Giorgio Chiellini has revealed he was quick to forgive Luis Suarez after the striker bit him because he sees a lot of himself in the Uruguay striker.
The incident occurred in a group game at the 2014 World Cup, with Suarez stunning a worldwide television audience by committing the third biting offence of his career.
But Chiellini, despite calling for action to be taken at the time, was sympathetic towards Suarez when FIFA imposed a four-month ban on the then Liverpool player.
Now the Juventus and Italy captain has disclosed why he feels a kinship with Suarez.
Chiellini wrote in a new autobiography, quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Nothing strange happened that day. I had marked [Edinson] Cavani for most of the game, another attacker who was difficult to handle, then suddenly I noticed that Suarez had bitten my shoulder.
"It happened, and this is his way of dealing with direct confrontations, and, if I can say it, it is also mine: he and I are alike and I like to face challenges in this way. I admire his malice, if he lost it he would become a normal striker."
Chiellini said he and Suarez spoke days after their June 2014 clash, which came in a game Uruguay won to advance beyond the group stage at the expense of Italy.
"After a couple of days we spoke again on the phone and there was no need to apologise," Chiellini said.
"I am a great son of a b**** on the pitch as well and I am proud of it: malice is part of football, I don't even call it impropriety. You have to be smart and I have always admired Suarez."
Suarez has gone on to join Barcelona and become a mainstay with the Camp Nou giants, putting the biting controversies behind him, after previous offences while at Ajax and Liverpool.