Remember Luis Suarez at the 2010 World Cup? I’m not talking about the blatant handball against Ghana that earned him a red card and — arguably — Uruguay a spot in the semifinals. No, I’m talking about the brace in the Round of 16, the game-winning goal against Mexico and the dominant performance against South Africa.
It’s okay if you don’t remember it, though, because England manager Roy Hodgson sure seems not to have witnessed Suarez in the 2010 tournament (or, obviously, is just trying to some media mind games with the Liverpool attacker).
Suarez, 27, is coming off a knee injury and is in a race to start Uruguay’s second Group D match, which happens to be against England.
“You can be a great player in your league but to be recognised as one of the all-time greats you have got to do it at the World Cup,” said Hodgson.
“He has got the potential. He is a wonderful footballer.”
“If you are really going to put him up there with (Diego) Maradona, Pele, (Franz) Beckenbauer and (Johan) Cruyff and (Andrea) Pirlo, this is the stage you have got to do it on,” added Hodgson, whose England side lost their opening game 2-1 to Italy.
No one’s going to argue that Suarez still has work to do to be one of the best players of all-time, but the comment just seems so hollow. Aside from the handball, Suarez was a beast in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. If his fitness fails him and he fails to turn up, history just might remember that he had surgery weeks before the tournament.
And, to be fair to Hodgson’s overall rationale, history may double-down on greatness if Suarez is dynamite mere weeks after said surgery. But still, Roy, come on.