Suarez v Bale? RVP for PFA Player of the year
Sacrilege surely? Just about every Liverpool forum or fansite is teaming with ‘Suarez for Player of the Year’ tributes and fierce Bale-damning rants. And for good reason. Out of the two, Suarez has outstripped the Spurs star without any shadow of a doubt. The little Uruguayan has single-handedly held the Liverpool season together, rising above all others as top scorer, and has generally been without doubt the best player of the season.
The problem with both Suarez and Bale is that they are incredibly unlikeable by anyone who doesn’t support their side. Indeed, even Liverpool’s biggest fans must recognise that on a football field, Luis Suarez is a nasty piece of work. A genius piece of work, but a nasty one, all the same.
And that is why neither of them can win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award. It’s a prestigious award that requires more than just goals and assists, its about earning the respect of your peers through professionalism and outstanding sporting achievement. A glance down the list of previous winners pays testament to this, with the screaming exception of Bale’s win in 2011.
The fact that the dive-happy Bale has won it previously is frankly wrong. He’s British, which explains it, and that fact might just count in his favour once more when it comes round to it this year too. The media tends to ignore his personality short falls, flinging him onto a pedestal for far longer than the two months or so that he bothers to dust off his ‘genius’.
So who does that leave? Well, truthfully, only last year’s winner, Robin van Persie. A lot was made of the idea that whichever of the Manchester clubs he plumped for in the summer would run away with the league. Whilst nothing in sport is that simple, it has kind of worked out that way. van Persie’s inclusion has propelled his side to champion status some weeks before the end of the season. He’s been rather good. Not as good as Suarez, but really rather good.
And, to all but the constantly furious Arsenal fraternity, he’s pretty likeable. The Dutchman is a model pro. And that’s what makes all the difference. Not a single Manchester United player, for example, will cast their vote in the box of El Pistolero (Suarez), and you know what? Until he cuts out the cheating, they shouldn’t.