- World Cup
Chiellini: Suarez suspension excessive
Giorgio Chiellini has become Luis Suarez's least likely sympathiser and claimed the Uruguay striker's four-month ban from FIFA for biting him is "excessive".
The Italy defender claims he holds no grudge towards Suarez after making sure the world knew of Suarez's offence during the World Cup clash between their countries on Tuesday.
In addition to his nine-match international and four-month ban, FIFA have imposed a stadium and training ground suspension as well as revoking his World Cup accreditation and Chiellini feels the punishment is a step too far.
"Now inside me there's no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that's done," Chiellini said in a statement on his official website.
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"I always thought that official judgements are unquestionable, but on the other hand I believe that Suarez has been excessively punished.
"I sincerely hope that he will be allowed, at least, to stay close to his team mates during the games because such a ban is really alienating for a player."
The Liverpool forward, 27, has also received support from Diego Maradona, who called the ban "shameful". Suarez has now flown home where he received a heroes welcome from crowds in Montevideo but his latest indiscretion has cast his future at Anfield into doubt.
The club's legal team are to hold meetings with the player's lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, today in Barcelona who is thought to be in Spain to hold informal talks with the La Liga club over a possible transfer.
Regardless, Uruguay have been forced to plan without Suarez, who fired them into the knockout stages with a brace against England, for their game against Colombia in the last sixteen on Saturday evening.
Uruguay's football federation has said it plans to appeal the ban, however.