Luis Suarez has been one of the most potent and successful strikers of his generation. The Uruguayan has enjoyed a decorated career playing with legendary clubs like Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. Inevitably, along the way, Suarez has been a part of ferocious and long-lasting feuds and conflicts with various footballers. The striker is of an aggressive and intimidating nature which has led to several infamous incidents in his footballing career.
Having won 19 major trophies and several individual honours in his career by now, it’s natural that Suarez has had a journey in football that most footballers would dream of having. However, along with the way his acts coupled with his performances on the pitch have never failed to keep the Atletico Madrid man out of controversy. The 2010 FIFA World Cup hand ball incident, diving, accusations of biting players, racist comments have been some of the notorious acts that have ensured that Suarez has his fair share of rivals in the footballing world. Let’s look at some of his iconic rivals throughout his career.
Amongst the list of Luis Suarez’s rivals, the first who comes to mind is undoubtedly Patrice Evra. The year was 2011 and the occasion was the fiercest rivalry in England, Manchester United against Liverpool. Anfield witnessed one of the most shameful and unforgettable moments in the history of the Premier League. The match ended 1-1 but that was hardly the talking point from the scene.
At the hour mark, United’s left-back, Patrice Evra complained to the referee that he had been the subject to racist comments by Liverpool’s number seven. The incident was left behind for the match to continue on but it was far from forgotten. Accordingly, the scene was reported and despite Suarez’s best attempts to defend himself he was fined heavily and was handed an eight-match ban by the Football Association. Suarez’s club, Liverpool too were heavily criticized along with the player for trying to protest the aftermath of the incident.
In the reverse fixture, the tensions were still high, as during the pre-match handshake, Suarez refused to shake the hands of Patrice Evra drawing an annoyed reaction from the Frenchman. Years later, Liverpool’s former players apologized for their actions to support Suarez and Evra too cooled down on the situation saying he has forgiven Suarez.
Another episode of crazy moments by Suarez features an occurrence from the 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Liverpool in April of 2013 at Anfield. Frustration got the better of Luis Suarez as he produced a truly disgusting moment by biting Branislav Ivanovic’s right arm and then somehow escaped immediate punishment from the referee.
Chelsea’s and Ivanovic’s evening was to be made more miserable as Suarez grabbed a late goal for the Merseyside club snatching a point in the process. After the match ended, Suarez faced heavy criticism and backlash from fans all over the world. The striker even admitted his mistake and went on to apologize on social media. Ivanovic who was astonished and undoubtedly furious about the whole episode, relaxed the whole situation down by saying all was forgotten and the players had spoken to each other with Suarez having apologized for his actions.
This however didn’t save Suarez from serious implications having been given a 10-match ban which effectively ended his 2012/13 season. Somehow, this biting incident between Suarez and Ivanovic is just one of the three occasions when Suarez has taken a bite out of his opponents, the first one being Otman Bakkal of PSV Eindhoven in 2010 and the other one being Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
While the previous two rivalries rose out of Suarez’s antics, his feud with Robert Lewandowski is purely based on his on-field performances. With both the strikers being in their mid-30s, both have drawn comparisons with each other over their long and illustrious careers. While most in the footballing world argue that no one can match the level of prime Luis Suarez when he was in Liverpool, it is hard to ignore the level that Lewandowski has been operating in recent years.
Both players have the incredible feat of winning the Golden Boot in the era of Ronaldo and Messi. While Suarez has played in multiple leagues in his career with Spain and England being the main ones, Lewandowski has played the majority of his career in the Bundesliga only, which favours the argument in Suarez’s favour. However, when it comes to the Champions League, Lewandowski is way ahead of Suarez with 86 goals as compared to the latter’s 27 goals only. In total the Polish striker has scored 506 goals from 672 senior appearances as compared to 437 goals in 695 appearances by Luis Suarez.