Does Luis Suarez have a future in professional soccer?

If you’re a dog, biting a human might get you put down. But if you’re Luis Suarez, biting a human just gets you a timeout — well, at least as long as he keeps his teething exercises on the soccer pitch. The bottom line, Suarez’s latest suspension for chewing on his opponent (he’s had two others) will not likely damage his career that much. Or at all.

The Uruguayan superstar, who FIFA determined did, in fact, try to take a chunk out of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match, was banned for nine matches and soccer-related activities for four months. (FIFA had the option to ban Suarez for 24 matches and two years.)

Under the four-month ban, Suarez will miss the rest of the World Cup, the start of the season at Liverpool, where he’s currently signed, and three Champions League matches. Obviously, that’s not great for one’s career, but for a talent like Luis Suarez, it’s not detrimental. He’ll be able to return by Oct. 26.

And reportedly, Real Madrid and Barcelona still plan to offer up tens of millions of dollars to score the striker. Soccer analyst Guillem Balague told Sky Sports:

“I was in touch with both Barcelona and Real Madrid. I wanted to see first of all if there was going to be any official reaction –- obviously not. And secondly, I wanted to know if they would still be interested with the player. The answer was not very ambiguous — I think they will be, I am certain they will be.”

Before Bitegate, Real Madrid was reportedly set to offer a $120 million transfer fee to poach Suarez from Liverpool. And Barcelona has also been gathering its millions together for an offer.

But surely the bite will at least diminish Suarez’s value, right? Unlikely. Liverpool knows the worth of Suarez’s skills. He netted 30 Premier League goals in 31 appearances last season, and was ultimately named player of the year. If Real Madrid and Barcelona decide to scale back their offers because of Suarez’s suspension, then Liverpool would likely just opt to keep him. SBNation’s Liverpool Offside blog portends:

“Suarez will stay at Liverpool for another season — even if there’s a chance he misbehaves and hurts the club at some point this season, what he brings to the side can’t be replaced by the kind of knock-down fee he’s likely to command.”

Liverpool officials have said they will not comment on Suarez’s ban or his future with the club until they get a chance to review FIFA’s report.

The Uruguayan Football Association, meanwhile, has continued defending Suarez’s actions, which they have blamed international media for sensationalizing. Uruguay FA President Wilmar Valdez called FIFA’s decision “excessive” and confirmed to reporters that the association will file an appeal.

“We are preparing our appeal now, we have three days to do it,” Valdez said (via Reuters).

Uruguay, minus Suarez, is set to meet Colombia in their next World Cup bout on Saturday at 4 p.m. Don’t worry about the missing soccer star, though. He’s still got money to count.

More on Luis Suarez and the World Cup:

Suarez suspended for nine game, barred for four months by FIFA

Poll: Did the punishment fit the crime?

#Suarezing hits the Internet, because all the old memes bite

U.S. loses to Germany, but advances to World Cup knockout stage

Full archive of Thursday’s action on the World Cup live blog

World Cup group standings | Knockout-round bracket

 

 

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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