Montevideo –Twitter users sank their teeth into Uruguay striker Luis Suarez on Wednesday after his World Cup bite scandal, flooding the network with images of him in a muzzle and calling for him to be banned.
Uruguay’s 1-0 victory over Italy on Tuesday, which qualified them to the second round at the European team’s expense, was overshadowed by allegations Suarez got away with biting defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder.
Among those to use Twitter to chime in on the controversy was the victim of another infamous bite, boxing legend Evander Holyfield. “I guess any part of the body is up for eating,” wrote Holyfield, whose ear was partly chomped off by rival Mike Tyson in a 1997 heavyweight fight.
Other social media users published photo montages of the Liverpool forward, who has been sanctioned twice before for biting players in the Netherlands and England.
One shows him with the mask of Hannibal Lecter, the fictional, cannibalistic serial killer portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.
In another movie meme, Suarez replaced the shark in an old poster of the movie Jaws with the comment: “Someone call Steven Spielberg.”
Others have him sporting a dog’s cone collar – used to stop pets biting or scratching themselves – and many more with vampire fangs, or as part of the cast of the zombie television show Walking Dead.
The incident made the front page of the New York Times web site, while the Huffington Post’s British version used the headline Chewy Luis and the Blues.
Suarez, meanwhile, shrugged at the accusations that he bit Chiellini, telling Uruguayan television: “There are things that happen on the pitch, and you should not make such a big deal out of them.”
The Italian player was adamant Suarez had bitten him, showing his wound to the referee during the game and telling Italian television that he still had a mark after the game.
An AFP picture showing Chiellini crying out in apparent pain and pulling down the top of his shirt to show apparent bite marks while Suarez rubbed his teeth went viral within minutes of the final whistle.
The controversy may have inspired puns and posters, but Suarez could face the bite of disciplinary action once more.
Highlighting the bite’s global effect, the 27-year-old star’s chomp was a top Twitter trending topic with the hashtag #BanSuarez.
In 2010, while playing for Ajax in the Netherlands, he earned a seven-match suspension and was dubbed “The cannibal of Ajax” after biting another player.
Three years later, he was handed a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during an English Premier League game.
One Twitter user in the United States claimed a Norwegian had won a bet on whether Suarez would bite another opponent and cashed in at odds of 175-1.
A stake of 32 kronor (about R50) reportedly earned him a return of 5 600 kroner (about R10 000).
Others were quick to spot an advertising windfall from the uproar.
In Uruguay, the local McDonald’s restaurant chain, using the Twitter handle (at)McDonalds_Uy, wrote: “Hi (at)luis16suarez, if you’re still hungry come and have a bite of a BigMac”.
Similarly, Snickers posted a photo of one of its peanut and chocolate bars along with the caption: “More satisfying than Italian.”
Trident, which makes chewing gum, went with: “Chew Trident. Not soccer players”. – Sapa-AFP