BRAZIL - Luis Suarez has shamed the tournament. that's the unforgivable sin that stings the most.
His temperament has long gnawed away at this talent; like a psychological cross he must bear in return for his priceless gifts.
But that's his problem. He pays a personal price each time he exorcises his demons and his latest indiscretion is likely to be his costliest yet.
The third bite goes deepest because it has infected one of the purest World Cups in recent memory.
Argentina's infighting marred an already poor Italia 90; Diego Maradona's positive drug test struggled to sour the average fare of 1994 and Zinedine Zidane's head-butt was arguably the only memorable highlight of a negative tournament in 2006.
But Suarez has left an indelible stain on the most flawless of sporting spectacles.
Vibrancy has reigned in Brazil.
The cities have exploded in colour as the pre-tournament concerns gave way to a collective, almost subconscious, desire to get this one right.
Fifa's corporate shenanigans have failed to filter down to the pitch. Brazil's questionable infrastructure and incomplete stadia have compromised neither the atmosphere nor the artistry.
Positivity reigned. Dutch courage was matched by those Teutonic terrors, which in turn was equalled by the swashbuckling South Americans and the committed Costa Ricans.
Neymar, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Thomas Mueller and even Cristiano Ronaldo succeeded where their fashionable forebears succumbed; a constellation of stars has finally sparkled at a World Cup.
Boy's own stuff has brought out the child in all of us. We believed in the Beautiful Game again because so many games were beautiful. The World Cup had inadvertently stumbled upon its most precious commodity: dignity.
And one foolish, puerile contemptible act from the unreformed recidivist threatens to puncture the tournament's global goodwill.
The red marks left on Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder go so much deeper. They undermine the extraordinary achievement of a celebrating nation.