By David Ljunggren
MANAUS Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo on Wednesday condemned Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez for appearing to bite an Italian opponent, saying "it was very bad" that the incident had taken place.
FIFA could slap a lengthy ban on Suarez, who seemed to sink his teeth into the shoulder of defender Giorgio Chiellini during the game on Tuesday. Uruguay went on to win 1-0 and qualify from the group and Italy were knocked out.
"I think it is regrettable. It's an unfortunate thing that happened because if there was someone that cannot, and should not, use tools other than his feet to perform well it is Luis Suarez," Rebelo told a news conference in Manaus.
"I think it's very bad that it happened. He is an exceptional player, (he) helps to give the World Cup more attention," he said.
Suarez has twice been banned before for biting opponents, once in the Netherlands and once in England.
"In England he is a very successful striker. That was not the first bite. Other ones have happened," said Rebelo.
The minister declined to comment when asked whether Suarez should be punished, saying that was a matter for world soccer governing body FIFA.
"I think as an athlete, as a soccer player, he is broadly admired by everyone. And he doesn't need to bite anyone to be who he is," he said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)