LONDON: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's troubled disciplinary history hit a new low Tuesday when he was given an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match.

The English Football Association punishment, which included a fine of 40,000 pound ($62,000), came less than a year after Suarez left Ajax while serving a seven-match ban in the Netherlands for biting an opponent.

"Today is a very difficult and painful day for both me and my family," the 24-year-old Suarez said on his Twitter account. "Thanks for all the support, I'll keep working!"

The striker branded the "Cannibal of Ajax" by one Dutch newspaper had started to put past misdemeanors — including a contentious handball at the 2010 World Cup— behind him with fine displays on the pitch since arriving at Liverpool in January for around $35 million.

Now his reputation has been further stained by the FA's panel, which accepted Evra's allegation that Suarez had directed a racial insult at him during United's 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Oct. 15.

"The insulting words used by Mr. Suarez included a reference to Mr. Evra's color," the FA said in a statement.

The FA also warned Suarez about his future conduct. But he could be hit with another ban if he is convicted of making an obscene gesture toward home supporters when walking off the pitch following a 1-0 loss at Fulham on Dec. 5.