Luis Suarez admits to having some regrets over his behaviour on the football pitch, but being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra is not among them.
The Uruguay striker still feels aggrieved over being found guilty of racism in the infamous incident with Manchester United’s Evra in 2011.
Suarez was banned for eight matches by the FA, but the player has consistently refused to apologise for the controversy.
The forward, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool last summer for around 80 million euros, is currently serving a ban imposed for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at last summer’s World Cup.
In an interview with his new club’s website, Suarez was asked once again about the infamous incident with Evra.
“When I say I’m sorry it’s because I regret something,” Suarez said. “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.”
Suarez said that other misdemeanours, including the Chiellini bite, were mistakes which he had accepted were wrong.
“It is good to accept that you have made a mistake and that’s what I did,” he said. “I left it a few days [last summer] 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 realise 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.”
Happy to leave Liverpool
Suarez said he had been able to leave Anfield happy as he had won the European Golden Boot last season and been instrumental in Liverpool’s return to the Champions League.
“Personal success is always welcome and makes you happy, because that’s recognition of the good work you have done,” he said.
“But I put the team ahead of that and last season Liverpool came so close to winning the Premier League, which would have been spectacular. I appreciate all the work the team did. But I missed six matches and scored all those goals in the Premier League without being the penalty-taker.
“I really could leave happy because if I hadn’t had the attitude and mentality to lead the team, I don’t think Liverpool would have done as well as they did. Getting back into the Champions League was another target I had in mind.”
Suarez did leave Liverpool with his reputation as a player substantially enhanced. But, a failure to acknowledge that the language he used against Evra was at the very least inappropriate, remains an enduring stain on his character.
Perhaps, deep down, he knows, that while the football community will forgive a player for physically assaulting an opponent, it will not tolerate one who racially abuses a fellow professional (John Terry notwithstanding).
Better then, as he initially did in the immediate aftermath of the Chiellini incident, to lie and portray oneself as the victim.
As the FIFA disciplinary report stated at the time: “At no time did the player show any kind of remorse or admit to any violation of FIFA rules and therefore showed no awareness of having committed any infraction.”
Suarez was back in action for Uruguay against Oman on Monday. Although banned for 9 international matches, he is still permitted to play friendly games. As you can see, the enforced break from competitive action appears not to have diminished his eye for a goal.