Giorgio Chiellini’s autobiography is the gift that just keeps on giving. Not only does the Juventus legend give both barrels to Felipe Melo and Mario Balotelli, he also lets slip that he “admires” Luis Suarez – despite the Barcelona star once biting him during a game.
The incident transpired during a 2014 World Cup group stage game between Italy and Uruguay with the then-Liverpool striking taking a nibble – it was much more of a nibble, actually – of Chiellini’s shoulder following a penalty box tussle between the two players.
As he so often does, Suarez managed to get away with his devious tactics at the time but was hit with a four month ban after the match.
Though he definitely did not enjoy it in the heat of the moment – with the look of horrific disbelief etched of Chiellini’s face becoming one of the defining images of the tournament – the 35-year-old has since admitted that he respects the striker’s impassioned commitment to win.
“The truth is, I admire his mischief, because if Suarez were to lose that, he would become an average player,” he writes in In Giorgio, via Goal.
“Nothing strange happened that day in the 2014 World Cup,” he added.
Well, that’s a bold claim isn’t it? How many times have you been bitten while playing football, readers? We bet it’s not very many. Anyway, moving on.
“I marked Edinson Cavani for most of the game, another complicated guy to keep up with, and we held nothing back.
“Suddenly, I realised I’d been bitten on the shoulder. It happened, that’s all there is to it, but that is his strategy when fighting with body-to-body contact and, if I may say, it’s mine too.”
Chiellani goes on to lavish yet more praise on the man who tried to eat him further on in his book.
“Suarez and I are similar and I like facing strikers like him,” he said.
“I called him a couple of days after the game, but he had no need to apologise to me. I too am a son of a b*tch on the field and proud of it.
“Mischief and a little bit of malice are part of the game, I wouldn’t call that cheating. You need to be intelligent to overcome your rival.”
And if intelligence isn’t enough? Just try to take a chunk out of their shoulder instead.