Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has admitted that he admires Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for biting him during a 2014 World Cup match.
Writing in his autobiography, the Juventus skipper says he bore no grudge against the Uruguayan for nibbling at his arm during a heated moment.
Suarez escaped punishment during the game but was later banned for four months plus nine internationals.
"Malice is part of football, I wouldn't call it illegitimate. To get past a rival you have to be smart," the Juventus captain said in the book "Io, Giorgio".
"I admire his cunning," he added. "If he lost it, he'd become an ordinary forward."• No fans sadder than dancing with sister - LE
Chiellini said nothing strange happened that day in the 2014 World Cup.
"I marked [Edinson] Cavani for most of the match, another guy who is difficult to mark and who we didn't hold back against," he said.
"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."
The match was goalless at the time of the incident but minutes after the incident, Uruguay snatched a 1-0 win which took them through to the round of 16 at Italy's expense.