Luis Suarez, a player of unquestionable talent but with an unfortunate tendency to bite, now faces disciplinary action from soccer's governing body after he appeared to sink his teeth into an opponent yet again.
FIFA said Wednesday that it has begun proceedings after the Uruguay striker was accused of biting another player during his team's World Cup victory over Italy a day earlier.
Television pictures showed Suarez dipping his head toward Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, sending both men tumbling to the ground. When the Italian defender eventually got up, he pulled down his shirt and furiously indicated he had been bitten on the shoulder.
Suarez, 27, has already been banned twice in his career for his wayward teeth. But those offenses happened in club-level games.
Tuesday's incident was during soccer's biggest spectacle, in front of an audience of millions. And whether he's ultimately found guilty, Suarez's teeth baring now takes its place in the annals of World Cup controversy, along with Diego Maradona's "hand of God" goal and Zinedine Zidane's headbutt.
Suarez and the Uruguayan Football Association have until 5 p.m. Brasilia time (4 p.m. ET) Wednesday "to provide their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant" to the disciplinary proceedings, FIFA said.
Suarez, a mercurial player who has earned both accolades and ignominy in his career, could face a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years. It will probably be much less.
Former Italian international Mauro Tassotti was given an eight-match ban in 1994, the longest suspension in World Cup history, after breaking the nose of Spain's Luis Enrique.
And Zidane, the former France midfielder, was handed a three-match ban for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final.
After the game, which Uruguay won 1-0, Suarez said he simply collided with Chiellini's shoulder.
"The only thing I know," he said, "is that those are occurrences that happen on the pitch."
'Suarez is a sneak'
To a large extent, Uruguay's fate at the World Cup rests on Suarez.
Forced to undergo surgery, he missed Uruguay's opening game against Costa Rica. His team lost.
He made a dramatic return in time to face England just five weeks after his operation -- and scored both goals in the South American side's 2-1 win.
Then came Tuesday's faceoff with Italy. The two teams were scoreless in the first half. Then came the controversial tussle. Moments later, Uruguay's Diego Godin scored the match's only goal.
Despite vigorous objection from the Italian players, the Mexican referee refused to look at Chiellini's shoulder, or penalize Suarez. (In yet another bizarre coincidence, the Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez is known as "Dracula" for his apparent resemblance to the actor who plays the character in a TV show there).
"Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA want their stars to play in the World Cup," Chiellini told Sky Sports Italia afterward.
"I'd love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it."
Facing criticism again
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, who also presides as head of the organization's referees committee, said he had serious concerns over Suarez's actions.
"I have watched the incident several times on television," he said. "There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism."
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he didn't spot the incident but would like to see images of it.
"And if it happened, the referee probably didn't see it," he said. "So no, I don't have any more comments to make. We had more important things than this in a football match."
But he suggested that Suarez was being singled out by the media.