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Suarez must stay and pay the price – Di Canio

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Paolo Di Canio wants Sunderland to finish with a flourish

Paolo Di Canio wants Sunderland to finish with a flourish

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Paolo Di Canio wants Sunderland to finish with a flourish

Paolo Di Canio has a better idea than most why Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is considering quitting English football. He was tempted to do the same when he was given an 11-game ban for pushing a referee.

Di Canio's ban for shoving Paul Alcock while playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1998 stirred up just as big a storm as Suarez's bite on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last weekend, but he hopes the Uruguayan will not run away.

Sunderland's boss can remember vividly how he felt as politicians and pundits expressed their disgust at his behaviour and how those around him insisted he should leave the country. Di Canio stayed and became a cult hero at West Ham, where he even picked up a Fifa Fair Play Award in 2001.

He has urged Suarez to prove his strength of character by doing the same. "The prime minister said: 'we have to push out from England the Barbarian,'" said Di Canio. "I know the election was very close in this period, but it was too tough. I was silly and stupid. I was thinking: 'You did something big this time, mama mia, oh my God.' My agent in Italy two days later said: 'I don't think you can go back there' and he was searching for a club in Turkey and I said 'what?'

"I still wanted to play in England. I made a mistake, yes, but I didn't kill anybody. Eleven games I thought was very heavy, but you have to accept your time. After two weeks I had a Turkish club with double money, but I said no chance. I did something wrong and I will pay my price." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent