BARCELONA forward Luis Suarez has said he was treated “worse than if I were a hooligan” when FIFA banned him for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
Uruguay striker Suarez was initially suspended from all football activity by FIFA for what was his third bite of an opposition player during a game, and had to leave the team hotel the day after the incident took place.
His punishment was later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning he was able to train with his new teammates, attend games, and take part in official club events after joining Barcelona from Liverpool for 80 million euros later that summer.
The 28-year-old eventually apologised to Chiellini, admitted his behaviour had been wrong and said he had undergone counselling to help him control his temper on the pitch.
However, in an interview with kicker, Suarez suggested the treatment from FIFA still rankled with him.
“A ban is one thing, but I could not even train,” he said. “At the start, I was being treated worse than if I were a hooligan.
“On holidays, I was afraid to go and see my nephews playing for a youth team in Uruguay. The ban said I could not even step onto a football pitch — something I still do not understand today.”
Suarez returned to action in October and has since settled well at Barcelona, avoiding any on-pitch controversies.
Last weekend, he scored the winner as Barca beat rivals Real Madrid 2-1 to move four points clear at the top of the Primera Division table, while his brace against Manchester City helped them qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals.