London, Feb 26 (ANI): Luis Suarez's grandmother has revealed that she used to call the Liverpool striker by the affectionate pet name, 'Mi negrito', which means "My little black boy", when he was a kid.
Lila Piriz insisted that in the poverty-blighted cerro barrio, or hill neighbourhood, of Suarez's home city of Salto, a river port of 100,000 in northwest Uruguay, it is a common nickname.
"This is a normal way of speaking in Uruguay. It's like calling a loved one honey, a sweet expression to use for someone," the Sun quoted Piriz as saying.
Negrito was also the word media reports claimed Suarez, 25, used in his now infamous on-field quarrel with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
In his defence to the FA Suarez had asserted that what he said was commonly used as a friendly form of address in Uruguay.
An independent FA commission, however, banned the South American for eight matches, ruling that he called Evra a "negro" - Spanish for black - seven times in around two minutes. Suarez's evidence was tagged unreliable.
Liverpool was livid at the ruling, pointing out that its player's own grandfather was black.
Tensions between the two players started brewing again when the two sides met earlier this month and Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand. Suarez later apologised for his behaviour.
However, mum-of-six Lila, 73 is quick to defend her grandson, a national hero in football-mad Uruguay.
"Using the word negro is not racist here," she said.
"It's normal. It's a word people use with their friends. It's like calling someone fat, thin or whatever.
"My grandson shouldn't have been banned. Absolutely not. Poor Luis loves his football so much. It's a terrible punishment for him. I used to call him that name," she added. (ANI)
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FabianFebruary 29, 2012 at 6:26 AM