So Luis Suárez finally said sorry. But only because he was forced to. His belated apology issued to Giorgio Chiellini was at the behest not of the Uruguayan Football Association, whose delusion mirrored their striker, or his club Liverpool, whose delusion has previously mirrored their striker, but Barcelona.
“After several days of being home with my family, I have had the opportunity to regain my calm and reflect about the reality of what occurred during the Italy-Uruguay match on 24 June 2014,” Suárez wrote. “Independent from the fallout and the contradicting declarations that have surfaced during these past days, all of which have been without the intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team, the truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me.
"For this I deeply regret what occurred. I apologise to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family. I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like this.”
Barça's sanctimonious facade has slipped after unsettling details of their transfer policy emerged yet they comfortably hold the moral high ground over Suárez. And Suárez, wont to dancing with the devil in order to survive, will survive in Catalonia. It took Suárez a day to admit he was wrong to gnaw on Branislav Ivanović's arm last year yet this time it has taken six. Hollow and insincere, even an admission of guilt is tainted by self gain in the world of Luis Suárez.
Barcelona are expected to launch a bid that could total up to £80 million for Suárez this week and the disculpa Suárez tweeted was the catalyst. Arsenal's £40,000,001 offer for Suárez last year enraged some supporters mortified by the prospect of the striker turning out in red and white while Arsène Wenger, a man of umpteen principals, was criticised for lowering them. Barcelona's morals have lowered in recent years but they at least want Suárez to show contrition. Only he isn't contrite.
At the weekend, he provided the worst excuse since "my dog ate my homework", only that was credible. “After the impact … I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent,” Suárez said when explaining why he had bitten a third opponent in his career. “At that moment I hit my face against the player, leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth." Chewy Luis and the blues.
A difficult upbringing in Salto, when Suárez worked as a street sweeper, has fostered survival instincts his supporters have defended. Irrespective of his numerous transgressions, Suárez has done remarkably well to portray himself as the victim. It helps he is indulged by two sets of supporters boasting a vociferous faction of the paranoid and the conspiratorial, however Kopites have recently had a glimpse of how risible their defence of him was when he was suspended for racially abusing Patrice Evra two-and-a-half years ago. He has still not apologised to Evra and actually refused to shake his hand when the two came face-to-face again.
The blinkered fanatical following, a defiant T-shirt, donned by none other than Diego Maradona and an in-denial coach have drawn uncomfortable parallels with Liverpool's defence of Suárez under Kenny Dalglish. Gradually, their supporters are beginning to realise just why football followers outside of the red half of Merseyside detest Suárez passionately. As Toronto Star columnist Cathal Kelly wrote: "North of his feet there is nothing good about Suárez."
Six months after signing a long-term contract at Anfield Suárez wants to leave again. His conducts has humiliated his employers time and again yet be it racial abuse or sinking his teeth into an opponent's arm, he has received a pay rise from Liverpool. He was so desperate to depart these shores last summer due to the tormenting British press he was suddenly receptive to moving 200 miles south to Arsenal.
The football is inconsequential with Suárez. It is easy to forget he is a genuinely world-class attacker when he acts so charmlessly and gracelessly, despite a domestic season largely devoid of any controversy. His brilliant destruction of England a fortnight ago was blemished by a baffling post-match gloat "because of all I suffered". A leopard never changes its spots and his bite has overshadowed one of the most vibrant World Cups in living memory.
Before his December 2013 renewal, Suárez inked an extension in August 2012. He will agitate for a transfer every summer he spends in Merseyside and although Liverpool will lose their only world-class player when he does move to Spain, they can finally begin to rebuild their reputation. For Suárez, it is already too late.