In his autobiography “Crossing the line,” Luis Suarez describes what went on inside his head when he bit Italian defender Giorgi Chiellini in the shoulder during a group match at the World Cup in Brazil. Shortly before the incident, Suarez missed a chance at 1-0. In situations like that, the Uruguayan striker gets fed up with himself. ‘The pressure is building up in my head’, he explains. ‘The fear and the anger builds up inside. We’re getting out of the tournament and it’s my fault. I am clouded by the fear of failure. And then my brain switches itself off. “
Suarez bit more than once. After a similar incident with Ivanovic, Liverpool, his club at the time, sent over a sports psychologist to tak him. Suarez refused his help, fearing that psychological treatment for the short circuit in his head would destroy the essence of his game.
‘When I make a brilliant move on the pitch, I feel like my brain is turned off’
Strange as the argument may sound, Suarez’s description of his intuition on the field is very similar to the description of reflexes by the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov. ‘When I make a brilliant move on the pitch, I also feel like my brain is turned off’, says Suarez in the biography. ‘I don’t want to lose that. I scored goals and then struggled to understand how I did it. In part of my game I act unconsciously. Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it goes wrong. I would like to reduce the tension and pressure, but I don’t want to lose the spontaneity or intensity of my game. “