FIFA president Sepp Blatter has expressed his sympathy for new Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, following his four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.
Controversial Blatter – never one to let his personal feelings remain unknown – claimed he wants to see Suarez back as soon as possible, "at one of the greatest clubs in the world", according to The Daily Mail.
He said: “As a footballer myself, I feel for him. I feel such punishment hurts.
“But as president of FIFA I have to accept the decisions taken by independent committee. It is not like the past when we had designated committees and could tell them what to do.
“I hope this player will come back to football because, on the pitch, he showed before his elimination his capacity, technical and tactical, and smelling the goal with two great goals. He will be back.”
Suarez was handed a four-month ban by an independent committee for the bite, which happened during Uruguay’s last group game against Italy, and saw the South Americans progress to the knockout stages at the Europeans' expense.
And following Suarez’s £75 million move from Liverpool, new club Barcelona are in full support of their new striker, as they attempt to get the ban overturned.
Suarez’s agent Pere Guardiola – brother of ex-Barca boss Pep – has confirmed his client is planning to appeal his ban with the Court of Arbitration For Sport after a FIFA appeal was rejected.
In the wake of Blatter’s comments, it seems the Catalan club - and their problem child - have gained a high-profile sympathiser to their cause.
Incidentally, 78-year-old Blatter’s description of himself as a ‘footballer’ is a puzzling one, as he has never kicked a ball at professional level. Indeed the only football he is believed to have played is for his local Swiss amateur side FC Visp, where he assures anybody who will listen that he was a star player who scored lots of goals.
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