Luis Suarez says sorry in bid to smooth Barca move
LUIS Suarez has finally admitted that he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini and has apologised for the conduct that led to his four-month ban, in what is regarded as a move to clear the way for his transfer to Barcelona.
The Uruguayan and Liverpool striker has appealed his ban from football following the incident in his country's final group game and this is the first show of contrition for his actions.
In a statement released via his Twitter page, the 27-year-old said: "After several days being home with my family I have had the opportunity to regain my calm and reflect on the reality of what occurred during the Italy-Uruguay match.
"Independent from the fallout and contradicting declarations that have surfaced during these past few days, all of which have been without the intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team, the truth is my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me.
"For this I deeply regret what occurred, apologise to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family and I vow to the public there will never be another incident like it."
Chiellini responded to Suarez within minutes on Twitter, accepting the apology. "It's all forgotten," the Italian wrote. "I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension."
The tone of Suarez's apology is a significant departure, with him initially denying he had bitten the Italian before various conspiracy theories were proposed on his behalf regarding the punishment he has received.
With the Uruguay FA currently attempting to, at the very least, have the FIFA punishment significantly reduced, Suarez's admission may be an effort to soften the tough stance from the authorities.
It is also believed the carefully worded apology is a pre-requisite for a potential bid from Barcelona.
The Spanish club are known to be interested in the striker. Suarez's current club Liverpool had no input in the wording of the statement. They were not even referenced in it.
Suarez's U-turn may be seen as little more than an attempt to appease those on the FIFA disciplinary committee considering his appeal, which he will need reduced to start this season's Champions League campaign.
While Suarez insists his sense of remorse follows a period of reflection "during which he was received as a hero in his native country," the sense of necessity as he seeks to protect his career cannot be ignored.
Until Suarez's statement, the mood in Montevideo continued to be exclusively one of persecution. Suarez's Uruguayan team-mates criticised Chiellini in the immediate aftermath of the incident, while manager Oscar Tabarez said a conspiracy by the "English speaking media" was behind the allegations, despite the TV and photographic evidence.
The matter even prompted a presidential intervention. Earlier yesterday, the Uruguayan president Jose Mujica said FIFA leaders were "sons of b*****s" for banning the striker and suggested Suarez was suffering "fascist sanctions". Mujica argued the Suarez punishment "will be an eternal shame" in the history of the World Cup.
Liverpool have been forced into a watching brief while Uruguay deal with the immediate fallout with FIFA following the incident and punishment, but they will demand £80m for the player if the Spanish giants want to sign him
Liverpool, meanwhile, have delayed the announcement of Adam Lallana's signing until this morning. (© Daily Telegraph, London)