Monday 27 January 2020

Suarez looks to better half for inspiration on how to find happiness

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has revealed how his attempts to rehabilitate himself will be a family affair after his wife warned him to become "a happier person".

Suarez says his wife, Sofia, has been the sternest critic of his behaviour for persistently arguing with opponents. He is considering whether to stay in English football following his 10-game suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

In an interview conducted prior to that incident, but just published in Liverpool's official monthly magazine, Suarez offers a prophetic insight courtesy of his family.

"My wife has made observations like, 'You were arguing with the referee and the defenders too much. You didn't really seem up for it today. You might as well have not been on the pitch'. I go away, think about it and realise she was right," he said.

"She said people must go away and think that is what I am like off the pitch, even though I'm usually relaxed and easy-going. Having a wife that closely watches the game is good. She knows me better than anyone else and I want her observations to help me play better and be a happier person."

Concerned

Liverpool remain deeply concerned Suarez will leave Anfield because of the severity of his ban, but hope the 26-year-old's settled family life will work in their favour.

Suarez is known to have ambitions to play in the Champions League as soon as possible but had given Liverpool cause for optimism he would give manager Brendan Rodgers one more chance to finish in the top four.

Now, negotiations are likely to continue until the opening of the transfer window to keep suitors at bay, while Liverpool try to convince Suarez the best means of improving his character and alter perceptions is to work with Rodgers.

Meanwhile, the man who first brought Suarez to Europe has compared the striker's mentality to that of a child. Henk Veldmate signed Suarez for Dutch side Groningen as a 19-year-old.

"He's a grown-up person but also, in the way he likes playing football, he sometimes has the mentality of a child," Veldmate said. "That's the way he enjoys playing. If you compare the mentality and attitude to Dutch players, then in South America it's dead or alive. To do the best for your family – it's a way of life and a way of surviving."

Former Groningen team-mate Hugo Alves said: "He does anything to win. Because of his way of thinking, if he is in the heat of the moment, full of emotion, he makes these kind of mistakes.

"In the middle of an emotional game, he can vent it in the wrong way. Obviously this kind of thing (biting) shouldn't happen, cannot happen. It's happened to him." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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