Friday, March 14, 2014

Starring Luis Suarez as Loki

There’s little question as to this weekend’s EPL marquee matchup – it’s Liverpool, who sit in second position in the table, travelling to Manchester United who, only six months into the season, are still waiting for their season to start.

It is unlikely the match will be won in the midfield. Both teams boast enviable forward corps, with the most damaging player on display being Luis Suarez, he of the deft feet and impish grin.

Last week, in describing Carles Puyol on this blog, I referred to him as an embodiment of the Norse god Heimdall – you may know him from the Thor movies, portrayed by Idris Elba – a noble being both watchful and powerful. There is a romantic mythos attached to the Norse gods. Few concepts of utopia are thought of so fondly by non-believers as Valhalla, where men and gods feast and do battle, while representations of Norse gods in popular culture far exceed those of the more well-known Roman gods.

Perhaps it’s their adventurous nature, but something about the gods of the (far) North lends to their use as descriptors for current events. It’s time to add one more. Most cultures have a deity who, while not necessarily evil, delights in spreading chaos – Set, Sadok and, as played so charismatically by Tom Hiddleston in the Thor series, Loki.

Few descriptions fit Luis Suarez better than as “Football’s Loki”. It seems that either by luck or design, Suarez’s greatest talent is for creating chaos around him from which he is able to benefit. He does this with an implacable ability to find space in the penalty box, devastating channel movement and an almost unparalleled goal-sense.

Luis Suarez’s ability to discombobulate a defence is at present the greatest in the world.

Image via
Unfortunately, Suarez’s ability to create chaos extends to situations from which he cannot benefit: he takes occasional nip at opponents, blatantly hand-balls on the goalline in a World Cup quarter final (but to be honest, many would do likewise), grants unreserved radio interviews in his homeland and holds a firm and vocal belief that Patrice Evra is the worst person in the world.

Even considering his lack of control over this situation, that he was the summer target of a £40,000,001 offer from Arsenal – the first bid of such a semantic type in years.

Chaos for chaos’ own sake.

Wherever Luis Suarez treads, he sows discord – for better or for worse. This ability has made him the single most valuable footballing property in the Britsh Isles and one of the best players in the world today. It also makes him one of the most easily-appreciable footballers going around, untempered by the cliché-ridden football world around him. Football – and sport in general – has lost several such types in recent years and we mayn’t see the likes of Luis Suarez and his energetic style of productive bedlam again.

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