Football

Suarez: Biting's harmless, shouldn't be punished as severely as for a bad tackle

Biting opponents may be appalling but it is harmless, said you-know-who.

And the deed should not be punished as severely as a bad tackle, added the controversial Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan marksmen is set to make his long-awaited Barca debut in El Clasico at Real Madrid later on Saturday - after completing a four-month ban for sinking his teeth into Italy defender Georgi Chiellini at the World Cup finals in Brazil.

It was the third time that Suarez bit an opponent. Previous incidents took place at former clubs Ajax in 2010 and Liverpool in 2013.

He received a seven and 10-match ban respectively.

The 27-year-old said he was getting help to control his "impulse" to bite. In his new book "Crossing The Line: My Story" (serialised in The Guardian newspaper), he said that the offence should not receive severe punishment.


THREE BITES: Luis Suarez bit into PSV's Otman Bakkal in 2010, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in June. PHOTOS: Screengrabs from Dailymotion, Sky Sports and TV

Double standards

"After my 10-match ban in 2013 for biting (Chelsea defender) Branislav Ivanovic (for Liverpool), I had questioned the double standards and how the fact that no one actually gets hurt is never taken into consideration," Suarez wrote.

"The damage to the player is incomparable with that suffered by a horrendous challenge. Sometimes English football takes pride in having the lowest yellow-card count in Europe, but of course, it will have if you can take someone's leg off and still not be booked...

"I know biting appals a lot of people, but it's relatively harmless... When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there," he added.

"None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield's ear. But none of this makes it right."

Premier League top-scorer Suarez netted a remarkable 31 goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season. He moved to the Nou Camp in a deal worth 81 million euros ($130.9m) after his World Cup controversy.

Barca coach Luis Enrique said the Uruguayan will play some part in Saturday's match in the Bernabeu.

Impulse

Suarez admitted that the adrenaline levels and pressure in high-profile matches caused his biting impulse to manifest itself but said there will be no repeat now that he's getting the right help.

"Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out in that way," Suarez told the Guardian Weekend magazine in an interview on Saturday.

"There are other players who react by breaking someone's leg, or smashing someone's nose across their face. What happened with Chiellini is seen as worse.

"It is like an impulse, like a reaction. I believe I am on the right path now, dealing with the people who can help me, the right kind of people."

- Reuters

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