CARDIFF, Wales -- Luis Suarez felt as though Team GB fans were being disrespectful when the Uruguay team visited the Welsh capital during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Suarez was constantly booed throughout the match that ended Uruguay’s Olympic run and so was his team’s national anthem, which bothered him more than the personal insults.
“It bothers me because people were booing a national anthem and I think when a national anthem is being sung people should be quiet to show respect and education,” the Liverpool striker said after the 1-0 decision at Millennium Stadium. “That wasn’t the case here, and that’s why it disturbed me.”
Suarez has become a player who fans love to hate ever since the 2010 World Cup when he handled a goal-bound header from Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah in extra time of the quarterfinal match. Uruguay went on to win the game but Suarez was viewed by many as a cheater.
Then last year Suarez was accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra during a match against Manchester United on Oct. 15. The FA would later hand the 25-year-old an eight-game suspension and a fine of 40,000 pounds for the racial abuse. He refused to shake Evra’s hand in his return match, leading his club to make a public apology for his actions.
Suarez says boos are expected when he travels around the United Kingdom with Liverpool, but he also says the same fans who boo are the same ones asking for photos or autographs before games.
“What I don’t understand is that some people cheer you and run after you asking for photographs or autographs, and then when I jump to the pitch the same people boo you,” he said.
“When I enter the field I just focus on playing for my team or my country and don’t pay attention to that. I think the people who do that are because they fear me. But again I play for my club or my country and that’s what matters. I’m leaving the Olympics proud of myself and my team because we gave all in.”
Uruguay, which entered the Olympics as a favorite to win a medal, failed to make it out of the group stage with back-to-back loses to Senegal and Team GB after defeating UAE in its opener.
John Rojas provided translation for this article