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One bite too many

Jefferson ChaseJune 25, 2014

He's one of the biggest stars of the World Cup, up there with Messi and Neymar, but Uruguay's Luis Suarez may not be long for Brazil. With his latest transgression, the striker may have bit off more than he can chew.

Image: Reuters

"We are awaiting the official match reports and will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter," football's world governing body FIFA said on Tuesday after video footage appeared to showed Suarez sink his not inconsiderable choppers into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder. That's FIFA-speak for: "We've got an embarrassing situation on our hands and we're not sure what to do about it."

Chiellini pulled down his jersey to reveal what looked like bite marks after the incident in the 79th minute, but Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez Moreno took no action. Now FIFA must decide whether to suspend Suarez on the basis of video evidence.

"If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em"

Within minutes of the incident in the Italy match, Suarez had become an Internet meme and the subject of countless jokes.

Parody videos replaced the shark from the film "Jaws" with the Uruguayan striker. Other sight gags referenced vampires, zombies, cannibals and Hannibal Lector from the movie "Silence of the Lambs."

The Huffington Post ran a headline reading "Chewy Luis and the Blues." Twitter users quipped "Great player but needs to lay off the Italian food," "He shoots, he scores, he'll eat your arm and more" and "Surely it's about time we brought in jaw-line technology."

But Suarez and Liverpool may not be laughing. The striker had been linked with a transfer to both Real Madrid and Barcelona, which would be hugely lucrative for both the man himself and his current club. Any such move could be in serious jeopardy now that Suarez seems to have once again used his teeth instead of his brain.

"It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off," Chiellini said in a post-match TV interview. "It is clear-cut and then there was the obvious dive afterwards, because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn't have done."

It may not help the striker's case that this is not the first time he's fallen afoul of the rules - and normal human dietary habits. Suarez's teeth are known recidivists.

Third time's the harm

On November 20, 2010, while playing in the Netherlands, the Uruguayan earned the nickname the "Cannibal of Ajax" after biting PSV's Otman Bakkal. Suarez was suspended for seven matches and fined an undisclosed amount.

The striker came back for seconds on April 21, 2013 as a member of English side Liverpool, when he had nibble on the arm of defender Branislav Ivanovic. The referee didn't see the incident, but the English FA charged Suarez with violent conduct and banned him for ten matches.

And his teeth aren't the only body part that has gotten the Uruguayan in trouble. At the 2010 World Cup, Suarez caused outrage when he used his arm to clear a ball off the goal line to preserve a Uruguay victory over Ghana. "I made the save of the tournament," he later joked.

Less humorously, Suarez was accused of using racist insults against Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011. The outcome of the resulting FA hearing was an eight-match suspension for the Uruguayan.

If FIFA orients itself on those punishments, Suarez's World Cup could be over - regardless of how far La Celeste progress in the tournament. FIFA could suspend the 27-year-old for as long as two years, but it is unclear whether a ban would apply to international matches only or if it would affect Liverpool games.