Due to the 2021 European Cup Championship, another bite may happen on our hands.
In the first half of the 2021 European Cup group stage, German defender Antonio Rudiger seemed to bend over and bit Paul Pogba’s back because he had been keeping a close eye on him.
Pogba found Spanish referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande, apparently to remind him of the incident, but did not take any action. At that time, German defender Mats Hummels led Germany 1-0 with an own goal in the 20th minute.
The biting video is circulating on social media, and the reaction of fans and the media is also the same:
Paul Pogba: “He bit a bit”
After the game, Pogba did his best to calm the incident.
“We are friends,” Pogba said. “It’s not a big deal. I think you saw the TV picture, it’s all over, it belongs to the past. I’m not crying for a yellow card or a red card for this behavior. I think he bit me a little bit.
“We have known each other for a long time,” he continued. “I felt it. I told the referee that he made the decision. He made the decision. He didn’t receive any cards. I think it’s better. I don’t want him to be suspended for it.”
Former player, referee weighs
Former England and Premier League referee Mark Kratenberg served as ESPN’s rules expert during the European Cup. He analyzed how officials might deal with it during the live broadcast, especially since they can watch the video:
“It’s hard to see what Rudiger actually did. He opened his mouth. He could have said something. There might be jokes between the two of them,” he told ESPN commentators Jon Champion and Tyler Willman. “It is difficult to prove that he bit his teeth on Pogba’s back. Therefore, VAR will look at it, check it, and then tell the referee that there is nothing in the photo to indicate that this might be a red card.
“It’s hard to prove,” Kratenberg continued. “Very, very difficult to prove.”
Former French international Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane were on the ITV broadcast together. Here is their reaction during the intermission:
“When you see Pogba’s reaction, it feels like a bite,” Vieira said. “I can’t see what Rudiger is doing there.”
Keane added: “It’s not the right bite, is it? But it’s a stupid thing.”
Another broadcaster and Arsenal legend Ian Wright was not so sure: “If he bit him there, he would back down, and he didn’t back down at all,” Wright said. “I don’t know what happened there.”
Memories of the Uruguay team Luis Suarez
This episode immediately reminiscent of Uruguayan star striker Luis Suarez’s most high-profile bite in global football. During his career, he was notorious for biting people in games many times.
First, he did this in the 2010 Dutch League and was suspended for seven games. This happened again in the 2013 Premier League and he was suspended for 10 games.
But the most prominent episode related to Suarez took place on the biggest stage: the FIFA World Cup. Suarez was found guilty by FIFA for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup. He was suspended for four months in nine games against Uruguay.