at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Luis Suarez has defended himself against accusations that he is a habitual cheat, but owned up to diving on at least one occasion this season.
The Liverpool striker, who has been involved in a number of controversial incidents, has complained that he is the victim of a media witch-hunt, while at the same time admitting that he “invented a foul” to try to win a tight match for the Reds.
Suarez was most recently cited for his behaviour during a televised FA Cup third-round tie at Mansfield Town, when the ball struck his hand before he scored.
He also infuriated Stoke City boss Tony Pulis with his antics during a 0-0 draw at Anfield last October and has been cautioned for punching the ball into the net in a match against Southampton.
While he moaned that the watching public had him marked down as a cheat, the Uruguayan was big enough to accept that his critics may have had cause for complaint.
In an interview with Fox Sports in Argentina, Suarez said: “It’s complicated to play in England. As Carlitos (Tevez) and Kun (Aguero) said, it’s complicated for a South American footballer being here as we are treated differently to the locals.
“I have to play football, which is what I always wanted, but I have suffered a lot for being a footballer. I’m accused of cheating. People say I throw myself (to the floor) all the time inside the box.
“Let’s see ... they said that when we played against Stoke, for instance. In that case, they were right. I invented a foul because we were drawing and I wanted to win. Sometimes on the pitch I say to myself, ‘What have I done?’
“But my name sells papers. The other day, I touched the ball with my hand accidentally and I was criticised because I kissed my hand. The media make up a lot of things about me. I say to the media, ‘You should talk more about football, not about other stuff’.”
Suarez said he had nothing to reproach himself for over the racism row with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, saying: “When someone says to me something bad about being a South American, I don’t cry because it happens inside the pitch. I have my conscience clean. But Man United controls the media, they are powerful and the media will always help them.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre has sparked a debate by claiming the Merseysiders are the “best-balanced” team in the Barclays Premier League.
Ayre said the mix between club stalwarts such as Steven Gerard and Jamie Carragher, world-class stars such as Suarez and home-grown talent such as Raheem Sterling was a perfect blend.
Ayre said: “You need a mix in your squad and we have probably the best balance in terms of any team in the league. We’ve got people who understand what this club really means and who have enjoyed success here.
“We have young players breaking through, then we have players like Suarez, who could be playing anywhere in the world, but he’s playing at Liverpool.” – Daily Mail