Since his transfer to Barcelona 18 months ago and serving out his suspension for his infamous World Cup bite, Luis Suárez has managed to turn the attention back on his phenomenal talent as he helped his new team sweep all before them. But now the Uruguayan could find himself back in the kind of hot water that has blighted his career.
In an ill-tempered Copa del Rey match with local rivals Espanyol on Wednesday, Barcelona saw two members of the opposition sent off in the final 20 minutes. The second incident saw Espanyol midfielder Papakouli Diop handed a red card after a heated exchange of words with Suárez right in front of the referee. According to the referee’s report Diop used expletives in the altercation.
The trouble did not end there, however. After the conclusion of the match, which Barcelona won 4-1, Suárez is said to have been waiting in the tunnel for his opponents.
“At the end of the game, once in the tunnel, Barça’s No9, Suárez while the Espanyol players were coming up the stairs, waited for them and shouted at them on various occasions,” read the report, reports The Guardian. “He said: ‘I’m waiting for you, come here! You’re a waste of space’. It provoked a confrontation between players of both clubs and the security guards had to get involved, as did coaches of both teams.”
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique dismissed suggestions that Suárez had threatened Espanyol players, however the incident could cost the former Liverpool forward a suspension of between one and three matches. Yet, there could still be far more serious ramifications for the man who currently leads the Spanish Primera Division scoring charts.
Barcelona-based publication Sport reports Espanyol as claiming that Suárez directed racist abuse at Senegal international Diop, prompting him to hit back with the insult that would see him sent off. It is noteworthy, though, that the referee did not mention any racial insults in his report.
Yet, it is not the first time Suárez has been accused of racially abusing an opponent. In October 2011, while at Liverpool, Suárez was alleged to have directing racist insults at Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. While both Suárez and Liverpool denied the allegations, he was ultimately handed an eight-match ban by the English Football Association.
During his career, the 28-year-old also been suspended three times for biting an opponent, the most recent of which occurred at the 2014 World Cup, when he was handed a four-month ban that delayed the start of his Barcelona career. And the Catalans must now be desperately hoping that there proves no truth to these latest serious accusations.
You can watch the video of the incident against Espanyol below.