The Luis Suarez racism storm back in 2011 is one of the most unsavoury incidents of the Premier League era.
The Uruguayan striker, playing for Liverpool at the time, was handed an eight-match ban and fined £40,000 after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
Liverpool, to the surprise of many, backed the striker throughout the entire episode while Suarez has always remained unapologetic for using the word “negro”.
"Did I use the Spanish word 'negro' in an argument that took place, in Spanish, with Patrice Evra on 15 October 2011 in a game between Liverpool and Manchester United?" he wrote in Crossing the Line, per the Telegraph. "Yes. Is the word 'negro' the same in Spanish as it is in English? No, absolutely not. Am I a racist? No, absolutely not.
"I was horrified when I first realised that is what I was being accused of. And I'm still sad and angry to think that this is a stain on my character that will probably be there forever."
Suarez reveals Iniesta sent him a message
But it turns out that it wasn’t only people connected with Liverpool who were defending the forward.
In Andres Iniesta’s new book, The Artist, Suarez has revealed how his current Barcelona teammate sent him a personal message of support during the unfortunate episode.
The book reveals how Iniesta was the first person Suarez spoke to when he arrived at the Camp Nou, from Anfield, in the summer of 2014.
“He told me to take the locker next to his in the dressing room; he was the first to contact me, the first to put me at ease,” Suarez said. “He’s like me in many ways: we’re both family people and because we’re similar we quickly got on.
“I’ll never forget the message of support he send me when I was accused of racism while at Liverpool. It surprised me that he took the time to send it.
“One of the most important people in football contacted me: that message meant more to me than the praise you get when you score.”
Text from Iniesta's book
This will come as a surprise to many football fans; it seems that Iniesta could see Suarez’s point of view, at least.
Suarez hasn’t been involved in any further incidents of racism since 2011, although the Evra saga has still left a permanent stain on his reputation, not as a footballer but as a person.
Was Andres Iniesta wrong to send a message of support to Luis Suarez? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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