RAW VISION: Hero's welcome for bitey Suarez
Luis Suarez greeted the public outside his home in Uruguay's capital after being put on leave because of a biting incident during a World Cup match against Italy.PT1M8S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3b09l 620 349 June 28, 2014
World Cup outcast Luis Suarez was on Friday treated to a hero's welcome as he arrived back in Uruguay and gained the unexpected support of the rival he bit, Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, although a top UEFA official says the Liverpool striker needs treatment.
Suarez was sent home from Brazil in disgrace after Fifa imposed a four-month ban on him for biting Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 defeat of Italy on Tuesday. Despite attempts to keep his return under wraps there were 1000 supporters waiting for him and waving flags and banners of support outside the airport terminal before he arrived. He was later seen wearing a hooded top but refused to comment.
Chiellini had been outraged by Suarez's actions during and immediately after Tuesday's match but on Friday he surprisingly criticised FIFA's decision to hand out such an unprecedented ban, which Uruguay have promised to contest.
Fans await for the arrival of Uruguay's striker Luis Suarez outside the Carrasco international airport. Photo: AFP
On his official website, Juventus defender Chiellini wrote: "Now inside me there's no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that's done. There only remains the anger and the disappointment about the match. My only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period. I have always considered unequivocal the disciplinary interventions by the competent bodies, but at the same time I believe that the proposed formula is excessive. I sincerely hope that he will be allowed, at least, to stay close to his team-mates during the games because such a ban is really alienating for a player."
However, Jerome Valcke, the FIFA general secretary, said the length of the ban reflected Suarez's previous misdemeanours, and urged him to seek treatment.
"If it's the first time, it's an incident," Valcke said. "If it is more than once, it is not an incident. That is why the ban was exemplary. He should find a way to stop doing it. He should go through treatment. "
Luis Suarez holds his children as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo. Photo: AP
Uruguay are prepared to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Wilmar Valdez, the Uruguay Football Association president, said: "He is not just a football player, he is a human being and it is a very difficult situation for him - and as a human being and a football player he is going to have the full support of the FA and the Uruguayans without a doubt. We are looking at the case with the lawyer and we are going to look at our strategy."
Suarez found another unlikely supporter in Argentine legend Diego Maradona, no stranger to controversy at the World Cup, who called the punishment "shameful." On his television show De Zurda, wearing a T-shirt with the words 'Luis, we are with you', he said: "Fifa have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo.
"It's an excessive suspension, Fifa cannot talk about morals to anyone. Suarez didn't kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia."
Fans await for the arrival of Uruguay's striker Luis Suarez. Photo: AFP
Liverpool are consulting legal experts with experience of Fifa disciplinary matters to assist their own investigation and it now leaves Brendan Rodgers, the manager, facing a huge decision on whether to give Suarez another chance after his latest indiscretion. The players' union Fifpro suggested that a legal review could "re-establish the facts in a calm and considered setting" and added: "The fact that Suarez is prohibited from working for a long period must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work,"
The controversy has failed to deter growing interest from the Spanish giants and both clubs are prepared to pay the required clause, believed to be around $US70 million, that will enable them to prise him away from Anfield.
Suarez, meanwhile, has lost his first major sponsorship deal after 888poker announced they are to "terminate their relationship with immediate effect". Adidas, who have a $1million contract, are also reviewing their position and are poised to have talks with Suarez and his representatives after the World Cup.
The Telegraph, London