After all the loyalty Liverpool Football Club have shown Luis Suarez over the last 29 months, the least they should have expected was a little in return.
Sadly, this is football, where the word loyalty has almost become obsolete.
If Liverpool fans expected better from Suarez, then they haven't been paying attention.
The Uruguay International has once again stated his desire to leave the club this week. He has become disillusioned with life in England, in particular the media treatment of him in light of his transgression's. Suarez has made no secret of his desire to join Real Madrid, seemingly willing to say anything via the media to force a potential move.
There is an apparent £40 million release clause in his contract, which in today's market seems quite reasonable. Liverpool have been firm in their stance that he will not be sold, Manager Brendan Rodgers daring Suarez to submit a formal written transfer request if he is serious about departing. This will mean Suarez will have to forgo any "Loyalty Bonus" in his contract upon his departure.
Liverpool and their fans have been very patient and loyal in regards to Suarez and his erratic behavior since arriving in England. They have defended him when the nation vilified him for his actions. This complete lack of disrespect shown by Suarez to the supporters is something that they will take extremely personally, Suarez will undoubtedly find this difficult to repair if he doesn't get his wish and remains at the club.
Liverpool are well within their rights to dig their heels in and make Suarez work for his move. He must become the villain on Merseyside to get what he wants, which is fine with him. Suarez has been burning bridges from the moment he set foot on English soil. Media, fans, opposition players, the list is endless. Now he must turn his back on the club, teammates and fans that have stuck with him through thick and thin.
Thanks for nothing.
There's no doubting his talent, which the Striker has displayed countless times since his arrival from Ajax for £22.8 million in January 2011. He has emerged as one of the finest players in World football and is every defenders nightmare. His workrate stood out a mile, not letting anybody close to him have an instant to get settled on the ball. Suarez is constantly on the move, if you switch off for even a second during a game he would punish you. His game has developed significantly during the last 18 months and would be considered the complete forward, had it not been for his disciplinary issues.
Last season was the finest of Suarez's career, on the field at least. While Liverpool once again flattered to deceive in a season of under achievement, he was mesmerizing. In a struggling side, Suarez still managed to score 30 goals in just 43 games, good enough for him to be selected in the Premier League team of the year. Suarez also finished second in the PFA Player of the Year behind Tottenham's Gareth Bale, but the voting for this award was early in the season. His fellow peers showed exactly what they thought of the Uruguayan at the annual awards dinner, booing him everytime his name was mentioned.
Wherever Suarez goes, controversy seems to follow. He has had his problems before his arrival in England, a trend that has continued at great pace on these shores. We can talk about his diving, his abuse towards referees or his goading of rival players and supporters. Yet, there is two specific incidents that will live in infamy that Suarez will blame as to why he wants a move to Madrid.
First was the Racist Abuse incident between Suarez and Manchester United's Patrice Evra in a heated match at Anfield on 15th October 2011. Suarez and Evra were involved in a heated exchange after a Suarez tackle that is alleged to have gone like this:
Evra: F------ hell, why did you kick me?
Suarez: Because you’re black.
Evra: Say it to me again, I’m going to kick you.
Suarez: I don’t speak to blacks.
Evra: OK, now I think I’m going to punch you.
Suarez: OK, blackie, blackie, blackie.
Evra was incensed and Suarez continued by grabbing Evra's skin from his arm as he continued his abuse. Reports of a confrontation in the dressing room after the game followed, with tensions high between the two rivals.
Suarez denied the incident and his club defended him perhaps more than they should of. Then Manager Kenny Dalglish admitted after the ordeal that the club handled it poorly. Suarez was found guilty by the F.A and was subsequently fined £40,000 and banned for 8 games. In their report, the F.A stated "Suarez damaged the image of English football around the World". Suarez maintains his innocence to this day and feels he has been victimised by the F.A, who he accused of double standards as Englishman John Terry was only banned 4 games for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
If Liverpool wanted to diffuse the situation coming into the return game at Old Trafford, Suarez had other ideas. His arrogance was there for all to see, refusing to shake the hand of the man he racially abused, causing United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson to brand him "A disgrace to Liverpool". The Uruguayan scored in a 2-1 defeat, but was lucky not to be sent off after a series of petulant incidents that demonstrated what a flawed character Suarez is. This caused huge embarrassment to the club as a whole, shaming them infront of a Worldwide audience.
Still, Liverpool stuck by him.
The club even gave him a new deal last August to publicly show their faith in the controversial striker. Suarez was given a new four-year deal worth a reported £120,000 per week with the £40 million release clause previously discussed. A huge risk by the club to invest in such a volatile player for such a long period. They took a gamble that his extreme gifts on the field would outweigh all the negative headlines he generates off it.
The gamble did not pay off.
Unfortunately, despite his heroics on the field, his idiocy on it will be what everyone will associate with him when they remember this season. His theatrics on the field were a joke at times, angering his opponents and managers alike.
Still, Liverpool defended him.
There was nothing they could do about what followed.
The infamous biting incident on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic at Anfield on 21st April was the most disgraceful thing we had witnessed for some time. During a tussle for the ball, Suarez inexplicably bit the arm of Ivanovic in clear view of everybody watching on. The players didn't seem to notice what had happened, but in the modern game nothing escapes the watchful eye of the cameras. Suarez admitted he "Lost it" and was fortunate Ivanovic didn't press charges.
Astonishingly, this was the second time he had bitten an opponent on the pitch. During his time at Ajax he was banned for 7 games for biting Otman Bakkal. The F.A had no alternative than to ban Suarez for 10 games, with some suggesting he got off lightly and a longer ban should have been implemented.
Was Suarez humble after these incidents? Not if his recent interviews are anything to go by. He has launched a verbal attack on the English culture, the media, the F.A and the fans as he plays for Uruguay in the Confederations Cup. Seemingly happy to blame everyone but himself for the way things have panned out for him. This is the final nail in the coffin for Suarez, his arrogance knows no bounds and turning on everybody that has wrongly defended his actions is callous but in-keeping with the demeanor he's portrayed during his time in England.
A disgusting way to repay the faith shown in him by all associated with Liverpool Football Club.
Forcing a move is one thing, but will a Real Madrid or Bayern Munich pay the £40 million required for a player with a history of violent tendencies that lead to lengthy suspensions? There's no doubting his talent is worthy of the fee in today's market, and that's what normally gets troubled but gifted players what they want, more often than not.
Liverpool are well within their right to hold out for the maximum fee available, but they would be wise to cut their losses on a player who is simply more trouble than he is worth. The fans at Anfield are renowned for their loyalty and Suarez has received it in spades. These latest comments will be a kick in the teeth and something that they cannot forgive. £40 million would provide Rodgers with substantial funds to add to a squad that is looking to get back into Champions League contention.
They are also partly to blame for this situation. If they had been firmer with Suarez from the outset then this situation may not has escalated to the level it is today. Instead, they blindly stood by their star player no matter what he ended up being accused of. By the time Liverpool eventually disciplined him for the Ivanovic incident, the damage had long since been done. Their lack of genuine quality throughout the side and their reliance on Suarez no doubt contributed to a series of irrational decisions that alienated them from the footballing community.
Suarez will be a huge loss to them, at least on the pitch. His goals and overall influence will have to be replaced quickly, which will be difficult. There aren't many players who can do the things Suarez does on a consistent basis.
Off the pitch, the majority will be glad to see the back of him.
Even the long-serving Liverpool faithful, who deserved far better.
Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_