Chiellini admires Suarez for biting him at 2014 World Cup
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP / Getty

Italy center-back Giorgio Chiellini says he respects Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for biting him during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Suarez famously chomped on the veteran defender's shoulder as part of an acrimonious group-stage affair that saw Italy exit the tournament courtesy of a late Diego Godin goal.

"Malice is part of football, I wouldn't call it illegitimate. To get past a rival, you have to be smart," an excerpt from Chiellini's new book, "Io, Giorgio," read, according to Reuters.

"I admire his cunning," the Juventus star continued. "If he lost it, he'd become an ordinary forward."

Replays showed that Suarez lunged at Chiellini from behind as both players awaited a corner in the 79th minute of the group closer. As the Uruguay international writhed on the pitch clutching his mouth in pain, Chiellini pulled aside his shirt to reveal bite marks to match official Marco Antonio Rodriguez.

"Suddenly, I noticed that I had been bitten in the shoulder. It just happened, but that's his strategy in hand-to-hand combat, and, if I may say so, it's mine, too. He and I are alike, and I like to take on attackers like him," Chiellini said.

Seconds later, Godin headed home the crucial match-winner from a corner.

Suarez stayed on the pitch but was eventually slapped with a four-month ban for his third biting incident following episodes with PSV's Otman Bakkal in 2010 and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in 2013.

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Chiellini admires Suarez for biting him at 2014 World Cup
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