Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica has expressed his solidarity with the country’s world famous football player Luis Suarez, who has been an object of criticism ever since he was accused of racially abusing French player Patrice Evra in the English Premier League.
Mujica called on all Uruguayans to stand by Suarez and support him, while he also denied that the star player on Uruguay’s national team was a racist.
“It is necessary to ratify the affection this small country has for Suarez and to show our solidarity with him,” Mujica said in a radio broadcast, adding that “we all clearly know that he is not racist and that he never has been”.
The spat started after Suarez, who currently plays as a forwarder for the English club Liverpool, avoided to shake hands with Evra ahead of a match last Saturday between Liverpool and Evra’s Manchester United, a match which the latter went on to win 2-1.
It is not the first time that tension has arisen between the two players, as Suarez last year was suspended for eight matches after Evra denounced Suarez for taunting him with racist insults.
Mujica said the whole affair had been “exaggerated” by the press in Britain and Suarez immediately after the match had apologized to Evra and his club for the incident, Xinhua reports.
“His mistakes will help him learn what good manners are in social relations,” said Mujica, who also said part of such problems emerge because a players like Suarez is not trained to be “a formal diplomat”.
Suarez, 25, was elected to be the best player in the South American Football Confederation’s 2011 Copa America tournament which Uruguay won in July last year.