Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara said he felt he served his punishment for provoking Uruguay's Edinson Cavani in their quarterfinal Copa America match and that the incident would end up being just a footnote in light of Chile's first Copa America win.
"I think socially it was overplayed," Jara told TVN in his first public comments about the incident. "The media stirred up the theme of Cavani too much. Beyond that, I paid for what happened. For me, at the moment, if you ask me what happened, the referee warned us both with a yellow. That is how he saw it at that moment and Cavani ended up getting sent off and I got the yellow.
"It was a shame that no one talked about the match because our quality of play was very, very superior to that of Uruguay and I don't think they showed up to play that night," said Jara. "If I made a mistake about anything, I paid for it with the semifinal and final and that hurt me very much. We were doing so well as a team. But these are experiences that will end up being a footnote with this time, like what happened to [Arturo] Vidal."
CONMEBOL issued a three-match ban following the incident to Jara, which meant he missed the remainder of the Copa America for poking the Paris Saint-Germain forward in the rear end.
Jara came up behind Cavani in the match and pushed his finger into Cavani's backside. Cavani reacted and raised his hand toward Jara's head, with the Chilean feigning an injury and collapsing on the pitch.
The match referee missed Jara's gesture and sent off Cavani. Chile defeated Uruguay 1-0 to advance.
It wasn't the first time Jara was seen provoking another player. In 2013, Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez was sent off from a World Cup qualifier for punching Jara in the face after a similar provocation from the Chilean.
Following the incident, Jara's club, Mainz, announced they were prepared to let him leave this summer.
Jara, however, said he plans to return to Mainz.
"I have a year's contract. I don't know what will happen to me. We have a new coach," he said. "If the coach wants me on the team, great. If no, I will look for another club so I can keep playing."