The bite at the World Cup? OK, Luis Suárez admits that was wrong. The racist abuse of Patrice Evra? Not so much.
In a long interview with Barcelona’s official magazine ahead of his return to competitive club action against Real Madrid later this month, the striker is unrepentant about his role in the 2011 incident with the former Manchester United defender that led to an eight-match ban for racist abuse:
“When I say I’m sorry it’s because I regret something. Being sorry implies regret. But they have also sometimes judged me on things that aren’t true, such as the racism thing. I was accused without evidence and that’s what grieved me the most. The others were actions when it was me who did wrong. I accepted that and begged forgiveness, but the racism thing, when I was accused without evidence, that did upset me.”
The player and his then-club, Liverpool, strongly maintained his innocence at the time. But if you care to read these extracts from the English Football Association’s 115-page report, there seems to be quite a bit of evidence. The investigation found that Suárez repeatedly called Evra a “negro” and was unconvinced by Suárez’s argument that, well, in his social circles, that sort of language is no big deal. The whole thing was just some sort of Lost In Translation episode, with a hapless Suárez just inadvertently bumping up against some cultural barriers, like Bill Murray in Tokyo. We’ll laugh about it later!
As for chowing down on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in June, Suárez adopts a far more regretful tone. Given the incontrovertible evidence, of course, he could hardly do otherwise.
“It is good to accept that you have made a mistake and that’s what I did. I left it a few days because you have to remember that I’m only human and sometimes it’s hard to face the truth. I found it hard to take in and to realize what I had done. Those were days when I didn’t want to know about it. I just wanted to be with my wife and children, who supported me through that time. I didn’t want to listen to anybody, or speak to anybody. I didn’t want to accept it.”
Fair enough. Sometimes it’s hard to accept you’ve done something wrong, which is why soon afterwards you tell a FIFA disciplinary committee some preposterous BS about losing your balance and falling teeth-first in the hope that they’ll swallow it and let you carry on playing.
Showing his four-month ban hasn’t blunted his sharpness in front of goal, Suárez scored twice for Uruguay against Oman on Monday.
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