The Rundown

Shocks of the Year #5: Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic

This year, sport has been rocked by a string of incredible happenings across all sports.

The Rundown has picked out the biggest seven stories among the multitude of scandals, surprises, outrages, revelations and horrors that we've seen in 2013, and will be counting them down between Christmas and New Year.

- - -

Shocks of the Year #5: Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic

When Liverpool bought Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez from Ajax for what now seems an outrageous bargain price of £25m, they knew they were getting a man with a bit of baggage. After all, this was the player who raised the art of the professional foul to a new height – or should that be plunged it to new depths? - when he intentionally handballed away a certain goal in the dying moments of the 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Ghana.

That act – one part cynicism, one part heroism - made Suarez a hero in his homeland and a villain throughout Africa, but it was far from an isolated incident: a few months later he bit an opponent during an Eredivisie match against PSV Eindhoven, earning himself the nickname "The Cannibal of Ajax".

He moved to Liverpool just a few months later, quickly earned a reputation as one of the most shameless divers in the game, and later upped his skulduggery several notches when he racially abused Patrice Evra during a match against Manchester United.

This catalogue of crimes had shown time and again that this mercurially-gifted genius of the modern game evidently has a moral compass that spins out of control every time the red mist of temper descends.

And yet, somehow, the world of football was still left rubbing its eyes in disbelief at what transpired in the Premier League match against Chelsea in April when Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic on the shoulder.

On this very website we ran a tongue-in-cheek blog suggesting that there are worse things in the world, but with half a year's perspective on the incident the 10-match ban he received now seems very lenient.

Losing your rag and biting an opponent could be dismissed as a once-in-a-lifetime aberration - if perpetrated by a six-year-old in a primary school match.

But for an international star at the very highest level to pull off the trick not once, but twice? That suggests that Suarez is a worryingly disturbed man. No wonder he left us shocked.

Toby Keel