- Premier League
Suarez: I'm no diving bad boy
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez says he is not a diver and wants to rid himself of his "bad boy" reputation as he attempts to complete an image makeover.
Suarez's public standing reached an all-time low last summer when he agitated for a move away from Anfield while he had a lengthy ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic hanging over him.
His 31 goals in a remarkable season with Liverpool helped temper public perception and led to a sweep of end-of-season awards, but the diving stigma persists and may require more than a charm offensive to change.
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"How many yellow cards do I have for diving? I have a lot of yellow cards in my career, but most are for arguing, for fighting, for giving a kicking - not for diving," Suarez told Sports Illustrated. "Sometimes I fall, but it's to get a penalty because I have been kicked.
"I want to change the bad boy image that has stuck for a bit because I don't think I am at all how I have been portrayed. I would like that to change because it's awful to hear and read what is said of you.
"On the field, sometimes passion overwhelms you and you do things you regret afterward. At the same time, you have a chance to learn from those things.
"I think I [have] been a role model since last summer; I have been professional and I have the desire to forge ahead and play well regardless of what is said to me."
There has been a marked improvement in the behaviour of Suarez, who is trying to recover from a knee injury in time to play for Uruguay for the World Cup.
His protestation on diving, however, is undermined a little by him admitting little more than a year ago that he "invented a foul" to win a penalty against Stoke - a claim that landed him in hot water with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.