LONDON - Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez's four-month ban from football for biting an Italian opponent was completely justified, British newspapers said on Friday.
Suarez, who plays in England for Premier League giants Liverpool, was thrown out of the World Cup, sidelined for nine international matches and banned for four months even from training after he bit Giorgio Chiellini during a Group D game on Tuesday.
"Outcast", said the Daily Mirror's back-page headline. "Gnaw Mercy", said The Sun.
The newspapers dismissed suggestions from the Uruguayan camp that Suarez is a victim of a smear campaign by the English and Italian press - the two countries eliminated from Uruguay's group.
"He'll blame other people, of course. He always does. The English media, the Italian media, the Italian players, the world and his wife," wrote the Mirror's chief sports writer Oliver Holt, saying ultimately only Suarez himself was to blame.
But Holt called the ban "desperately harsh on Liverpool" and "a brutal blow to the club's hopes of improving on the wonderful season they have just had" - Suarez's league leading 31 goals helped Liverpool to a second-place finish.
The Times wondered if the ban will change Suarez, noting: "If anything, it will only increase his sense of persecution, perhaps making him more unstable in future." The Sun speculated that the incident could knock £20 million ($34 million) off Suarez's value if Liverpool decide to sell him to Barcelona or Real Madrid.
The ban will also prevent Suarez from playing or training with Liverpool until the four months are up.
The Guardian's front page was dominated by a snarling close-up of the player with his mouth open and teeth bared, alongside the headline "Biter bit: Suarez banned for four months".
The Daily Mail's columnist Martin Samuel argued that the ban was hard on Liverpool, but that "punishment does fit this crime." Matt Dickinson of The Times said this goal-laden World Cup would continue to delight fans even without Suarez in Uruguay's lineup against Colombia for their knockout round match on Saturday.
"No Suarez? That's his loss, not ours," he wrote.