• Nationality and 'hypocrisy' behind treatment, claims goalkeeper
• 'Luis is a magnificent person and great team-mate'
The Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has attacked Luis Suárez's 10-game ban for biting the Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic as "absurd and unfair".
Reina said the Uruguayan striker is being singled out because of his nationality and his past mistakes, insisting that it would be different if he was English. Reina admitted that a hard line should be taken but claimed that there is a "lot of hypocrisy" when it comes to treatment and punishment.
Reina told the Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: "I consider myself a friend of Luis. People in England are treating him different because he is Uruguayan; because he has had a previous episode like this. He knows perfectly well that what he did was wrong but a 10-game ban seems to me absurd, out of proportion and unfair. 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.
Asked if that showed that English football is racist, he responded: "No, but there is hypocrisy – a different measure is used."
The goalkeeper appeared to refer to Jermain Defoe's bite on Javier Mascherano in 2006, when the Tottenham striker was booked and no further action taken. "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. He was an English player I think and the treatment was different," Reina said.
"I am not justifying what [Suárez] did but the punishment is very disproportionate. He knows he was wrong, he knows he has made a mistake but the treatment is completely out of proportion."
Asked if this latest incident could result in Suárez leaving the Premier League, Reina replied: "Right now he is a Liverpool player. 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."