Luis Suarez has paved the way for a reported move to Barcelona, after apologising to Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini after his latest biting episode.
Suarez was sent home from the World Cup in disgrace after biting Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy on June 24.
The Liverpool striker, who had bitten two opponents on the field of play before, was suspended from ‘’all football-related activity’’ for four months by FIFA.
His initial reaction was to issue a statement denying any bite, insisting that he simply ‘fell’ into Chiellini’s shoulder.
But, perhaps tellingly, hours after a report suggested that Barcelona would not contemplate signing Suarez until he admitted the bite, a statement was posted on the player’s Twitter account.
It read: “After several days of being home with my family, I have had the opportunity to regain my calm and reflect about the reality of what occurred during the Italy-Uruguay match on 24 June 2014.
“Independent from the fallout and the contradicting declarations that have surfaced during these past days, all of which have been without the intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team, the truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me.
‘’For this: I deeply regret what occurred. I apologise to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family. I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like this.’’
Chiellini accepted Suarez’s apology, tweeting: It’s all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension.”
Yesterday, France booked their place in the quarter finals with a 2-0 win over Nigeria, thanks to a Paul Pogba strike and a stoppage-time own goal from Joseph Yobo.
Today, Argentina face Switzerland (5pm BST, on BBC1) and Belgium take on the United States live on ITV at 9pm.