What's buzzing:

Leave Suarez alone, Uruguay president urges

Reuters

By Irene Schreiber

MONTEVIDEO Uruguay (Reuters) - Uruguay's President Jose Mujica weighed into the global controversy over footballer Luis Suarez on Wednesday, saying it was unfair to judge him retrospectively for biting an Italian player when other incidents went unreviewed.

"We didn't choose him to be a philosopher, or a mechanic, or to have good manners - he's a great player," said Mujica, echoing the protective attitude towards the brilliant but volatile striker felt around his homeland.

"I didn't see him bite anyone. But they sure can bash each other with kicks and chops," he added to reporters.

Suarez, one of the world's best forwards whose team is in the last 16 at the World Cup, is awaiting global soccer body FIFA's judgment on Tuesday's incident when TV footage showed his mouth on the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The Liverpool player has been punished twice in the past for biting, and also for racism. He earned notoriety at the last World Cup for a handball on the line against Ghana, denying the Africans a certain goal and spot in the semi-finals.

Many Uruguayans believe the global reaction against him, though, is over-the-top and hypocritical.

"In football, I was taught that you obey what the referee says," Mujica said.

"If we're going to take decisions in football based on what TV says, then there are loads of penalties and handballs you'd have to give that weren't given, so bad luck."

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, at a news conference in the Brazilian city of Natal after a training session, was equally protective of Suarez and tackled one English journalist head on.

"It's clear that Uruguay's triumph doesn't make you happy, it's obvious on your face," said Lugano.

"I understand that the figure of Suarez sells because he's very charismatic ... I'm calm because I know that Luis will pick himself up and is going to have success in the World Cup. That's what people fear. They're right to fear that."

(Additional reporting by Malena Castaldi; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne)

View Comments (12)
  • Stoke loss casts shadow over Liverpool's Istanbul celebration

    Stoke loss casts shadow over Liverpool's Istanbul celebration

    By Steve Tongue LONDON (Reuters) - A gloomy shadow will hang over the proceedings at Merseyside on Monday evening as the Liverpool squad who staged a famous comeback in Istanbul to win the 2005 Champions League final hold a 10-year anniversary … More »

    Reuters - 23 minutes ago
  • Alves focused on trophies with Barca future uncertain

    Alves focused on trophies with Barca future uncertain

    Barcelona defender Dani Alves will focus on Saturday's King's Cup final and the Champions League final a week later before announcing whether he will remain at the club next season, the Brazil international said on Monday. Alves, 32, has yet to … More »

    Reuters - 26 minutes ago
  • Blatter misled us all, says Platini

    Blatter misled us all, says Platini

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter misled the world of football by reneging on a commitment to step down in 2015, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Monday. Platini backed him in the 2011 election on that basis but is angry that Blatter, 79, is seeking … More »

    Reuters - 30 minutes ago
  • Zorniger takes over as Stuttgart coach

    Alexander Zorniger has been appointed VfB Stuttgart coach for next season, replacing Huub Stevens who left despite keeping the former champions in the Bundesliga for the second consecutive year. A former assistant coach at Stuttgart, the … More »

    Reuters - 33 minutes ago
  • Arteta may make FA Cup final, says Wenger

    Arteta may make FA Cup final, says Wenger

    Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, who has not played since November because of injury, could be fit for the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Saturday, manager Arsene Wenger said. "He is a possibility because he is back in full training," Wenger told … More »

    Reuters - 36 minutes ago