RIO DE JANEIRO: It was another party in Copacabana, the bars packed, the samba turned up — and, in the middle of it all, hundreds of World Cup fans lining up to be bitten by Luis Suarez.
As a warm breeze blew over the iconic Rio de Janeiro beach, fans from around the world queued Thursday night to put an exposed shoulder, arm or head between the 27-year-old striker’s giant teeth after FIFA banned him from football for four months for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
Or at least that was what it looked like in the photos snapped in front of an Adidas billboard of the disgraced Uruguayan star giving an open-mouthed war cry above the suddenly ironic slogan “All or nothing.”
By Friday morning, Adidas — which has dropped Suarez from all World Cup advertising over the incident — had taken down the ad and replaced it with one featuring Brazil’s non-biting Dani Alves.
But not before hundreds of people had taken versions of the instantly viral picture.
Life-long Liverpool fan Godfrey Branch, one of those who beat the German sportswear giant to the scene, described his complicated feelings on Suarez, who scored 31 league goals for his club last season but is now serving his third ban for biting opponents.
“Suarez is my favorite player. I’m a Liverpool supporter, I love Suarez,” the 44-year-old England fan told AFP.
“But I don’t agree with what he’s done. I think he does it when he gets frustrated,” he said.
“Something triggers it off, it’s insane. At a heavy price — it affects his country, his club. People have paid millions to see him and he disappoints everybody. And he’s not a very good role model for kids. Kids love this guy. And he’s a kid himself.”