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09th Jan 2017

Luis Suarez involved in goalkeeper ‘slap’ controversy as the dark side returns

Hello darkness my old friend


If there is an existential funk enveloping Barcelona, Luis Suarez is unlikely to escape it.

The Uruguayan striker is an expressive kind of fellow, wears his emotions on his sleeve and can be seen as a bellweather for the prevailing mood within the squad.

When himself and the rest of the MSN forward line, Leo Messi and Neymar, were tearing European football a new one over the last few seasons, Suarez was as happy as a lark.

However now that Barcelona are going through what must be classed as a mini-crisis for such an obnoxiously successful club, Suarez’s mood has darkened somewhat.

Or at least it did for a moment against Villarreal on Sunday night. As you may have seen, Messi saved the Catalan giants’ jamon with a glorious last-gasp free-kick, but Barca were lucky to still have 11 players on the pitch after the officials failed to notice an apparent act of skulduggery by Suarez during the 1-1 draw.

The 29-year-old, who scored four goals in three games before the winter break, appears to strike Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo in the face as the pair challenged for a cross.

You might almost be able to consider it an accidental coming together until you spot Suarez’s patented “I’m innocent!” reaction immediately afterwards.

We have seen such a reaction before from the former Ajax and Liverpool man.

Suarez was serving a ban for that bite on Georgio Chiellini when he signed for Barcelona but, after a checkered disciplinary record in England, he has largely kept his bib clean in Spain.

However this season has not been without incident and the striker avoided punishment for striking Deportivo’s Alejandro Arribas and it seems, as the referee missed Sunday’s incident, he is in the clear again.

Barca are currently trailing Real Madrid by five points having played a game more in La Liga as questions remain over Luis Enrique’s future as manager.

All of which may not be good for Suarez’s mood.