Newcastle United defender Paul Dummett has received death threats from angry Uruguay fans who blame him for the injury that has put striker Luis Suarez’s World Cup campaign in doubt.
Liverpool striker Suarez had keyhole surgery on his left knee on Thursday and faces a race to be fit for the World Cup in Brazil, with Uruguay playing Costa Rica in their opening Group D game on June 14 and England in their second match on June 19.
Suarez complained about the problem during his first day of training with the Uruguay squad.
The country’s FA (AUF) said he first suffered the injury in the final Premier League game of the season at home to Newcastle as Liverpool chased the title.
Dummett was sent off for fouling Suarez late in the match.
Dummett, whose red card in the 82nd minute of Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat was later rescinded on appeal, on Thursday was the victim of death threats on social media from local fans as the AUF seemed to blame Newcastle for Suarez’s operation.
The 22-year-old Newcastle defender, who was called up by Wales on Thursday for a friendly against the Netherlands on June 4, has referred the threats to soccer authorities.
Suarez will need up to 20 days to recover but Uruguay team doctors have not ruled him out of the June 12 to July 13 finals.
“The challenge was inadvertent. I hit him and the ball with my left foot and he went down under the challenge,” Dummett told the Daily Mirror on Thursday.
“I hope he makes the World Cup because he is one of the best players in the world so he should be there.
“Having said that, I injured my meniscus three years ago and I was out for three months, so it will depend on the injury and exactly where it is on the knee.”
Suarez is remaining upbeat after the AUF said that his participation “is not ruled out”.
In an email sent to Uruguayan journalist Federico Buysan which the latter posted on Twitter, Suarez wrote: “I’m doing great and am ready to run. Thanks to everyone and stay calm, I’ll make it”.
Wearing jeans and a sports jacket, Suarez appeared in good humour as he left hospital on Thursday afternoon in a wheelchair.
The player raised his hand to acknowledge the dozens of well-wishers who shouted encouragement as he was driven away in an ambulance.
He now faces a race against time to be ready for Uruguay’s World Cup campaign, which begins in a little over three weeks against Costa Rica in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza.