Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has discussed his version of events in relation to the Patrice Evra race row in 2011.
Suarez was banned for eight matches having been found guilty of racially abusing the former Manchester United left back, and still stands by the fact he was wrongly accused.
In an extract from his autobiography Crossing The Line: My Story, Suarez says “negro” was used while the pair were talking in Spanish – not English.
Suarez wrote: “Did I use the Spanish word “negro” in an argument that took place, in Spanish, with Patrice Evra on 15 October 2011 in a game between Liverpool and Manchester United? Yes.
“Is the word “negro” the same in Spanish as it is in English? No, absolutely not.
“Am I a racist? No, absolutely not.
“I was horrified when I first realised that is what I was being accused of. And I’m still sad and angry to think that this is a stain on my character that will probably be there for ever.
“I knew that Liverpool vs. Manchester United was the biggest game in English football for all the years of rivalry, and maybe even more so since Manchester United surpassed Liverpool in the number of league titles won.
“It wasn’t my first game against them. We had played the season before and there had been no problems; the usual run-ins and clashes but nothing that I remember.
“I first became aware there was a problem when Damian Comolli approached me after the game and asked me if anything had happened between me and Evra.
“At first I struggled to remember anything specific.
“There had been an argument, but then I had probably had quite a few arguments during the game. Comolli said to me: “Well, they are complaining about racism”. I was very surprised.
“I recalled that the referee had called us over at one point.
“Evra had come looking for me at a corner asking me why I had kicked him. It is always a bit hypocritical when a defender who spends the whole game kicking you complains of being kicked.
“He initiated the argument and he chose to do so in Spanish. In the following exchanges between me and him I used the Spanish word “negro” once.
“What some people will never want to accept is that the argument took place in Spanish.
“I did not use the word “negro” the way it can be used in English.
“As I am now fully aware (and I did not even know this at the time), in English there is a word that is spelled the same way but is pronounced differently and it is highly offensive: negro, pronounced nee-gro.
“Negro (pronounced neh-gro) in Spanish means “black”, nothing more.”