Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has revealed that he admires Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for biting him during a heated match at the 2014 World Cup.
Suarez, who escaped punishment during the game, was later banned for four months plus nine internationals – but Chiellini said he bore no grudge towards him.
“Malice is part of football, I wouldn’t call it illegitimate. To get past a rival you have to be smart,” the Juventus captain said in his new autobiography.
“If he lost it, he’d become an ordinary forward.”
The match was goalless at the time of the incident but Uruguay snatched a late winner for a 1-0 victory which took them through to the round of 16 at Italy’s expense.
Despite the defeat and battle scars, Chiellini says he enjoyed the challenge of going up against Suarez, who left Liverpool to join Barcelona following the tournament.
“I marked (Edinson) Cavani for most of the match, another guy who is difficult to mark and who we didn’t hold back against,” Chiellini continued.
“Suddenly I noticed that I had been bitten in the shoulder. It just happened, but that’s his strategy in hand-to-hand combat and, if I may say so, it’s mine too. He and I are alike, and I like to take on attackers like him.”
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