Raising bar on villainy, Suarez says, “He thrust his shoulder into me”

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Luis Suarez is an enigma, a talent and a villain whose actions would be deemed inauthentic by film critics were they created by a Hollywood studio.

Exhibits A through U are his brilliant goals, assists and turns, though V, W and X are his three bites of opponents and Y is the 27-year-old’s racist abuse of Patrice Evra.

Which brings us to Z: his reaction to the incident on Tuesday, where he bit Giorgio Chiellini of Italy. Instead of pretending it didn’t happen, Suarez is contending the Italian ran right into his teeth.

From the AP:

“These are things that happen on the pitch, we were both in the area, he thrust his shoulder into me,” Suarez said in Spanish. “These things happen on the pitch, and we don’t have to give them so much (importance).”

These are the words of a lunatic, and even a suspension is not going to change him. He will feel comfortable in the role of the victim, just as he has continued to deny the Evra race row.

This is a man who grabbed his teeth on the ground after the incident, as if to already have his “shoulder thrust” defense at the ready. He’s a calculating villain, this Suarez, and at the best he was hoping to convince the crowd and officials that Chiellini didn’t taste as delicious as he first suspected.

Two matches, two months, two years: it won’t matter. Some of us were suckered back into Suarez’s camp following his PR run last year, but the fact remains that not everyone is 100 percent hero or 100 percent demon; Suarez is entirely capable of stopping to have fun with a disable fan in a park as he is paging Dr. Lecter.

And while it’s curious to watch Liverpool or Uruguay fans try to defend or deflect the cases against their hero, it’s important to note that this is far from a case unique to soccer nor sport. Baseball’s Barry Bonds was a reported cheater and world-class jerk, and Ndamukong Suh remains both a Detroit Lion and a fan favorite.

Sports drive fans to do crazy things.

[ RELATED: How long should Luis Suarez be banned after his THIRD bite? ]

[ RELATED: Chiellini reacts to being bitten ] 

[ RELATED: Suarez reaction on Twitter 

[ RELATED: Where does Suarez’s bite rank in WC’s most shocking moments? ]

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE