Desailly on Suarez: He thinks the pitch is a swimming pool

The former Chelsea defender called out the Liverpool forward over his "theatrics" and hopes that Manchester United fail to win the Premier League title this season
By Dennis Mabuka

Former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has hit out at Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, claiming that the Uruguayan treats the football pitch like a swimming pool.

Suarez has been embroiled in various diving controversies during his time in England, with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers defending his star man earlier in the year by insisting that his reputation is exaggerated because he is foreign.

The in-form attacker is the Premier League's second-highest scorer this season with nine goals although Desailly called out the controversial Uruguay international when reflecting on his duels with former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer.

"I have a lot of respect for retired England striker Shearer," Desailly told Goal. "He is the forward I dreaded to meet during my spell in the Premier League.

"Shearer was always ready for the occasion and would fight for anything and everything. He was never into theatrics like Suarez. Suarez always thinks the football pitch is a swimming pool."

Desailly again referred to Suarez when discussing African participation at the World Cup, mentioning the former Ajax striker's "antics" when he handled the ball on the line to prevent Ghana reaching the semi-final in South Africa in 2010.

"African teams need to perform better at World Cups," he commented. "Cameroon were close to qualifying for the semi-finals some time back. Ghana as well, save for the Suarez antics again."

Discussing the race for the Premier League title, Desailly expressed his hope that Manchester United fail in their attempts to retain their crown, suggesting that seven teams, including Arsenal, are in the running.

He said: "I don't want Manchester United to win it this season. Arsenal have started well and it looks like they, alongside six other teams can last the distance. We will have a clearer picture in March."

The former France international also backed Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure to retain the African Player of the Year award following yet another impressive year at Eastlands: "Of course, there is a field of very talented players who have been nominated for the award, but definitely Yaya will take this crown.

"He is not only one of my best players currently, but has also shown a lot of consistency throughout last season and this season and he deserves this award."