bipolar as it gets, and I think you’re lying to yourself if you think you can have it both:

    a) continue to try to win, and win big and win all and be the best team in the world (hopefully while maintaining its identity and trying to maintain its values despite the scandals)
    b) forget about winning and concentrate on imparting the values of bringing up home-grown players with Catalan identity and Catalan values, and Catalan socis and Catalan Masia. Essentially, become the Athletic Bilbao of Catalunya.

    And no, you can’t choose both. Look at the goal-scorers in the Champions League finals and tell me how many of those are Catalans.
    That is not to say I want Barcelona to turn into a Real Madrid lookalike that plays in Camp Nou any more than it already is. What I am trying to say is that in order for Barcelona to continue to be able to impart its values, it has to continue to be an example of winning while showing those values. We can argue about whether signing Neymar and Suarez puts a stain on those values, but I’d rather wait to see how Suarez acts before I start throwing stones. What I know is this: in order to have someone listen to you, you have to be successful first. In order for people to donate to UNICEF via Barcelona, in order for them to want to find out more about the values of Barcelona, Barcelona first needs to show that those values work and the way a football club can do that is by winning.

    People will continue to speak about the bastards that destroy the soul of the club and the dreams of children that want to play baseball, but what I know is this: Barcelona continue to pay its 1.5m Euro to Unicef for the right to put its logo on the shirt, as small as that logo is. Barcelona continues to spend money for improvement projects the way it used to when charismatic and selfless pure-hearted Laporta was president. As a matter of fact those payments have increased due to the fact that such deals are included in the latest players’ contracts.
    I will be playing on your sentimentality strings, but that doesn’t make it untrue: Do the kids that benefit from Barcelona’s contributions know about the fact that Barcelona has a corporate sponsor or that it signed a player that bit other players? Do they care if they know?

    Everyone decides for himself in the end. For me it is both a personal and a national thing, because I am certain that it was Barcelona’s example which made Porto, Stuttgart, Hamburger SV Rapid Wien, Valencia, Atletico, Sporting and others find the rough diamonds and polished them to the perfection which made a golden generation.

    I started supporting Barcelona when it dared to sign a hot-blooded East-European striker with a history of violence and I never looked back. A six-year old doesn’t care about stepping on a ref’s foot, about whether the management is Catalan enough or noble enough. It cares/d about the dedication, devotion and ecstasy with which thousands of strangers with impossible names embraced a foreigner as if he was one of them by birth. That love, weakened and strengthened by age, perspective, expectations and reality, will take something much stronger than “Look, we signed Suarez. Aren’t we vicious and corrupt monsters?” to uproot.

    1. For me, it’s a little late to not want Barça to turn into an RM lookalike. The two clubs are now more alike than they are not. Heck, RM decided not to pursue Suarez after this latest incident, so not sure where that puts us and them in that context.

      I like your comment, Peter, but you overstate to make a point. It isn’t about, to quote you, “the bastards that destroy the soul of the club and the dreams of children that want to play baseball.” It’s about businessmen doing anything to win, and whether an individual is okay with that.

      This is, for me, an unprecedented period in the club’s history from Neymar to the stadium project to the Suarez transfer. Yes, the club has had controversial characters, but none like Suarez.

      While I disagree vehemently with sainted nature of Guardiola, I ask myself if Guardiola/Laporta would have chased Suarez. Ibrahimovic was simply an ass, which makes the situations different.

      Laporta was as self-centered as any businessman. He wanted parties and trophies. Gaspart wanted power and control, still not sure what the hell Nunez wanted. But this current situation has no analog in the club’s history, and it strikes me that people are trying to draw parallels as if it has. Let’s be clear about what happened today:

      The club transferred a 3x serial biter with a suspension in his past for racially abusing a rival team’s player.

      That is, simply put, unprecedented. Stoichkov was a hothead and, almost certainly, bonkers. Still, no parallel to Suarez. I have seen a great many semantic dances and justifications today, but for me it’s a very simple thing: He scores goals and people want the team to win, so let’s do this. He can be rehabilitated.

      And that’s fine if people feel that way.

      But as for showing values, I don’t think that the club really HAS any values as a matter of public perception in the wake of this signing. So the necessity to keep winning to showing any values — that ship has sailed.

    2. Sorry Kev but you cant call Peter out for overstating when you lead with ” Lets be clear about this, The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act…”
      No it’s not “clear” to all people, because all people don’t view it as such. I needn’t waste my breath Peter said it all.

    3. KeVIN, please. I hate “Kev.” Thanks.

      Sorry Kev but you cant call Peter out for overstating when you lead with ” Lets be clear about this, The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act…”
      No it’s not “clear” to all people, because all people don’t view it as such. I needn’t waste my breath Peter said it all.

      The “in my opinion,” as in “Let’s be clear about this, in my opinion, the Luis …” isn’t necessary for clarity, because as the writer, that it is that person’s opinion is stipulated without needing to be explicitly stated.

      And “calling Peter out” is more aggressive than my intent.

    4. So basically we’re arguing opinions haha. In your opinion Peter is overstating, in my opinion you were as well. Etc. Etc. This whole saga is difficult because it’s mostly all a matter of opinion and I dont think anyone is changing anyone else’s minds here

    5. Some would argue that ship had sailed long ago. Maybe the signing of Suarez makes it that much more blatant to the fans who still believed that the club had values, but for me that happened a long time ago and I have reconciled with it. I can site lots of examples spanning over the last decade that are not in line with the club’s so called values but I am sure you all know them just as well as I do. It is funny how Barca fans gloss over player’s actions when they wear the shirt, but if they play for another team it’s “Oh, a Barca player would NEVER do that”. Ironically that is part of the reason the image of the club from other fans is negative. It is the hollier than though attitude that has no bearing on reality.

      As for arguing there is no parallel with Suarez, I have to disagree. There is an over vilification of Suarez. He is not evil. He is not some sort of raving lunatic. Like most football players he loses control, his problem is that the way he manifests that loss of control is weird. I say weird because I believe that is the best way to describe it. It is not particularly violent or harmful, certainly no more so than some of the other stuff that happens on the pitch, even for a bite he could do a lot worse (see Tyson). However, it is so out of place on a football pitch that it brings a furor that to me is a bit lopsided.

      Players lose control all the time on the pitch, we have signed players who had worse reputations when they joined us than they do now. Mascherano is one. He used to be very hot headed, would lose control ALL the time. I actually remember when we signed him a lot of people were saying the same things about him that they are saying about Suarez now, namely that he does not have Barca values (apparently he couldnt pass either). Rash and dangerous challenges were commonplace in his Liverpool days but he learnt to control himself when he came to Barca and he is a far better player for it. Why is Suarez so different? Why is it that you believe he cannot control himself? Is it the fact that he bites instead of kicks or goes in for a dangerous tackle? Those are just consequences of losing control, so if you can maintain control of yourself then the consequence is irrelevant.

      Or is it that the board would sign somebody who doesn’t uphold the so called Barca values? Because based on that line of thinking we really probably should not have signed Mascherano based on his previous behaviour at Liverpool and IMO he has been one of our best signings of the past 5 years.

    6. Good questions, Hilal. We have to separate the player from the deeds. I don’t Suarez can control himself because he hasn’t been able to in the past. People made money betting on whether he would lose control in the World Cup.

      I think that Barça is a very difficult place to play, both on and off the pitch. From demanding supporters and rabid media types to the politics that manifest themselves on and off the pitch … and that’s from the “friendly” folks. From opponents, as Stoichkov said, expect a nigh-endless supply of goads and attempts to get him to go off.

      I also suspect that officials will be judging him with a tighter than usual eye. If he only tallies, say, 20 or so goals, a number for which Ibrahmovic was deemed a failure by many, what then? 80 million for 20 goals? If he thinks the English press was against him, he ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

      The perception of Mascherano when he came to Barça was, in best characterization, a no-passing card magnet. No biting, no boots to an opponent’s stomach, etc. He went in hard, and had a bit of a hot head.

      And no, it isn’t that the board would sign someone who doesn’t uphold “Barça values.” Nobody can even state what those values are. The purist in me doesn’t believe that a team should do anything to win, if that can be construed as a value (and I believe that it can).

      So when people do racist chanting, I don’t even know if they are racist. Many are probably doing it to put an opposing player off his game. But it’s still anything to win, and worse because it is via taking someone’s humanity in an appalling way.

      Suarez, beyond the acts perpetrated, has shown no real repentance for them, which means that for the psychoanalytical types, he isn’t even completely sure how wrong they were. And his latest transgression got him what he wanted: a transfer to Barça.

    7. I agree with a lot of what you are saying here, but I still think the you are comparing the wrong things between Suarez and Mascherano. You are comparing their actions, which I can understand, but for me it is not about their actions, it is about their inability to control themselves in the heat of the moment. Both players have that in them.

      Mascherano lost control repeatedly at Liverpool and that is why he garnered this reputation of being a card magnet and a bit of a hot head. The way I see it the difference between him and Suarez is the reaction, because Mascherano’s reactions are perceived to be within the scope of the game (and while I have not seen him kick anyone in the stomach he came close to those sorts of challenges at Liverpool) he didn’t get as bad a rep. However it still comes down to losing control. You said you do not believe Suarez can control himself because he has bitten 3 times. Well, how many dangerous tackles did Mascherano commit at Liverpool because he lost control? A lot more than 3, thats for sure, and yet at Barcelona he matured and I can only ever really remember him making one tackle that was properly dangerous and where he clearly lost his head. No reason to think Suarez cannot do the same.

      As for the pressure, yes he will be under huge amounts of pressure, but that can be a good thing, being under that much of a spotlight might actually get him to clean up his act a bit more. Also, at Liverpool and Uruguay, he is the man, it is ALL on him. For somebody who grew up the way he did, that feeling of being relied on to produce, I am sure is quite the weight. That will not be the case at Barca, while he will be under pressure to perform, the team will not be relying on him to win, with players like Messi, Neymar and Iniesta on the pitch. It is an entirely different kind of pressure.

      It is going to be very challenging for him, both on and off the pitch, but now he is a Barca player, I will support him and hope that the can overcome those challenges.

      “And his latest transgression got him what he wanted: a transfer to Barça.”

      I think that is a pretty cynical way to look at it. What it got him was a 4 month ban and getting dumped out of the WC. Barca was going to sign him either way. The coach wanted him and the board was going to give him what he wanted.

    8. Kevin, I said I don’t want to see Barcelona look any more like Real. Yes, there is a difference. We are actually arguing about whether Suarez represents the values we want to see our club uphold. Real don’t have that – instead they have Pepe, with vikingos screaming “PEPE KILL THEM!!!” and back in the summer of 2011 they had placards saying “Mou, your finger shows us the way!”

      I don’t think I’m overstating it one bit. You say the signing of Suarez is a vile, disgusting act by desperate men trying to hold onto power, and your main point is about them neglecting the sporting project in order to build themselves a monument, while at the same time talking about how in their desperate attempt to hold on to their seats they are fulfilling every wish of their new hire(This is not the way to call Luis Enrique). So are they neglecting the sporting project or are they pouring money with both hands into that same sporting project, or are they neglecting it by pouring the money of the club in the transfers of the absolute best player with no regards to the values?

      As for Suarez being without an analog, here’s something about Stoichkov:
      He wasn’t bonkers. He was just a winner, the kind that does everything to win. His was less about winning nobly in the way the English press and pundits would have us believe is/was England’s way, and more about winning at all costs(Sounds familiar?). For people like that the idea of not doing everything possible, holding yourself back due to some noble ideal does not exist. It’s warrior spirit, not sportsman spirit. As for what he is capable of, the stomp on the ref is known, but if you ask Cruyff, he will probably tell you why he used to say to Stoichkov “Hristo, no mamata! No mamata!” There used to be a videoclip of Stoichkov pouring out profanities set to a famous classical Bulgarian folk song. Lip-reading of what he said would make a truck driver blush and stammer, to put it mildly. He was also part of what has become a legendary Bulgarian Cup final between his team CSKA and Levski. At that point these two were like Real and Barcelona, complete with the national team being mostly consisting of players of both teams. The game was so violent that at one point the two teams started fighting each other on the pitch(after one particularly brutal challenge the victim started strangling his attacker, which started the whole she-bang). The scene was so ugly that the whole thing was sent for arbitration by the Central Committee of the Communist Party (that’s basically like the Secretaries of the POTUS having to reach a decision on a brawl during the Super Bowl). The cup was taken from CSKA, and Stoichkov initially banned for life from sport and the two clubs were dissolved, to be started anew with new names the next season, with hefty punishments for the technical staff of both teams, with some famous players discharged from their clubs forever. The year after that the bans were voided, due to the fact that the international sporting image of a socialist country is very, very important and CSKA and Stoichkov were going to represent Bulgaria in European competitions(this is how Cruyff got to meet him). I haven’t seen footage, because at that time I probably needed assistance to climb onto the carpet at home, but I have heard the stories. Stoichkov was the most heavily penalized of them all, which says a lot.

      This is why I don’t really understand the whole storm against Suarez. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. For me what is important is not the man’s reputation before he came, but what he shows himself to be dressed in the colors. And that is what I mean by talking about values – Liverpool snapped Suarez fully knowing about his reputation(it may have been a tool in the negotiations as well) and in the years he was with them he was punished by the club only once – when he demanded they stick by the contract and let him leave for a sum superior to 40m pounds – not for allegedly abusing Evra, not for biting Ivanovic – for wanting out. The first thing Barcelona did before going for him was to demand that he apologizes (and it’s rumoured that he has a clause that prohibits him from biting players). To me that means something – the same thing which, seemingly contradictorily makes Messi go and make Neymar/Dani Alves from performing a goal dancing number. But in a way that’s my point – in order to show humility and respect for the opponent, in order to display magnanimity you have to defeat said opponent. Here’s why – people don’t condemn Ronaldo for scoring a meaningless invented penalty against a helpless opponent, taking his shirt off and flexing his muscles as if he saved his team from a certain defeat – instead people talk about Real winning La Decima, “The wonder of Lisbon” and whatnot.

      In the end we’ll have to agree to disagree about that one. I still hope you won’t end up removing yourself from the ranks. It will be a crying shame. 🙂

  12. Great article Kxevin, even if I don´t share your opinions. I think your last line really gets to an essential point I´ve been trying to back, namely values are inherently subjective, and I don´t mean this to be sophistry. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and an opinion´s merits duke it out through rhetoric generally. However, some folks here point towards some sort of moral high ground, which to me doesn´t exist. Barça is a business in Barcelona, but if you´ve been to the city during the last 15 or so years, you might notice that Barcelona has become a glorified shopping mall. There is a big socialist/anarchist/republican movement in Catalunya, but it ain´t in charge. Barça leadership has been, and will continue to play the political game, and frankly they are rich businessmen, very much out of touch with the plebs.

    Look, I´m very progressive politically, but I think it is a bit naive to assume that ten years ago the team had better values. We had a few players with better values for sure, but those are very hard to come by. Messi is the only superstar I have ever heard of that doesn´t sound like a giant ass. Jordan himself has become one hell of a ´republican´ in his modern owner image. The team is a business. It is a Catalan business. And what is the Catalan stereotype in Spain?

    As for values, I will restate this again: Neymar took a raise even though he knew the ENTIRE Santos women´s program would be cut. Talk about values! The sport itself is a misogynistic and homophobic institution. I have a very hard time supporting Neymar because of this now, and while I am more than happy that racism is being discussed, I also think that the powers that govern are some of the most corrupt and hypocritical people on the planet (for any institution). From what I understand, Suarez called Evra a ´Negrito,´which, for the English speaking world, is construed as racist, but you can find Bars in the Spanish speaking world called Negrito as it is a nickname. I am not supported the usage, but rather provided context.

    Ultimately, I just need to glance at the tattoos most players have and I know that they are not part of my social demographic. I just don´t rate Suarez as that different from the millionaires running around with ample amounts of self importance.

    To me, the act of voting, even if ultimately rather meaningless, was a big part in becoming a Barça supporter. The club is still rather egalitarian, which for an American expatriate, was something new an exciting.

    Anyway, people are entitled to be offended by what Suarez has done. I just hope that we can try to be a little more positive. Let´s not crucify him yet.

    1. I had no idea about the Neymar pay rise/Santos women’s program thing. This is appalling. Have to do some research.

      Our board has been a boondoggle from day one and its transparency and more Catalan than thou posturing. Been saying that since before the actual elections. But they have surprised even me here.

    2. Okay, did some digging. Yes, to keep Neymar at Santos, the club had to jettison some programs that were, in the words of the president, not self-sustaining. This, from the Wikipedia entry on the Santos women’s team, which echoed the rest of the things I found while digging around:

      The women’s section was closed in 2012 due to lack of sponsorship. The club’s president Luis Oliveira closed down the women’s team and the men’s futsal team because those weren’t self-sustaining. It was attributed to the effort of holding men’s star Neymar at Santos.

    3. Yeah, I heard it on NPR the other day. I was really upset. This isn´t a tit for tat justification for Suarez´s behavior issues. Just trying to put racism-violence in perspective. The ´violence´in Neymar´s case being the destruction of a lot of people´s jobs/passions and the racism being overt sexism by the individual and team.

      No names on the back of Barça women´s shirts right? Sure, women´s sports is never going to be as big of a sell, but that´s just outright disrespectful. If I had the kind of money these guys blow on t-shirts, I would certainly be supporting women´s soccer, or, at the very least, using status as a platform.

      Anyway, Suarez has behaved like an ass as well, I just think he gets vilified more out of connivence. Not trying to sound like Cockran either!

    4. I don’t know all the aspects of the case but what I understand is that Neymar wanted to be paid more and the club chose to suspend the women’s team to do it.

      The argument might be equally made that Messi wanted a raise and the club did not buy a CB to do it. A player makes a demand for a salary and the club either meets the demand or should sell him. Santos could have made a lot of money by doing that and chose not to.

    5. It is if the CB were a woman and you don’t know that it wouldn’t have been. 😉

      Still think the argument that Neymar is sexist because of this is weak. Let’s say your boss wants you to take a pay cut in order to avoid firing another worker who is female. If you say no, are you sexist?

      We could equally place our CB troubles at Neymar Sr. for wanting an illegal bribe to sign his son. That to me makes more sense, but I don’t know if that would be convincing either. Santos and Barca wanted Neymar and were willing to pay an agreed on price for his services. Both could have said no.

    6. No, i think that it is sexist on part of santos, but neymar demanded a raise and took it even though it screwed a lot of people though. Sounds like wallstreet. Anyway, that story is there to support my greater agrument, namely that most super star athletes are wankers or maybe its just super stars in general, i mean just look at damian hirst.

  13. Before {well, after, I guess) you try to make Busquets seem more heinous, please remember the “Van Persie throat-grabber” was Eric Abidal, the patron Saint.

    Not sure how you could convince the two unless you, well, really wanted to paint a negative image of one so badly..

    1. Then whose throat did Busquets grab? Looks like Van Persie in this image:,_F%C3%A0bregas_%26_Van_Persie.jpg/220px-Busquets,_F%C3%A0bregas_%26_Van_Persie.jpg

      The Abidal throat grab quite honestly escaped my memory. I trust that, historically, the fact that I have never done that which you accuse me of would speak for simple forgetfulness, rather than some ulterior motive. But maybe not. Either way, there’s the image I reference above.

    2. .
      Frankly, Kevin, I don’t think many people would call «throat grabbing» to what Busi is doing in that Wiki photo, which looks more like a «keep away/don’t get close» gesture.

      But the fact is that Josep is indeed right. I remember a spectacular photo of Abidal grabbing Van Persie’s throat with a mad face. I didn’t find that photo in particular, but I’ve found another one from the back:

      That I would call «throat grabbing»…

  14. Brilliant post Kxevin. I really appreciate the hard work you put in even though I dont completely agree with your views, which is fine. Most of what I wanted to say has already been very well explained by Hilal, Peter and deerWithWings.

    I just wanted to say I accept Suarez is a flawed man but instead of looking at this and saying “Look we hired a racist and a biter” I look forward to saying “Look we hired someone who USED to be a racist and a biter, BUT now he has inculcated the barca values and is an excellent goal scorer in addition”.

  15. Nice post Kxevin but my thoughts have been echoed by Peter in an earlier comment.
    Kudos btw for the post…

  16. “The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act by desperate men, a board trying to save its power-hungry asses and a new coach who doesn’t want to be like his predecessor. It’s at the terminus of an arc of lies and neglect of a sporting project.”

    Oh, please. Too much hyperbole tea for breakfast. The world has ended several times already, and it always picks itself up and carries on. We’ll do fine (in some ways, in other ways not), Suarez will do fine (in some ways, in other ways not), etc. etc. Here’s to an interesting year!

    1. Hyperbole to you. It’s your opinion just as the phrase you quoted is mine. Respect is due both, rather than scoffing at the person who disagrees with you.

  17. While I am not as appalled as Kevin to see Suarez wearing our colors , I just want to say this was an excellent article.

    1. What absolutely kills me (and many others against this) is from a sporting perspective, this transfer would have anyone in their right mind over the moon with glee. It makes perfect sense in every way, even from the fee. In context of what players at the top cost, 70-80m is even something of a bargain.

      There’s just all the other stuff. Just as I sometimes envy those who can be fans of a player, I envy those who can step back and JUST look at this from a sporting perspective.

  18. For me I am a fan of a club and want to see it do well. I chose to invest my time and emotions to root for a club that made me proud. But everything about the Suarez signing since Luis’s World Cup bite has diminished my respect for the club and embarrasses me.
    Let me enumerate:

    1) We immediately came to Suarez’s defense and have publically stated that he is an admirable, humble and honorable person. The hypocrisy in this has made us the laughing stock of world football. If that doesn’t bother people, that is their choice but it irks me.

    2) As far as I can tell we received no post bite discount. When you buy a player, you are buying a complete package and the risks, poor publicity, suspensions, and questions about this player’s future to mentally perform at a very demanding club. These did not seem to matter. As far as I can tell we paid the same amount as we would have without all the grief that now comes with signing Suarez after this latest incident. As far as I know this is unprecedented in the history of sports.

    I know many will not like the analogy, but I will make it anyway. Let’s say Michael Vick was found to have be involved in dog fighting again and suspended for half a season from football. Any team that would then pay top dollar for him as if it never happened would be perceived as ridiculously reckless.

    3) To say that Suarez has done nothing wrong yet as a Barcelona player is a bizarre argument. He has done something that has already diminished the club greatly. Barcelona and Suarez both knew that he was going to be with us next season and yet he got himself suspended, did irreparable harm to his image, and now our club. We can debate the morality of biting all we want but any man who still does what everything in his interest says he shouldn’t do has a huge problem. Just ask Bill Clinton.

    4) Kxevin’s argument that this is a desperate move by desperate men rings true to me. The club is saying it will do everything possible to ensure that we have a successful season next year. If that were the standard then why no CB signing last year. Had we done that then it is very likely we would have won the league and the idea of us paying full value for Suarez at this point would have been laughable.

    The worst signings are when you pay top dollar for a player who has already reached his best athletic potential. Suarez has done that and like David Villa will be worth only a small fraction of what we paid for him in 3 years time so we are in essence paying 20 million euros for each season in addition to his salary. In contrast, after three seasons we got full value for Sanchez and Cesc when they were sold.

    I hope Suarez works out for Barcelona because like everyone else I want to the club to be competitive and win. But like many I find most of the aspects surrounding the signing troubling. Come next May we will know a little more about what we are getting for our investment. Till then we will just have to wait and see because nobody knows what will happen and this is very much part of the problem.

    1. I think a lot of this is based on how people choose to let their respective fanaticism affect them. I swell with pride when I wear my kit, when the team plays well, when I hear accolades for our players or club as a whole.
      Am I sad when they lose? Of course. Do I get agitated after seasons like the last, with Dani’s crosses, Tata, etc. ? Of course.

      I never let the negatives ever embarrass or diminish me in any way. I would never feel ASHAMED to say I’m a FCB fan, no matter what the board did sporting wise ( If they suddenly withdrew the Unicef agreement then that’s another story). It’s sport, it’s not this high society beacon of light some people seem to be parading it as.

    2. I can respect that but for anyone to say that Suarez’s bite had not effect on Barca or its fans is just plain wrong. It all comes down to three factors that must be weighed together:

      1) How much are the club and its fans “hurt” by Suarez’s signing?

      2) How much will Suarez hurt or help the team in the next few seasons by his actions?

      3) Is he worth the risk and the investment?

      Question 1 is for each fan to decide now. Questions 2 and 3 will be determined later on, but if we are still debating them by this time next year, then the answer to me will be that he was a very bad signing.

  19. Congrats on yet another well written piece. While I think our biggest priority should have been signing a CB, possibly two, I for one love this signing for several reasons:

    1)Suarez is spectacular. I’ve been watching a lot of LFC over the past five years, I married a scouser, and this dude is fantastic. I used to think he was overrated until I saw him on a regular basis.

    2) Some of us enjoy our footballers with a bit of craziness to them. That wonderful, magnificent, explosive temperament found in players like Keane, Cantona, and former culés like Maradona and Stoichkov.

    3) We need balls. This team has been lacking in attitude since Pep left. I understand many people like the whole “mes que un club”/we’re noble, wonderful people business, but with Puyol gone we need a warrior on the team. A ruthless, pedal-to-the-medal player who gets in people’s faces. Sergio Busquests- who by the way has been accused of race baiting and stomping on player’s head- is going to need some help in that area. I think Suarez can provide it.

    1. IMO, race baiting and stomping on players’ heads doesn’t show that a player has balls, it actually shows the lack of them.

      But I do agree with most of your points. I’ve wanted to see Suarez in barca since his Ajax days, but recent events made me rethink if I really want him in our club. But now that he’s here all I can do is be optimistic and give him the benefit of the doubt.

    1. Surprised no mention of 1 possible 4-3-2-1 With Ney and Messi free behind Suarez…especially when they wasted all that type on a 3-4-3 with Pique as LCB and Mascherano in the Middle. That formation would be suicide.

    2. That’s a little over simplistic a response for me. I’m merely echoing what many footballing accounts and journos I follow have been saying for a while. We don’t know what instructions Lucho would give, etc. That it simply wouldn’t work, that’s compltwly your own opinion man.

    3. It is a simplistic response. People try to make tactics a complicated thing, but it’s not. The reason it won’t work is incredibly simple.

      Just think about the natural movements both Messi and Neymar like to make. How do they like to receive the ball, and what do they most like to do with it? They like to receive the ball at their feet so that they can create shooting and passing opportunities.

      So, you want both of them as playmakers behind the striker, which means that both of them look to receive the ball in roughly the same space and if they get it, playmaker 1 would be standing in the space that playmaker 2 likes to dribble towards.

      How would they not get in each other’s way? They need space to dribble in a somewhat diagonal line, opening towards their stronger foot, which in your formation is towards each other. It’s a bottleneck.

      Now if you say 4-3-3 and give Messi and Ney free roles starting from the wing, that might work better.

      Personally I’ve been advocating the 4-2-3-1 from the above article for some time now, except I don’t call it 4-2-3-1 because a 4-2-3-1 is simply a 4-3-3 to me…

    4. I keep forgetting you know how the players will play under Lucho. How silly of me. Leave me to my thoughts and you to yours.

    5. And if I seem perturbed it’s because You’re leaving no room for nuance. It simply won’t work according to you. There are other sources and voices I follow that argue otherwise. Thus respond with why you think it might not work but don’t simply give a dismissive wave of the hand as though you are the be all end all of tactical nous, you come off i condescending and acting like a know it all.

    6. Actually I said “why” in my first reply and when you thought it was simplistic I expanded on that “why” with a further three paragraphs.

      As for continuing this argument, I won’t. You can read my comment below.

  20. For those looking into the PR strategy around the announcement of Suarez’s signing it couldn’t have come at a better time. It comes on a Friday before two World Cup matches and today many sporting shows at least in some countries will be concentrating more on LeBron going back to Cleveland.

    So at least we got that part right. Suarez’s signing will be buried on our club website too tomorrow for stories about how our best player will prepare to fulfill his World Cup dream. Messi to the rescue again. Talk about Messi dependency

    1. James back to Cleveland. Man … from Miami, no less. Word is his wife wanted to return, which would explain that. Always listen to the boss.

    2. “It’s all good, LeBron. Come home, prodigal son. Come back to the place you were born, the place where we hated you and missed you and loved you nonetheless.”

      Cleveland gets a tearful reunion which makes Fab’s coming back to Barca seem trivial in comparison.

      Barca, on the other hand, gets an ethical dilemma, problems, questions, and uncertain hopes. I certainly envy Cleveland on this one.

    3. Lebron is going back to Cleveland?! I had no idea, which is what I get for swearing off SportsCenter. Can’t say I regret that decision, though 🙂

      That’s a great point about the PR angle here. The football world, including the majority of Barca fans, is going to be far more interested in the WC final and third-place match. This is a discussion that could rage for weeks, but instead we’ll have something else to occupy our interest.

  21. You got a great debate going here with your post Kxevin. Kudos. Nice to see most people can have civil debates while completely disagreeing with each other.

    So, I want to start another discussion, one that has not really been discussed much yet… What does everyone think of our new coach and his actions/intentions so far.

    I have to say, so far I like what I am seeing. Getting rid of all the dead weight, making good signings to bolster our midfield and attack and I assume defense will follow shortly. Bringing back Rafinha and Delofeu. Most importantly he renewed Mascherano. That to me is the best thing the club has done so far this summer and I am sure LE had a big hand in that. He wants a leader on the pitch and we have no better leader in our team than Mascherano.

    He obviously has a plan with Suarez and while I am saddened that Sanchez had to leave I can see the logic in it. All other issues aside, Suarez on paper is the perfect fit. It reminds me a bit of the Henry, Eto, Messi trident that for me was the best attacking trio I have ever witnessed. It has the potential to be even more potent if LE can get the tactics right and if the 3 of them can build some chemistry. Messi and Neymar didnt really get the chance to gel last year due to the various injuries to both. It seemed like every time one got back the other got injured. Hopefully that will not be the case this year.

    Really looking forward to seeing how much he uses Rafinha and Delofeu. I suspect the former will be used more than the latter, but I think Delofeu might get a good shot at the start of the season while Suarez is out.

    I know there is a lot of negative energy swirling around the club due to Suarez but I for one am really, really looking forward to next season. It does feel like a fresh start and one that was well overdue.

    Now just sign some bloody CB’s…

    1. Lord only knows. Return of the real press? Messi at a 10? What of Alves and Song, whose salaries are likely to mean they stay until they leave on a free, or the right price comes in. 3-man back line?

      It should all become more clear once we know what CBs are coming.

      The real beauty of Henry/Eto’o/Messi was as much on defense as offense. Henry had as many fouls as the defenders, and covered more ground. Remarkable.

  22. Not exactly the best signing in my opinion, but I do think that he gets lots of s**t for that biting incident. Sure, it was wrong and all… but wasn’t Zuñiga’s tackle way worse? The bite on Giorgio Chiellini didn’t leave any big damage… while Zuñiga’s tackle made Neymar lose the semifinal in the World Cup.

    Seriously, I find it amazing that Suarez gets way too much hate for that. About unethical practices, well, even Barcelona’s players do them once in while: diving, always pressing the ref, exagerrating fouls, etc… and some of them are regarded as heroes in Barcelona.

  23. Thanks Kevin for the post , and I really enjoyed the discussion .

    For any normal club , I think the reward slightly overcomes the risk of the Suarez signing .
    For a club that has a slogan saying “mes quen un club” : This shouldn’t have happened at all.

    The principles the club has been tested , and the club was put into a very clear choice : Are you just a normal club or more than that ? . and you all know the answer .

  24. When will people stop using “more than a club” to support their anti-Suarez stance, it’s very tiresome an ignorant

  25. Disappointed. But at least this signing puts to rest our posturing about values or moral superiority. Barca is the same as any other big club. No more calling RM EE for me, after all what’s different between us and them? Don’t other La Liga teams see us both as the evil empire that sucks up tv money, and keeps them dueling for mediocrity? As someone mentioned earlier “Mes que un club” is just a marketing statement tool now. Apparently thinking otherwise is considered “tiresome and ignorant” these days.

    1. Just a little to add to the perspective I feel:

      The sooner people stop pretending we were always the most chaste, pristine club ever created the better. It’s tiresome and ignorant because it’s twisting the words to suit their own arguments. This slogan came into existence in 1968 as a FU to Franco, as a statement of identity. Im sure the Catalan struggle for independence is directly linked/ taking a supreme hit because of Suarez’s signing. T Ridiculous.

    2. Yes exactly this. I find it infuriating how fans use this slogan incorrectly to justify some sort of moral or even sporting superiority. It is a political slogan that has nothing to do with being sporting or morality on the pitch or having any better value than any other clubs. Fans just use it to laud over other clubs.

      I have a friend of mine who lives in London now but is catalan and grew up in Barcelona. His entire family are barca fans that go back generations and I had this discussion with him the other day. For them the concept of maye que Un club is about catalan identity and has nothing to do with morality or values. He has no problem with selling sponsorship on the shirt or naming the stadium or anything like that since it doesn’t infringe on the club’s allegiance to the catalan state. He told me this concept of being morally superior or better in some way is something that foreign fans came up with because it gives them something they can be proud of but it has nothing really to do with what the club stands for, which is catalan independence. I think that is why you will find that hatred of the current board comes mostly from foreign fans who believe they are destroying the image of the club by selling the shirt, etc.

    3. I’m not disagreeing with you guys. My point is that the club markets itself in this way to fans. Some have been fans long enough that they are disillusioned from this aspect, and some are not. But I don’t think it’s ‘tiresome and ignorant’ to buy into the marketing hype the club is feeding you, especially if you are foreign and the club is your main source of information regarding it. Personally for me it was Qatar being featured on the shirt that finally disillusioned me on this aspect. Qatar’s enslavement of south asian migrant workers is far, far more reprehensible than anything Suarez could do.

  26. I think Tata was way too decent to succeed with this board. He should have demanded to spend bucket-loads of money to prop up his position.

  27. Can’t figure it out why somebody would still think that we are the good guys all these years and RM are the bad guys. Probably only in culers minds that opinion exists.
    Outside of our shell, we are hated as much as every other big club, in Spain and in Europe, mostly due to our success and our ability to buy big.
    For those who understand politics a little bit. A key to a long rule for governing power is that people generally have short memory, and they forget about the bad moments in their life when you give them something new.
    And when that new thing through a period of time becomes unlikeable you give them something new.
    The same will be with Suarez. People will talk, will demonize him, but as soon as he gels with the others, start scoring goals, Barca getting victories, most, if not all will forget about the discussions whether was morally correct to buy him or not at “that” time.
    We’ll have a topic here and there about his bad past, but in essence, if everything goes well, it will be forgotten.

    1. It will be forgotten. Just like his stellar play at Liverpool pushed to the background his previous moments of madness that had cost the club so much. Until it happened again.

  28. That was the point.
    No Liverpool fan argued about his past incidents as long as he led them to the best season in decades, and unfortunately not to a PL champions.
    I’m sure we will come to this when the good things start to happen.

    1. and they don’t hate him now, they thanked him for his service, for leading them back to UCL and helping the, almost win the league. It’s a sport, not the United Nations.

  29. You guys all have a point but what I find funny is that if Bayern hadn’t signed Lewandowski, they’d have gone for Suarez & if they did get him, we would have come out guns blazing at the board for ‘neglect’. For neglecting the sporting project which is what they are good at, for passing up on the best CF in the world & letting him go to a CL rival. But Bayern will take him, Pep will manage him well (his problem doesn’t seem to have to do with attitude & ego, seems more of a psychological one) & make him even better. Then we will whine & whine for missing out on him & even a Thiago Silva signing wont calm us down. Other club fans are whining because they’ve missed out on him & are hoping he implodes. My problem is I doubt if this board can manage him, can create a serene atmosphere where he’s somewhat loved & doesn’t care about media outside which I highly doubt that. This board mismanaged the best barca in history, cant even protect Messi who rarely needs protection. How can they manage Suarez?
    In all, I think this is a great signing for us from a sporting perspective only if he’s managed well & has nothing on our clubs motto for people who really understand what it means.
    People find it easy these days to have a go at our motto & it isn’t because we signed Suarez, its down to track record of Rosell’s board.
    Also for does totally against this signing, i suggest you take it as a win-win. He either works out or will be a big mess for the board to clean up & maybe reelections.

  30. @agar2515

    “I keep forgetting you know how the players will play under Lucho. How silly of me. Leave me to my thoughts and you to yours”

    Comments like this are not in accordance with the standard and spirit most of us like to see here at Barcelona Football Blog.

    We’re here to discuss football, and our club in particular. You are more than welcome to disagree with me about how our club should play next season, but if you want to be “left to your thoughts” then the solution is quite simple: don’t express them on a message board, because here we discuss our thoughts respectfully.

    [EDIT: And I do mean that you are welcome to discuss football here. I don’t want to start or continue any argument with you.]

    1. I will second what Levon has posted here. We can agree and disagree, but it needs to be in the spirit of this space. Our words are not us, but merely means to voice a thought or opinion that we have. We can agree, disagree or agree to disagree. But it must always be with respect.

    2. You completely miss what I’m saying. If you can’t handle a hint of sarcasm then maybe you shouldn’t act like your word is law and talk down to people.

    3. Referring to Mr. ” Your tactical idea simply wont work” Levon. Sure is agreeing to disagree isn’t he?

  31. I’ve been away on holiday from this board for a while, but come back and read this opening beauty:
    Let’s be clear about this:

    The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act by desperate men, a board trying to save its power-hungry asses and a new coach who doesn’t want to be like his predecessor. It’s at the terminus of an arc of lies and neglect of a sporting project.

    -wow…just wow….I’m speechless. At least try to appear to be imapartial of your views about the board. But then you go and throw out these lines – with a dangerous assumption that indeed, Lucho would only want Suarez to stand out from Tata. Clearly, from what I tell, you no little about the man who is our coach, as if you did, I believe you would find what you stated to be nothing further from the truth.

    I’d love a retort, because truely I respect a lot of what you have written in the past, but this has absolutely left me gobsmacked.

    1. It is what I believe. Enrique wants to keep his job and the board wants to remain in power, and both understand that trophies will perform that task.

      I have never, ever been less than clear about the fact that I think this board is leading the club down a path that I do not like. I have given it credit where credit is due, but from even before they won election the rumblings, from my perspective, have been clear.

      I see no reason to sugar coat those views, and I never have.

      As for Enrique, none of us really know anything about him, really. So it is all speculation. Who among us would be noble when it comes to survival? Without question, at present, Suarez is considered by many to be the best striker in the game. That’s from the sporting perspective. From the non-sporting perspective, the player carries real complexities and PR landmines that would have argued against his signing by the club in a different time.

      In the here and now, he is a lifeline for men who should have been more circumspect.

    2. Enrique wants to keep his job. ALL coaches want to keep their
      jobs, period. However this is a man who absolutely knows the politics that surround the club and has the runs on the board in his playing days to commit and want the best for all, and has demonstrated his love for the shirt through many years of playing and captaining our team… Hell, we havn’t even played a competative game yet under his leadership!

      I understand the stance on the current board – I agree with you in many ways about the board. However, as a fan we need to back the club in. The club will always be bigger than any individual player, or administration member(s). These people come and go, and so do the administers. The club will always be here. We need to more than ever show our support for the club, not some smear campaign because they sign a player you don’t like on a PR level.

      For all of what we bang on about more than a club, lets be real, we are just another football club in a comeptative market. The landscape is not what it once was. We sign the best available players to be the elite of the elite in club level. Suarez is one of these players.

      I wonder how many people would change their stance if Suarez scores 30+ and takes the pressure off Messi. Money well spent then I’m sure if we get half of what Suarez did on the field as far as banging away goals.

      For the PR side…I feel he has had his pennance and believe he will be better than ever before because of it. He has a fresh start here, judge him on the performances he will do on the field playing for us.

  32. Well written Kxevin but it is a little dramatic. What Suarez is guilty of on this occasion is petulant not evil or even dangerous. That he has done it before doesn’t make it any less childish and isn’t in the realm of Tyson’s bite or Pepe’s ultra-violence in my opinion.

    Peter, Hilal and deerwithwings have all made good points too in reply.

    What I would say is that people who want to find fault with the board and are going to use this as another example and people who don’t will see this as signing the best striker in the world.

    I’m not a fan of the board but who is a better option or even close in footballing terms?

    1. Not dramatic at all for me, and the reasons why are spelled out above. I didn’t even really get into the almost complete lack of contrition, which is the biggest reason that I think he will do something again … he doesn’t think that what he did was particularly wrong. Nor, apparently, do most folks.

      I wouldn’t take Pepe on a free, brilliant defender though he is, because I think that he is also a menace, and one ill-considered moment away from costing his club. Like Suarez.

      I think that you can admit the board and our coach erred in this decision AND think Suarez is a brilliant footballer. But sometimes, sport has to be superseded by humanity and other aspects. As noted above, he should be getting help for his impulse control complexities, not signing multi-year deals that pay him a king’s ransom

      As for who is better, the first question is with Messi and Neymar, do you NEED to go all in from a sporting perspective, so to speak? RM is about to buy James Rodriguez from Monaco. For how much? Almost certainly not as much as we will be spending on Suarez. Would Mandzukic have been good enough? Valid question. Atleti snagged him for 22m.

      As good as Suarez? We will see about Rodriguez. Mandzukic certainly isn’t, but would he have been more than capable of getting the job done, which in this case is being a 9 in front of Messi and banging in 15-20 goals? Absolutely.

      I just believe that to reduce what Suarez did to “just a bite” misses his history of incidents and an even more troubling history of a lack of contrition. He only apologized for the most recent incident because the club made it a condition of his transfer. Who wouldn’t cobble together some publicist-penned “apology” to land their dream job?

    2. Very eloquently put, even while I disagree, haha. It’s great how good writers can make you see their point of view even while yours might be different. Guess it is why I keep coming back here and while I hope you don’t give up on Barca just yet Kxevin. For purely selfish reason of course, so these sorts of posts keep coming 😉

      I think how “wrong” what Suarez did depends on many things, but mostly it is something cultural. Similar to the whole “negrito” incident. For somebody like Suarez, who bascially grew up on the streets in Uruguay, biting probably isn’t very high on the list of bad things you could do to another person, even on a football pitch. So you are probably right, I bet he doesnt really think what he did was so bad, and as you rightly pointed out, not everyone does. Personally I find it weird more than wrong or as morally reprehensive as some others find it. That to me though, is not the issue, can he be controlled? Can he be made to stop? That is the question. It doesnt matter if he believes it is right or wrong as long as he doesnt do it again. He is not raising my kids, he is playing football for the club I support.

      “As noted above, he should be getting help for his impulse control complexities, not signing multi-year deals that pay him a king’s ransom”

      These are not mutually exclusive things. He can do both and I sincerely hope and I imagine that he will.

      The apology was not sincere ar all, it was as obvious a forced apology as they come, but again, as long as he doesnt do it again, it doesnt matter. The club obviously believe they have a plan to control him, otherwise I doubt they would be taking such a huge risk. Think about it, if he comes and bites somebody again and gets banned, thats it they are toast, they are done. Why take such a big risk when you quite rightly pointed out there are other alternatives in the market, that while not quite as good, would certainly do a good job. Their asses are on the line here and as sleazy and slimy as they are I am pretty sure they would not risking so much without at least having a plan to keep Suarez from further infringements.

      I also have faith in LE. A strong manager can go a long way in controlling a plyer. Look at what Simeone did with Diego Costa, who had some very serious impulse control problems on the pitch. Now, while he remains aggressive and is certainly a fired up player, he for the most part keeps his shit under control. That was not always the case at all –

    1. A nice read, but flawed at points. I don’t think that Suarez is a match winner. No player well and truly is, but Messi is about as close as anyone, with Ronaldo a very close second. If Suarez were a true match winner, his skills could have gotten Liverpool around the corner that they were so close to rounding.

      He is a brilliant footballer. As for Sanchez, the reasons he had to go had nothing to do with anything except economics: he wanted to go, and we couldn’t keep him. Luckily he had a great World Cup, so his price was right around what it should be.

      Personally, I think you need a player like Sanchez on your team because of his unfathomable work rate. Next season, the team will have three strikers who, when they lose the ball, mostly stand there and shrug. Neymar is improving at tracking back, it must be said, however.

      I suppose we will see what happens.

    2. I am sorry but on this point I have to strongly disagree. Suarez IS a match winner, not only that, he is a player who has the ability to create something out of nothing. That is a quality that very, very few players have. He couldn’t get Liverpool around the corner because Liverpool are a team that are average at best, the fact that he got them anywhere near winning the title is remarkable and even Liverpool fans will tell you that. I do not think even Messi could have done any more for Liverpool than Suarez did. In fact the only reason they didnt win the title is because Gerard slipped and cost his team a game that cost them the title.

      Suarez was involved in absolutely everything good that Liverpool did, if he wasnt scoring, he was assisting and if wasnt assisting he was creating danger or providing the pass that lead to the assist. He is not just a brilliant footballer, he is a one of a kind player, his intelligence, movement, tenacity, skill and eye for goal make him absolutely unique. He also has a great workrate and I have a feeling he is going to be our best presser up front. He was always the first one pressing for Liverpool.

      Like Messi he is also one of those players that makes all the players around him play better when he is on. Liverpool are a completely different team when he plays for them. Say what you will about his lack of control, but as a footballer he is best of the best, only Messi and Ronaldo are better and they play for far superior teams. With the right team Suarez has the potential to be just as good as those two.

    3. I’ve stayed out of this so far as I’m not sure I have a mainstream view. I’ve always thought Alexis added little to our forward line in terms of genuine offence so on that score Suarez is for me a huge upgrade. I’m still a little uneasy on the purchase but that makes me a hypocrite as I’m always the first to say to staff at my work that we should never give up on kids or let their past affect how we treat them. So, I suppose I am persuaded by the view that we should judge him on his behaviour in the Barca shirt.

      However, what is not in doubt for me is that this guy is a game changer big time. I’ve sat and watched him every Saturday night over the past couple of years and Hilal is absolutely right. He has changed countless games on his own in a pretty ordinary Liverpool side. Whether he fits in is still to be seen but this is one clever forward who can find the smallest gap in a defence.

  33. While I dislike Pepe as much as the next guy, it should be pointed out that this season with Ancelotti in charge he cleaned up his act a lot and hardly pickep up any yellow card. Surely if a guy who literally kicked a man while he was done can do that, Suarez can as well.

  34. From Hilal’s post above:
    “I think how “wrong” what Suarez did depends on many things, but mostly it is something cultural. Similar to the whole “negrito” incident. For somebody like Suarez, who bascially grew up on the streets in Uruguay, biting probably isn’t very high on the list of bad things you could do to another person, even on a football pitch.”

    Very true. There was a fascinating story about Suarez and biting on espn titled something like ‘Suarez: Portrait of a Serial Winner’ that dived pretty deep into all this. However we all feel about the biting incident(s) — and there is a pretty wide range of opinions here — the view from Uruguay after the FIFA ban was fascinating. Even the President of the country, who in my opinion is a very noble man, took time to express an opinion, and it was very much in support of Suarez. All this to say that while many people on this blog seem to agree that there are some profound and fundamental problems with Suarez, that he is a very dangerous person, etc., there are many many others that find that assessment ludicrous. The divide seems to be cultural (no surprise, I guess).

    1. Cultural? Maybe Uruguay is different, but during my many years in South America I have never been bitten by anyone. Nor do South Americans playing in football leagues the world over display this behavior.

      I think the problem in Uruguay is that the over the top ban provoked over the top feelings of victimhood. Suarez should have gotten two or three games, or maybe the rest of the tournament because it has happened twice before, but no more than that.

    2. This is an interesting piece on Suarez that was on the Huffington Post:

      For me, Suarez isn’t a dangerous person, per se. But he is a person who, when under moments of severe stress, evinces appalling impulse control that manifests itself in unusual and violent ways that stand out above and beyond the game’s usual violence.

      Aaron Hernandez, the former American football player now facing murder charges, is dangerous. Suarez is really a danger only, potentially, to the chances of the team paying him in the aftermath of another ill-advised incident.

      I honestly think the length of the ban, as expressed by the FIFA official who discussed it, was so that the player could get help. The difficulty is that he doesn’t think that he needs help, and judging from the feedback the world is giving him, he doesn’t. Therein lies the dilemma.

      Liverpool knew of his past when they got him, and believed they could reform him. Now it’s Barça’s turn to have a go.

  35. As I mentioned to Kevin on twitter, I stand by the view that the club will always remain. This board will eventually be gone and we will recover. The damage, however, is detrimental to our image.

  36. Hopefully Holland will start attacking from the get go tonight. I don’t understand why they have been so reserved until the 2nd half or even in the dying minutes. This is the last match, nothing to lose for. Hopefully they’ll just go all out and show what they are capable of. There’s no need to fear Brazil. Hup hup Holland.

  37. Notes on Biting:

    Here is an interesting article on the physiology of human biting behavior (BB) in some psych patients, but it may have some relevance to Suarez. I offer it here for what it is worth.



    “The act of biting was a rapid motor action, lasting approximately 600 ms, occurring in the context of strong emotional arousal, fear, and anger, with various bodily gestures with aggressive connotation.

    BB was mainly a “reflexive” behavior, in that biting acts were evoked by actions of people in close contact with the patient. The sole intrusion of the examiner’s hand in the space near the patient’s face was effective in triggering BB.


    “Behavioral data suggest also that BB and related aggressive gestures can be considered as the emergence of instinctive behaviors with an adaptive significance of defense of the peripersonal space.”

    Suarez Biting Incidents: *

    Questions for Enrique:

    Current odds on Suarez banned for biting for next season are 14 to 1 Against 1 to 25.

    1)Which way should I bet?
    2)Has anyone looked into mouth guards?
    3)Do they come in blue and red?
    4)Can we get corporate sponsorship for them?

    So far this is the best I can find:

    1. Ahahahah 🙂

      You Sir, are on fire! I like that some here take it with a little humor. Hope his dental strength will give us the extra bit *zing* next season.

    1. With your hard luck story and my scientific evidence we can probably reduce Suarez’s ban to 2 months. But will that be in time to get him in for the first classico?

      What we need now is for Luis to save a drowning puppy and then donate said puppy to a local orphanage. He can then build a state of the art football facility for them and become their coach for the next six weeks. Then the ban will be as good as done.

  38. There was a post mentioned several times “that you don’t support a Club based on the players they buy or sell”, something to that effect. Now, some fans do, they like a Club because of a player, then the player goes, but remain a fan.

    I love Barca and I became a fan not because of any player but because of the philosophy they claim to stand for: possession-based football, a.k.a tika-taka; the La Masia, our poster boys “choir boys”, and if you want to include politics/nationalism, the Club is steeped in tradition and history.

    What turns me off is how the governance of this Club has handled situations, mostly leaving a bile taste in my mouth. Any decent human being in that management could have handled situations like firing of the team’s equipment manager much humanly as possible. What about Eric Abidal’s exit? Neymargate? Replacement of Rossell without an election (does Bartomeu call himself interim or he is there to stay?). All these asinine things that the board has done makes me want to be a soci and call out a petition to have them resign en masse.

    This board has to go! I agree that most of us will continue to support our beloved Club, but how long can we stand the decisions made by this stupid board.

  39. Has there been any mention of a biting clause in his contract? Absolutely serious…

    1. Let’s assume that I am racist scum and don’t think that Suarez did insult known race card waver Patrice Evra by calling him “negrito”.

      Here’s my question, which I have pondered while breaking from rereading Mein Kampf and pondered on the cruel fate of its tragic visionary author:

      Why is my Aryan brother from black grandmother Suarez sharing showers and hygiene products with other negritos like Kolo Toure, Sturridge, Sterling and Sakho, to name a few? Why haven’t they cried out like the lil bitches they Shirley are against his shirking their presence, not to mention refusing to shake their hand and showing his disgust at their animalistic music choices? Is he lying low? Is he pretending, while clenching his teeth and counting the days until freedom comes, so that liberated from the clutches of hypocritical FA directors he can cry out and pour out his heart at the injustice?

      Now seriously, if you speak Spanish and have followed the latest racial abuse scandals in mainland Spain, you may have noticed that when Spaniards want to racially insult this or that player, they throw bananas at him or they “do the gorilla”. Why is that? Why don’t they chant “Let the blackies hit the floor?” Wendy, Wanda, I wonder…

      How come Suarez, whose grandmother calls him “mi negrito”(his skin coloration is indeed a few shades darker than Edward Cullen’s) and whose ancestors include actual “negritos” is a convicted racist? Can you compute, please? I surely can’t.

    2. We could even have this conversation at cafe negrito in valencia.

      Its hard to to translate hispanic culture to the anglo-american though. I mean, my wife and i would always go to this small vermut bar in poble sec where the bartender’s nomme de guerre was el negrito, but he was from cadiz.

      Not trying to pooh pooh racism here, but i currently live in new orleans and what suarez said doesnt really come close to the racism here. Again, not a justification, bit an appeal for perspective.

      Anyway mujica likes suarez so he cant be all that bad of a guy.

    3. Peter and deerwithwings, let’s be clear about this:

      — We would have to assume that Suarez and Evra were friends, right? Because if some white person who is NOT my friend, no matter the circumstances, says something like a phrase that includes the phrase “nigga” (friendly connotation vs the more hostile “er” usage), they will have some tall explaining to do to keep from getting popped in the chops.

      The semantic backbends required to make the Suarez used of the word in a heated, argumentative situation are eloquent, but trust me … racial slurs during conflicts between someone white and someone black are like luggage — always in the closet, and always handy, ready for use.

      It is deeply, deeply offensive when people in the U.S. claim “political correctness” when whites can’t use the same words as blacks in describing each other, completely misunderstanding the situational usage of the word. Hell, even when there are mixed-race groups, someone white should make absolutelydamnsure the black person they are calling “my nigga,” in fact IS. Because that word can make things change in a hurry.

      deerwithwings, you live in New Orleans. I had occasion to spend time there and trust me, racism is as virulent as any place in the U.S. Are there cultural differences that involve use of the word “negrito?” Sure are.

      But if it is a term of endearment, as so many claim, do you use it with someone of a different race with whom you are arguing? That was the question at the root of the FA sanction, in part.

      So attempts to excuse the inexcusable just because the person making the excuse thinks that Suarez will bag lots of goals and is a wonderful signing are, if you will pardon a bit of bluntness, bullshit. Those people should come out and say, “I want Suarez on the team, and I don’t care if he screwed a llama while pissing on a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr., wearing a Klan hood and gnawing on entrails.”

      That is clear. But these constructs that are created are not only personally offensive to many in this space including black folks like me, but they are intellectually offensive.

      I do wish, as I have stated before, that people would just say it.

      Then people stomp around with the “Suarez isn’t racist,” stuff, or in the words of Peter, “Let’s assume I am racist scum,” using hyperbole to diminish what is, prima facie, an act of taking someone’s humanity.

      You don’t have to quail at sharing a shower with black players to be racist, assuming there are those who think that Suarez is racist. Prisons are hotbeds of racism. They are also places where black and white inmates must interact on a daily basis. There are ways to hew to your beliefs, even in that environment.

      Personally, I don’t know that Suarez is a racist, as noted very clearly above in more than one instance. I DO know that he was ajudged guilty of using a racist term.

      Yes, it was “He said, he said” in a swearing match, which in no way diminishes the offense that Evra clearly must have felt.

      There are those who say that Evra lied, that Suarez wouldn’t do such a thing. Those people should talk to someone black about the pain that word, in ANY of its cultural or linguistic variants, can bring. They should also ask what Evra had to gain by lying about having his humanity taken away.

      “Oh, Suarez meant ‘negrito’ in the same way that friends or loved ones do,” is the crux of such cultural and linguistic contentions. For me, they don’t hold a drop of water, logically. Because when you are angry with someone, you don’t call them terms of endearment. You try to win the argument and hurt them. On the pitch or field, you use words to throw a player off his game, to get him to react. That doesn’t necessarily make that person a racist, while making use of the phrase or word in that context, no less wrong.

      That isn’t a semantic quibble, when you rip someone’s heart out like that. And it isn’t funny. Not at all. It’s hurtful, and it feels unbelievably shitty for me to have to sit here and type the reasons that it should be offensive to ANYONE, black or white.

    4. Thanks, Kevin. I mean it. I know it’s hurtful for you, but sometimes we really, really need to understand how the other side feels about the matter, simply because for some it’s impossible for obvious reasons to be able to put themselves not in someone else’s shoes, but also underwear, blouse, trousers and headgear.

      I am not convinced still about Suarez. I know where you come from and why even discussing it offensive for you. However, Kevin, I still have to say this: You are looking from your side of things. Have you tried looking from the other? You know about racism, either first-hand or not. What about someone who doesn’t?

      For myself, I can say this: If I am not racist and if my words were being used against me in a way to portray me as one, I would be deeply offended. Because, as you said, there’s no defence against such an accusation. It’s a “he said, she said”, but you can’t defend yourself, because you are the one guilty by presumption. The one that gets even more guilty if he opens his mouth. The one who will be stigmatized – and it doesn’t matter whether you are guilty or innocent – especially if you’re innocent. I am not speaking from personal experience, but I do know a thing or two of being in a similar position.

      I think we may be not drifting, but more like racing in another direction, one that has nothing to do with football, and I apologize for that. But my main point, which is always my main point, is to keep an open mind.
      By all means choose, by all means make up your mind when you think you know enough, but don’t start by having your mind made up. That’s just recipe for disaster. And above all, don’t have English media do your choosing for you. This request is not just to you, Kevin, but to all who visit this space. I believe we can do better.

    5. I find this comment offensive in so many ways I can’t even describe it. If you don’t understand why Suarez’ abuse of Evra was offensive, that’s one thing, but mocking and ridiculing people for being offended is disgusting. I don’t have anything else to say to you.

    6. I am not mocking anybody, Blitz. I have been called racist for less than asking why the many teammates in the various teams Suarez played for haven’t been offended by his behavior. People have called me racist and there’s that, end of discussion.

      So this is my way of saying, answer the damned question. Yeah, call me racist for asking the question, but answer the damned question. Which you haven’t, since you’ve chosen to be offended on so many levels. Unike Kevin.

    7. I don’t owe you any explanation for why I might find your use of Nazi imagery offensive. And I haven’t called you or anyone on this board racist.

  40. ‘Holier than thou’ is being met with derision, people are being called ignorant and stuff.

    Do remember barça provided a spring board to likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Abidal, Messi, Puyol, Valdes & planted them in Footy heaven.

    It’s a fabulous story.

    These nimble footed, soft spoken, gentle hearted players are our Identity.

    It’s only natural people are saddened that this Identity is slowly put to death.

    What’s so wrong with that ?

  41. Yessss. That’s the way to go. And Silva should’ve gotten a red card to make matters worse. Luiz is a joke of a defender. What do people see in him?

  42. Another game , another day to thank Lucho and P$G for saving us for the disaster a Piqué Luiz CB pairing would’ve been

    1. from one of my fave on twitter: Rafael Hernández ‏@RafaelH117
      @agar2515 Zubi was against Luiz and so was Lucho. He was originally a Rosell idea.

      So all good.

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