Luis Suarez has claimed that success at Barcelona has helped him avoid provocation of rivals, helping him play with more calm than at Liverpool, Ajax or Uruguay. The international has also played down his latest controversy in La Liga after being accused of a stamp on Aymen Abdennour during the 1-1 draw with Valencia, insisting it was accidental.
The 28-year-old star moved to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2014 a week after receiving a four-month ban from competitive football by Fifa for biting Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup. He had garnered a bad reputation during his time both at Ajax and in the Premier League with Liverpool, for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and PSV's Otman Bakkal, and was also found guilty of racially abusing former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra.
Suarez, however, had managed to stay out of trouble in La Liga until the weekend's draw against Valencia, earning the headlines for his impressive partnership alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar rather than for his bad boy image.
Speaking about his change of behaviour after the game against Valencia, Suarez told Ovacion Digital: "It happened to me at Liverpool, where the defeats hurt me a lot, and at Ajax, where I wore the armband and felt responsible when we didn't win the title. Also with the national team. It's something that I criticise about myself,"
"Now at Barcelona it is different. I am playing with the best in the world, who makes things very easy. That the team is going well calms me a lot. Now, if they want to provoke me, they will not be able to."
The incident against Valencia has reopened the debate in Spain but the Barcelona star dismissed suggestions he stamped on Abdennour deliberately.
"These are things that happen on the pitch. I stepped on him without purpose. We met in the tunnel and I gave him my hand to shake," he said.
Abdennour, however, suggested the opposite after taking his Instagram account to show his wounds following Suarez's actions.
But the former Liverpool star insisted: "I took it as funny. If you were to show off every blow, every little thing that happens on the pitch...I didn't give it much importance. I didn't see anything yesterday. I was enjoying time off with my family. I didn't get involved."
Suarez, nevertheless, pointed out that football has an ironic side after he helped Barcelona to win the Champions League final last season by netting a goal against Chiellini and Evra.
"Football is a wheel, which turns a lot," he said. "Sometimes it goes against you, and later you get your compensation. I got the chance to play against England, and score, and to take on Chiellini and Evra in the Champions League final."