Suarez bites opponent's arm, apologizes
- Associated Press
- April 22, 2013 - 4:12 AM
LIVERPOOL, England - In the latest chapter of Luis Suarez's controversial career, the Uruguayan bit the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during Sunday's 2-2 draw in the Premier League and apologized a few hours later.
Suarez, who served a seven-game suspension for a bite during a Dutch league match in 2010, was foiled by Ivanovic as he attempted to kick the ball between the center back's legs in the penalty area. As the ball rebounded toward the edge of the area, Suarez turned to his opponent, and television images clearly showed him biting into Ivanovic's jersey at the top of the right arm.
Ivanovic shrugged off Suarez and immediately complained to referee Kevin Friend, who didn't see the incident and didn't speak to Suarez.
"I'm sad for what happened this afternoon," Suarez wrote on his Twitter account. "I apologize (to) Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour. I'm so sorry about it!!"
Minutes later, Liverpool issued a statement on its website that included harsh criticism from club officials.
"His behavior is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down," Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said in the statement. "We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA."
Rodgers initially refused to comment on the incident but joined in the criticism after watching replays.
"Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behavior is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this," Rodgers said.
In the Liverpool statement, Suarez said he had tried to contact Ivanovic to "speak to him personally."
"I apologize also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down," Suarez was quoted as saying.
Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor also was critical of the forward.
"It is very depressing and embarrassing that it should happen," he told BBC Sport. "If it wasn't for all the controversies he's been involved in he would be a more highly regarded player. Players are role models and are highly rewarded. This sets such a bad example."
In November 2010, Suarez was banned for seven matches for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal while playing in the Dutch league, earning him the nickname "Cannibal of Ajax."
Suarez was suspended for eight games in December 2011 for making racist insults to Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match.
And in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal, Suarez's handball in overtime prevented a goal by Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah, earning a red card. Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar with the ensuing penalty kick, and Uruguay advanced in a shootout.
On Sunday, Suarez also gave away a penalty kick with a needless handball, and Eden Hazard converted to put Chelsea ahead 2-1 in the 57th minute.
Suarez's goal in the seventh minute of injury time — one more that initially signaled — gave Chelsea the draw. He leads the Premier League with 23 goals and has 30 overall this season-
"I think it would be an injustice to Luis Suarez to talk about (the incident). He has been the best player in the league this season," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said. "I think he is the third-best player in the world behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo."
The late goal denied interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez a winning return to the club he led to the Champions League title in 2005 and the final of Europe's top competition in `07.
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