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Four months after bite, Suarez to face Real

Four months after bite, Suarez to face Real
The last and most memorable image of Luis Suarez is the striker biting Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder in a group stage match against Italy, an act that earned him a four-month suspension.

Discipline problems have defined the career of one of the most talented and feared strikers in the world. Loved by teammates and loathed by opponents, Suarez has a knack for scoring and controversy. He returns to the field on Saturday, when he makes his Barcelona debut against rival Real Madrid. All eyes will be on the 27-year old Uruguayan, even as his teammate Lionel Messi is one goal shy of the league’s career scoring record, and Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored 15 goals in eight matches.

Less than a month after the suspension was announced, Barcelona paid a club-record $130 million transfer fee to Liverpool for Suarez, who was coming off his best season in the Premier League with 31 goals in all competitions. He scored 82 goals in 133 matches with the Reds, but his three years in England were marked by two suspensions for biting and racial abuse.

When he is on target, fans call him ‘The Gunslinger.’ But after biting an opponent on the biggest stage, more people call him ‘The Cannibal.’ ‘I thought I had ruined my career and feared that Barca would go back (on its intention to sign him)’, Suarez said in a recent TV interview. Suarez added he sought treatment to help him control his temper.

‘The Chiellini incident was very negative for his career, because he’ll always be remembered for those things,’ said Ajax coach Frank De Boer, who knows Suarez from the player’s years in the Dutch league. ‘He is a very good player and person, a very low-key person. On the pitch he’s a warrior, a natural born winner like (Lionel) Messi and Cristiano (Ronaldo).

‘He will battle even in friendlies, and he can score nine goals, but if he misses one, he’ll be angry,’ added De Boer, who arrived in Ajax in 2010 after the club sold Suarez to Liverpool.
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