Uruguay President Jose Mujica has released a strong statement of support for compatriot and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, affirming that it was his nation's duty to help him through his current difficulties.
The former Ajax star attracted further controversy over the weekend after he declined to shake Patrice Evra's hand before a match against Manchester United. The incident reopened the debate over the Uruguayan's alleged racist outburst to Evra in a previous meeting, for which he served an eight-game suspension.
Following the lead of Celeste captain Diego Lugano, who unequivocally backed his team-mate, President Mujica promised his support to the under-fire forward.
"It is vital for Suarez to feel from so far away the love that Uruguay has for him. That is why we show solidarity with Suarez," the head of state insisted in a speech broadcast on M24.
Mujica went on to praise the 25-year-old for climbing out of poverty to become a world-class footballer.
"He is a brilliant example on the pitch, a humble kid who escaped from poverty."
Mujica finished by criticising the outrage caused by Suarez's actions on Saturday. He dubbed the scandal "exaggerated", underlined that Suarez "did not have a single racist bone" and pointed out that a "footballer does not study diplomatic protocol".