Luis Suarez may be desperate to move on from his World Cup biting shame but others are less keen to forget about his most recent indiscretion. And Suarez’s want will not be helped by a return to Ajax on Wednesday.
Ajax are the last club Suarez represented in the Champions League, and their encounter with Barcelona marks the Uruguayan’s return to the competition. But, as there always is with Suarez, an element of controversy comes attached to his arrival back in Amsterdam.
The home of Ajax is the venue where Suarez first decided to sink his teeth into the flesh of an opponent, with Otman Bakkal earning the questionable accolade of being the maiden victim of the former Liverpool striker.
This incident saw Suarez banned for seven matches and resulted in the Dutch press branding him the ‘Cannibal of Ajax’. It was Suarez’s final Eredivisie appearance before he was sold to Liverpool.
It was a notable transfer that was hardly befitting of such an offence, and a similar pattern was followed after he had clashed with Giorgio Chiellini in Brazil, with a £75 million move from Liverpool to Barcelona the result.
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There was, of course, another bite in between with this coming in the colours of Liverpool rather than Uruguay, and the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic the target on this occasion.
Suarez was banned for 10-matches by the Football Association and, upon his return to action, repaired his reputation with a quite breathtaking spell of form that resulted in a PFA and FWA awards double.
That was, of course, until the World Cup.
A four-month suspension from all football activity was the punishment handed out by FIFA, although this was later softened upon appeal at the Court of Arbitration for sport. His ban was finally served when he made his Barcelona debut in the Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.
Barcelona, meanwhile, will qualify for the knockout phase of this season’s Champions League if they are able clinch three points in Amsterdam.