Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has revealed that he admires Barcelona forward Luis Suarez for biting him during a heated clash between Uruguay and Italy at the 2014 World Cup.
Suarez, who escaped punishment during the match, was later banned from football for four months plus nine internationals – but Chiellini said he held 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.
“I admire his cunning. If he lost it, he’d become an ordinary forward.”
The game was goalless at the time of the incident but Uruguay snatched a late winner for a 1-0 win which took them through to the round of 16 at the expense of Italy.
Despite the defeat and battle scars, Giorgio Chiellini claims he enjoyed the challenge of going up against Luis Suarez, who left Liverpool to move to La Liga after 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.”
“Suarez and I are similar and I like facing strikers like him. I called him a couple of days after the game, but he had no need to apologise to me. I too am a son of a b*tch on the field and proud of it,” he added.
“Mischief and a little bit of malice are part of the game, I wouldn’t call that cheating. You need to be intelligent to overcome your rival.”