Salgado: Suarez apology felt forced

Michel Salgado believes Luis Suarez's apology for not shaking hands with Patrice Evra at Old Trafford was forced, insincere and overdue.

After returning from an eight-game ban (and £40,000 fine) issued by the Football Association, having been found guilty of racially abusing the Frenchman during Liverpool and Manchester United's 1-1 draw at Anfield on October 15 2011, much of the talk before the sides' return fixture centred on whether the two would shake hands.

EXCLUSIVE: Michel Salgado's FFT column on Suarez, Evra, Terry, Ferdinand and Capello

As both sides went through the pre-match pleasantries, Suarez refused to acknowledge Evra, who grabbed the forward's arm, visibly riled by the snub.

United edged the tense affair 2-1 – Suarez netting Liverpool’s consolation – before an over-exuberant Evra celebrated in front of the Uruguayan at the end of the game, resulting in a scuffle close to the tunnel.

Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo in a preview of his monthly column, legendary former Real Madrid defender Salgado - currently with Blackburn Rovers - believes Suarez's conduct only exacerbated matters.

"When the case was brought against him, he denied wrongdoing and was determined to fight it, yet he lost the case and got an eight-game ban," says Salgado.

"But his actions forced his coach and his club to defend him to the death, leaving them in a difficult and unpleasant situation. Against Manchester United, Suarez had the chance to put it all behind him and he didn’t."

The following day, Suarez released a statement apologising to Kenny Dalglish, the club and the fans for not shaking Evra’s hand, yet seemingly failed to acknowledge Evra himself.

While welcoming the apology, Salgado suspects Suarez may have been forced into making it, especially given his staunch defence of his innocence.

"We all make mistakes – all of us. But you have to step forward and say sorry," says Salgado. "You apologise for what happened in the heat of the moment and it ends there. But you must apologise.

"In the end Suarez did apologise, but it felt forced. The apology has to be sincere. The apology also has to be directed to Evra, and it wasn't. You have to be man enough to step up, swallow your pride and apologise properly."

By Vithushan Ehantharajah

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