• Premier League

Fergie: Controversy follows Suarez

ESPN staff
January 12, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Luis Suarez is a man "laden with controversy" ahead of Manchester United's clash with rivals Liverpool.

Suarez will face United at Old Trafford on Sunday for the first time since refusing to shake Patrice Evra's hand last February. That incident was just one in a string of similar controversial moments involving the striker, which includes being found guilty of racially abusing Evra in an earlier encounter.

The Uruguay international was again at the centre of debate this week when he scored what proved to be the winner against Mansfield with the use of his hand. Ferguson claims he was not surprised by Suarez's involvement in yet another contentious issue.

"I didn't see the Mansfield game, so it's difficult to say if it was deliberate or not," said Ferguson.

"But I think the lad is laden with controversy. I don't know if he enjoys it or not."

Brendan Rodgers has already leapt to Suarez's defence, although Ferguson can see elements of his own management style in that.

"You're always going to support your own player," he told The Sun. "That's not surprising from Brendan Rogers. I've done it myself.

"It's part of your loyalty and protection of the player. I just hope we don't suffer from some of the decisions that went Suarez's way on Sunday."

Ferguson's own star striker, Robin van Persie, has become pivotal to United's title aspirations. The Scot claims Van Persie turned down Manchester City's advances long before Manchester United secured the £24 million signing.

"He (Van Persie) told me himself that he turned them down," said Ferguson. "Juventus made a massive offer to the boy. I thought they were our biggest threat. But fortunately he signed for us."

"It was a lot of money for a player in the last year of his contract. But the thing about it is - as it proved with Manchester City the year before when they paid £24 million for Samir Nasri - you either want him or you don't.

"You have to pay the price that the club are sticking out for, whether it is one year on his contract, two or three. We wanted him badly, so we were prepared to go the extra mile."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.