Ex-Man Utd defender Rafael recalls anger with Luis Suarez after Patrice Evra row

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Former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva believes Luis Suarez’s verbal confrontation with Patrice Evra in 2011 was racial abuse.

The Brazilian full-back claims the ex-Liverpool striker knew how Evra would react when he used an offensive word during a bust-up with the Frenchman at Anfield.

Suarez claimed in his defence that the phrase was a South American colloquialism, but the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Evra. The Uruguayan was fined £40,000 and banned for eight games. Suarez did not appeal their decision.

Da Silva, in his joint autobiography with twin brother Fabio, says: “There are some things that don’t make any sense – and the idea that Suarez’s words should have been taken in a friendly way was ridiculous.

“It was an insult and would have been taken that way on any football pitch, or any street, in the world.

Luis Suarez was banned for eight games back in 2011

“One defence was that it was said in Spanish. Well, Patrice spoke Spanish – – did he (Suarez) only presume he could only speak French and English?

“Of course, the entire thing was made much more difficult because it was Liverpool and Manchester United, the biggest rivalry in England and one of the most hostile.

“The truth is that it shouldn’t happen in any game.”

Da Silva adds: “Everyone has different views on how racism should be tackled.

“First of all it’s a life problem, not a football problem. It’s an archaic attitude. It should be in the past.

“We should stop treating people as though we are different. We are the same.

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“There should not be a discussion about what is wrong or right to say. That is for the past.

“It is an attitude that is clearly wrong and if someone is guilty of it, punish them.”

Suarez, who has continued to protest his innocence, sparked outrage again when the teams met at Old Trafford a few months later and he refused to shake Evra’s hand.

The Frenchman then celebrated in the striker’s face at the end of a game won by the home side.

Suarez and Evra clashed again in a match at Old Trafford
(Image: Action Images)

Da Silva says: “Patrice had decided to take a big stand, so let his pride take the back seat, to be the bigger man and offer the handshake as the Liverpool team walked past us before kick-off.

“When Suarez did what he did and declined the shake, Patrice was so angry.

“He didn’t show it so obviously, but we knew him, we knew how that made him feel.

“I was angry, too. I was furious. How could Suarez do that? It was shocking.”

The Sunshine Kids, the autobiography of Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, published by Pitch Publishing, is out now

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