Liverpool's Luis Suarez re-opens race row with Patrice Evra with attack on Manchester United
LIVERPOOL striker Luis Suárez claims he was a victim of the "political power" of Manchester United during last season’s race row with Patrice Evra.
Speaking in detail for the first time since the eight-match ban and criticism from his own club for refusing to later shake Evra’s hand, Suárez has fully endorsed the conspiracy theory rampant among sections of his club’s support - that United were motivated by a partisan desire to hurt their Merseyside rivals.
The Liverpool striker says he broke down in tears after failing to clear his name and also claims the non-handshake with Evra on his comeback game - which earned him a rebuke from his own club and forced him and former manager Kenny Dalglish into a public apology - was initiated by the Manchester United player lowering his arm.
If Liverpool hoped the new season represented a fresh start from the contaminated air that festered during the dispute with United, Suárez’s candid remarks prove the unsavoury issue has not yet been consigned to history.
Speaking on Uruguay television, he said he wept after being banned for using the term “negro” in reference to Evra.
“It was so hard what happened to me,” said Suárez. “I don’t show my emotions in the field, you know, but outside I do it I cried a lot with all the Evra stuff. The trial week was so complicated for me. My wife and I cried a lot during that week. That’s when I realised who were the people who really support me and who were the people who were with me because of their personal interest.
“People at the club are sure that it was a way that Man United used to put me out of the team and stop Liverpool. I had to go to Manchester in a taxi for the trial. I got up at seven in the morning and I came home at nine at night. I was exhausted, I was so tired. I wanted to cry, and kick all the things around me.
“I came home and I wanted to do all that, but I couldn’t because my daughter was at home. There were really complicated days, and then things became harder after the punishment.”
After his ban, Suárez returned to face Manchester United having told his club he would adhere to the pre-match handshake.
When that did not happen, Liverpool issued a statement saying their striker had “let the club down”.
“Before the match against Man United, I promised my wife, the manager and the directors that I was going to shake my hand with Evra,” said Suárez.
“Why not, I thought, because I had no problems with him. I had been punished because of him, but I had no problems with shaking hands. But I was not forced to greet him. In fact, there was the possibility that neither Man United nor Liverpool’s players would shake hands, as it had happened with Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea.
“But I thought why not, if my punishment was over. I had no problems with Evra. It was only a handshake and I was OK with that.
“But it was a misunderstanding, what happened between me and Evra at Old Trafford. In fact, I think it was all arranged against me again, as it had happened with the punishment.
“The media in England showed the moment when I passed in front of him, but they didn’t see that he had his hand low before. Only the media in Uruguay but also in Spain showed that I wanted to shake his hand.
“But in England, Man United has this political power, and you have to respect that and shut your mouth.”
Despite the furore, Suárez believes he has the admiration of many United fans. “Man United fans respect me,” he said. “After what had happened, a Man United fan came to where I was having lunch with my wife and asked for a picture. He told me he admired me as a footballer.”
While Liverpool hope Suárez is rehabilitated into English football, talks continue to offload his strike partner Andy Carroll.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said owner Mike Ashley is overseeing negotiations. “That whole process is a little bit more involved with the chairman and the board at Liverpool,” explained Pardew. “We have got a great team here, a great squad, and if Andy Carroll comes, it will only add to us.
“It’s simple, really. Sometimes transfers are done at corporate level. I’m slightly detached from that. It will be what it will be. It’s been said that he’s available and if we are involved, then we will be involved because of the figures, not anything else, because we know he’s good enough.”