Suarez can follow in Beckham's footsteps

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Football is a fickle industry by nature. One day you're the cock of the walk, the next a feather duster. But, whatever the public perception, good or bad, players can take solace from the fact that the power is in their own hands to change opinion. Just ask David Beckham.

The former England captain made an incredible transformation from villain to hero in the space of just three years.

After being widely and savagely denounced by football fans all over the country following his petulant kick on Diego Simeone against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, ending his involvement in the match, and effectively the Three Lions' in the tournament, Beckham almost single-handedly carried England through their World Cup qualifying campaign in 2001.

His meteoric rise from public enemy number one, was capped in the most dramatic of styles, when his sensational injury-time free-kick against Greece at Old Trafford, booked England's place in South Korea, and Beckham's in the annuls of football history. From then on, he could do no wrong.

Manchester United fans wept as he bid farewell to Old Trafford in favour of a move to Real Madrid, and from there, the nation's most celebrated sportsman embarked on a new challenge across the Atlantic, moving to the MLS with LA Galaxy.

At 37, Beckham still has plenty to offer the game, and continues to attract an unprecedented amount of media interest, so there was huge uproar when he was omitted from Stuart Pearce's 18-man squad to represent Great Britain at the home Olympics this summer, despite everything he had done for the London bid, as an ambassador for the 2012 Games.

His part played in the opening ceremony, was 'typically Beckham', delivering the torch to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, via a speedboat journey down the Thames. Spotted at various venues around the capital, Beckham has continued to lend his support to Team GB at any given opportunity, further enhancing his wider reputation.

Now, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants his star striker Luis Suarez to take inspiration from Beckham, as he looks to rebuild his reputation after being disgraced when he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

The Uruguayan made himself even more unpopular when he refused to shake Evra's hand before a Premier League game at Old Trafford between the two clubs. Suarez was booed at Old Trafford, Wembley, and the Millennium Stadium during recent Olympic appearances for his national team, and can expect more hostility away from Anfield during the new campaign.

"I didn't hear the reaction (during the Olympics) but top players get a bit of stick at every away ground," admitted Rodgers. "But if there is a negative reaction towards a player it is normally because they are good. We have seen it over time and players can become stronger for sure.

"Looking at the David Beckham scenario a number of years ago, they were burning effigies of him. Now he is king of the world. That is how it can change.

"The most important thing is to recognise where you are at and then move forward."

Earlier this week, it was announced that Suarez had put pen to paper on a new long-term contract to remain at Anfield, despite reported interest in his signature from a number of clubs around Europe.

It would have been easy for the South American to walk away, and look to start afresh in another country with the slate wiped clean, but his burning desire, fighting spirit and determination to answer his critics on the pitch is what drove him to commit his future to the club, under the stewardship of a new manager.

"I have tried to sell him the vision," Rodgers explained. "There is always uncertainty when there is a change of manager. But he feels secure this club can take a number of steps forward over the next few years.

"Last year was difficult for him but this is a new beginning. The message from me will be concentrate on your football. Everything else will be a hindrance."

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