Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has described the 10-match ban given to Luis Suarez as “absurd, out of proportion and excessive”.
Reina held nothing back in his assessment of Suarez’s ban, handed down after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield.
The 30-year-old said Suarez had been treated unfairly due to his reputation and that he was a fantastic person off the field.
“I consider myself a friend of Luis. People in England are treating him different because he is Uruguayan or because he has had a previous episode like this,” Reina told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
“He knows he is wrong but a 10-game ban seems to me absurd, out of proportion and excessive. It seems that the people making the decisions have got it in for Luis a little bit.
“I know Luis and I know that he is the complete opposite [off the pitch]. He is a magnificent person and great team-mate.
“But because of the way he plays, he is aggressive and very competitive, he plays like a street player and sometimes the way he is gets him into trouble. Sometimes his strong temper does not help him.”
Reina added that the punishment given to Suarez was hypocritical, as was the eight-match ban he received for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in 2011.
Chelsea defender John Terry was slapped with a four-match suspension for racial abuse last season, and Suarez has not been helped by the English media according to Reina.
“There is a lot of hypocrisy,” he said.
“In England there [is a] very sensationalist media that pay more attention to some than others. In the racism cases: the one with proof got a four-game ban [Terry] and Luis got eight matches.
“There have been other times and it seems there is a rule that if the referee has seen it then nothing further can be done. [If] he was an English player I think the treatment [would be] different.”
Reina added that Suarez was having a difficult time dealing with the fall-out of his latest indiscretion, and when quizzed if he would remain at Liverpool, mentioned that he would be good enough to play for anyone.
“Right now he is a Liverpool player,” he said.
“He is having a bad time of it and so is his family. He is certainly good enough to fit into any team in the world.”