Pepe Reina says Luis Suárez’s 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanović is absurd, accusing the FA of treating the Liverpool striker unfairly.
The Reds managing director Ian Ayre admitted the club were both “shocked and disappointed” by the severity of the three-man independent panel’s ruling on Wednesday after Liverpool fined the striker two weeks’ wages.
Suárez had pleaded guilty to the charge of violent conduct but the forward denied the FA’s claim that the standard punishment of three matches was insufficient.
The Uruguayan’s ban is two more than the suspension which he received for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in a 1-1 draw at Anfield in October 2011.
And Reina, who joined Liverpool from Villarreal in 2005, believes Suárez has paid the price for his past indiscretions.
“I consider myself a friend of Luis,” Reina told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
“People in England are treating him different because he is Uruguayan; because he has had a previous episode like this.
“He knows perfectly well that what he did was wrong but a 10-game ban seems to me absurd, out of proportion and unfair. It seems that the people making the decisions have got it in for Luis a little bit.
“I know Luis and I know that he is the complete opposite (off the pitch): he is a magnificent person and great team-mate. But because of the way he plays, he is aggressive and very competitive, he plays like a street player and sometimes the way he is gets him into trouble.
“There is a lot of hypocrisy. Some players are treated differently to others. In the racism cases: the one with proof got a four-game ban and Luis got eight matches.”