Luis Suarez has joined Brazilian club Gremio on a two-year deal.

The Uruguay striker was a free agent after leaving his boyhood club Nacional and will continue his career in Brazil.

Suarez was wanted by Mexican side Cruz Azul, but Gremio have won the race for his signature.

Porto Alegre-based club Gremio confirmed the signing of the 35-year-old on New Year's Eve.

Suarez helped Nacional to win the Primera Division title after returning to his homeland following his Atletico Madrid exit.

The veteran won four LaLiga titles during a hugely successful spell with Barcelona and claimed another with Atleti in the 2020-21 campaign.

He also lifted the Champions League trophy at Barca in 2015. 

Suarez won the Copa America with Uruguay in 2011, and is his country's all-time top goalscorer, with 68 in 137 games, though he failed to net during their recent World Cup campaign at Qatar 2022.

Luis Suarez has hailed "best in the world" Lionel Messi after his former Barcelona teammate helped Argentina qualify for the 2022 World Cup final.

Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 34th minute and set up Julian Alvarez's second goal in the 69th minute to round out an impressive 3-0 victory over Croatia on Tuesday.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner now has a shot at his first World Cup title, and Argentina's first since Diego Maradona led them to glory in 1986, with Messi having been a runner-up in 2014 when Germany edged La Albiceleste 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro.

"You never get tired of showing that you are the best in the world," Suarez, who spent six years with Messi at Barcelona from 2014 to 2020, wrote on Instagram.

"The whole world stops to applaud this guy and what he's given to football. Incredible my friend!"

Vanquished Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, who was a long-time adversary of Messi with Real Madrid in La Liga, said the Argentinian deserves to lift the World Cup.

"Hopefully [Messi] wins this World Cup, he is the best player in history and he deserves it," Modric told reporters after the game.

Argentina will play the final on Sunday against either reigning world champions France or Morocco, who will meet at Al Bayt Stadium in the second semi-final on Wednesday.

Neymar is struggling to accept he has become yesterday's man at the Qatar World Cup, saying Brazil's exit has left him "psychologically destroyed".

Defeat on penalties to Croatia on Friday meant Brazil's campaign was over, with the pre-tournament favourites falling to the shock finalists from four years ago.

This may have been Neymar's final World Cup, and he was reluctant to commit to playing on for his country in the immediate aftermath of the game.

His dazzling goal gave Brazil the lead in extra time, but a late equaliser from Bruno Petkovic took the quarter-final to spot-kicks, and it was Zlatko Dalic's side who got the better of Tite's men.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, Neymar wrote: "I'm psychologically destroyed. This was certainly the defeat that hurt me the most, which made me paralysed for 10 minutes and right after I fell into non-stop crying. It's gonna hurt for a loooong time, unfortunately."

Neymar's strike meant the Paris Saint-Germain forward equalled Pele's record of 77 goals for Brazil, but that was no consolation. He came to win a World Cup and may now never get his hands on that trophy.

"We fought until the end," Neymar added. "That's what I'm proud of my team-mates for, because there was no lack of commitment and dedication. This group deserved it, we deserved it, BRAZIL deserved it... But this was not the will of GOD!

"Thank you all for your support with our national team. Unfortunately it didn't work out."

Pele sent Neymar an impassioned and long message after the game, with the Brazil great attempting to rally the current generation while he is in hospital.

The 82-year-old again reacted on Saturday to Neymar's latest message, telling him: "Continue to be an inspiration."

Brazil have not reached a World Cup final since their 2002 triumph gave the Selecao a record fifth title.

Neymar's former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez also offered his support.

Suarez, who went out with Uruguay at the group stage, told Neymar: "Much strength bro and onwards and upwards. Many times we fall, but we always have the strength to move forward because we fight a lot to succeed in this beautiful sport. Stay strong little brother."

Luis Suarez claimed FIFA "is always against Uruguay" as his World Cup career ended in tears and a group-stage exit in Qatar.

The former Barcelona, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid striker played in Friday's 2-0 win against Ghana, which came thanks to a double from Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

Veteran Suarez was substituted before the end and was a helpless observer when Edinson Cavani was denied a late penalty after going over in the Ghana 18-yard box.

Suarez felt that was a reasonable claim, and he also considered Uruguay should have had a spot-kick early in the second half after Darwin Nunez went down.

Despite referee Daniel Siebert assessing the Nunez incident on a pitchside monitor, the match official ruled it should not be a penalty.

Suarez had tears streaming as Uruguay's exit was confirmed, with South Korea pipping them to a last-16 spot after a 2-1 win over Portugal. Another Uruguay goal would have seen them pip the South Koreans to second spot.

Suarez pointed to group winners Portugal being awarded a disputed penalty against Uruguay in Monday's game between the teams, saying that "hurt" in terms of goal difference. Relating it to incidents in the Ghana game, Suarez added: "The penalty against Darwin is very clear. Edi's also has contact."

Calling on FIFA, the world governing body, to "give an explanation" about the rationale for penalty decisions, Suarez added: "They are not excuses, but incredible things are taking place in the World Cup."

He claimed to have been prevented from going across to his family following the final whistle against Ghana, too.

"After the game I want to go hug my family, and people from FIFA come to tell me no," Suarez said, "when you see a Frenchman with his children on the substitute bench.

"It seems that Uruguay has to have more power. FIFA is always against Uruguay."

Suarez, at the age of 35, is winding down his playing career but hoped for a flourish on the world stage. Instead, his tournament ended in a pot shot at tournament chiefs.

He had to settle for a small consolation, but even winning in front of his little boy left a sorry taste.

"I was lucky to play my fourth World Cup. And what I thought about before the match was my four-year-old son, who hadn't seen me win a World Cup match," Suarez said.

"Today, he saw me win, but he sees this image of sadness and I think that's it. For a father, for a player it is very difficult, but we are going to face the situation and encourage our team-mates for what lies ahead."

Team-mate Federico Valverde underlined the dismay in the Uruguay ranks, with South Korea's late winner from Hwang Hee-chan against Portugal having snatched away second place.

"There is much sadness and disappointment," Valverde said. "This is a very good group, of players and the coaching staff. Everyone's family was always there to help us.

"People supported us and encouraged us in difficult times, and it's a great sadness. We are sad for not having given the country the joy it deserves."

Ghana's World Cup reunion with Uruguay is set to be full of bite, and Luis Suarez was handed a start in the showdown at Al Janoub.

Suarez said on Thursday that he will never apologise for his famous handball on the line in a 2010 quarter-final tie with the Black Stars.

With the scores level at 1-1, Asamoah Gyan hit the resulting spot-kick against the crossbar, and Uruguay went on to win on penalties.

Suarez was sent off for the handball, but it was put to him in the pre-match press conference that many Ghana fans still compare the former Liverpool and Barcelona star to the Devil.

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso had no issues in handing the 35-year-old a starting spot for the crunch Group H match, though. Uruguay need a victory to stand a chance of progressing to the last 16.

Ghana, meanwhile, can progress with a draw, though victory would ensure their place in the knockout stage.

Suarez was named at the top of a three-man attack also including Darwin Nunez and Facundo Pellistri. Edinson Cavani was named on the bench.

Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur continued in midfield, with Jose Maria Gimenez and Sebastian Coates at the centre of defence, with Barcelona's Ronald Araujo still unavailable due to injury.

Ghana coach Otto Addo made two changes to the side that beat South Korea 3-2, with Baba Rahman and Alidu Seidu coming in for Gideon Mensah and Tariq Lamptey respectively.

Mohammed Kudus has been Ghana's star in Qatar, and started as part of a three-man attacking midfield unit along with captain Andre Ayew and his brother Jordan.

As far as World Cup grudge matches go, not many – if any – can rival Ghana against Uruguay this century.

Twelve and a half years on from 'that' match in Johannesburg, the footage of Luis Suarez celebrating his next-level dark arts – some would use a stronger term – remains engrained in the memory.

While revenge may not be the main motive for winning Friday's latest encounter between the sides – or at least not in the view of Ghana boss Otto Addo – the Black Stars will be relishing the chance to get one over on Suarez and Co.

The prize on the line is not as big as in 2010, when Uruguay's penalty shoot-out win took them through to the World Cup semi-finals, but should Ghana avoid defeat at Al Janoub Stadium they will be through to the last 16 in Qatar.

Ahead of the tasty tussle, Stats Perform looks at why their only previous World Cup meeting was so notorious and what exactly is on the line this time around.

"The hand of God now belongs to me" 

Those are the words credited to Suarez in 2010, referencing Diego Maradona's equally as infamous goal for Argentina against England in the 1986 World Cup and clearly taking some pride in his act of gamesmanship.

Public enemy number one in Ghana and wider parts of Africa he may have been, but back home in Uruguay he was elevated towards legendary status.

"I always say if I was Suarez, I'd have done the same thing to save my country. He's a hero there," said Ghana great Asamoah Gyan. "People hate him, but he did what he had to do to get his country to the semi-final."

So what exactly did Suarez do to become hated or loved to the highest degree, depending on exactly who you ask?

No, the then-Ajax striker did not bite anyone – not in that game, at least – but rather used another part of his body to help send his country through at Ghana's expense.

 

After Diego Forlan had cancelled out Sulley Muntari's opener to take the match to extra-time, penalties loomed to determine who would reach the last four in South Africa.

Ghana looked the more likely side to score a winner in their bid to become the first African side to reach the semis of the competition, at which point Suarez illegally handled Dominic Adiyiah's goal-bound shot.

"Illegally handled" is one way of putting it; a great two-handed save on the line is another. Suarez did what was necessary to prevent Adiyiah's late effort from eliminating Uruguay, who went on to lose 3-2 to the Netherlands in the next round.

A red card was his punishment, though it was ultimately worth it as Gyan struck the crossbar from the subsequent spot-kick and it was Uruguay who went through on penalties after the game finished 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.

 

The state of play 12 years on

More than the act itself, it was arguably the way Suarez stood on the edge of the pitch and wildly celebrated Gyan's missed effort that angered Ghana supporters so much.

The man who had just denied them their greatest day was about to enjoy his own greatest day – or at least with his national side, having had so much success at club level, where he is now plying his trade for Nacional once again.

And so we arrive full circle to the current day in Al-Wakrah, where on Friday it will be heartbreak for at least one of Ghana or Uruguay.

After a thrilling 3-2 victory over South Korea to follow up a just as lively 3-2 loss to Portugal, Ghana are second in Group H and will be assured of a place in the knockout stage should they win.

A draw, just like in Bloemfontein, may also be enough for Ghana should South Korea fail to beat group leaders Portugal.

Uruguay, who have failed to score in a stalemate with South Korea and 2-0 loss to Portugal, need to win and hope Portugal avoid defeat against South Korea.

Not quite winner takes all, then, but the stakes remain incredibly high in this huge grudge match, which Suarez will be hopeful of starting.

"I'm a guy who doesn't think too much in the past when this incident happened," Ghana boss Addo said in the build-up to the match. "I'm a strong believer if you don't seek revenge, you get even more blessings."

Maybe so. But by beating Uruguay on Friday to exact that revenge, Ghana will have blessings that may yet take them even further than the magical run 12 years ago that ended in the most crushing of manners.

Either way, in what will surely be his final World Cup, you would not bet against that man Suarez taking centre stage regardless of the outcome.

Luis Suarez feels no need to apologise for his handball against Ghana 12 years ago, as he hopes to propel Uruguay into the World Cup last 16.

Having taken a point from their opening two matches in Qatar, Uruguay must beat Ghana on Friday to progress from Group H.

However, the game at Al Janoub Stadium is something of a grudge match - at least from the point of view of Ghana supporters.

While the Black Stars coach Otto Addo insisted Ghana will not be out for revenge, Suarez has been a hugely unpopular figure in the African nation since he handled on the line to deny Dominic Adiyiah a goal in extra-time of a World Cup quarter-final tie in 2010.

Suarez was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar from the resulting spot-kick, with Uruguay going on to progress to the semi-finals by winning the penalty shoot-out.

The former Liverpool and Barcelona star has never considered apologising, though.

"I don't apologise for that," he said in a press conference. 

"I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed a penalty, not me.

"Maybe I could apologise if I injured the player, but in this situation I was sent off, the ref said penalty – it's not my fault, because I didn't miss the penalty.

"It's not my responsibility to score the penalty."

When it was put to Suarez that Ghana, who could go through with a point, might be even more motivated if he plays in what could well be his final World Cup game, the 35-year-old suggested an obsession with revenge is unhealthy.

"I haven't thought about this. I don't know what people are saying or if they want revenge," he replied.

"The players who might play tomorrow might've been eight years old back then, will they be motivated? Some people might call me the Devil.

"We beat Portugal in 2018, have you heard Portuguese people saying they needed revenge because we lost?"

Suarez also referenced the incident involving Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup, when the Uruguay forward bit the Italy defender on the shoulder.

"What I did to Chiellini, I made a mistake, but afterwards we played together in the Champions League and shook hands," he added.

"You can't focus on the past and revenge, that can be counter-productive."

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: "For us it's a defining match and that's what matters, I don't know if Ghana will want revenge, we respect them and we will try to be better to be able to qualify."

His counterpart Addo, meanwhile, reiterated Ghana's minds are not fixed on revenge.

"This is what I wish from every player, to do all they can to get to the semi-final of a World Cup. Maybe sacrifice themselves. This is my perspective," he said.

"It was very sad what happened in 2010, but we can't change it. In general, it is about perspective," Addo said.

"If the same incident had happened the other way round people would have talked about it, so for me it is not a big topic. We are going into the match like any other."

Luis Suarez wants Ronald Koeman to tell him to his face why he showed him the door at Barcelona just over two years ago.

Suarez joined LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid on a free transfer in September 2020 after being deemed surplus to requirements by Koeman.

The Uruguay striker, now playing for his boyhood club Nacional, scored 198 goals in a trophy-laden six-year spell with Barca.

Suarez hopes Koeman, who was sacked by the Blaugrana in October 2021 after just 14 months as head coach, will explain why he decided to get rid of him.

He told Marca: "Time goes by, and yes, out of politeness and respect, I would greet him.

"If I met him, I hope that Ronald would have the greatness, which he had as a player at the club, to tell me the truth to my face about why I left and that I didn't leave for footballing or technical reasons."

Xavi replaced Koeman and has been given significant backing in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

Suarez feels Barca legend Xavi has everything in place to be a success.

Asked if Xavi will produce the style of football fans of the Catalan giants expect, he said: "I think so. He is showing it, without being perfect. He is a coach who grew up there and knows what the club and the fans need.

"I see many conditions for him to go far as a coach, and, in addition, they gave him good tools for it, they gave him the players that he needed and wanted. It's up to him to prove it."

Suarez believes Barca have a good blend of youth and experience as they strive to dethrone LaLiga champions and fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Quizzed how he thinks his former club will do, he replied: "Very well. They made good signings and the young players have two more years of experience: Pedri, Gavi, Ansu [Fati], who is coming back, plus the experience of Jordi [Alba], Busi [Sergio Busquets], [Marc-Andre] ter Stegen... It's a team that can compete for everything."

Luis Suarez has officially re-joined his first club Nacional in his native Uruguay.

The 35-year-old, who was a free agent after leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of last season, announced on Tuesday that an agreement was in place to return to Nacional.

That transfer officially went through on Wednesday, though the length of the contract was not disclosed by the South American club.

"I am proud to wear this shirt again," Suarez posted on Twitter. "Thank you for all your support. See you soon!"

Suarez made his professional debut for Nacional as an 18-year-old in 2005 before moving to Groningen the following season.

He then enjoyed spells with Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico, for whom he scored 32 goals in 67 league games over two seasons, winning LaLiga in the first of those.

Uruguay's record scorer, who is expected to play in this year's World Cup, will hope to help Nacional reclaim the Primera Division title after arch-rivals Penarol lifted it last year.

Luis Suarez is set to give an answer to Nacional as the Uruguay great considers rejoining the club where he began his celebrated career.

After 16 years away from the Montevideo club, former Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid striker Suarez has been offered the chance to return to Nacional.

A free agent after leaving Atletico, Suarez has also been linked in media reports with German club Borussia Dortmund, and there may be interest from within Major League Soccer.

However, Nacional are hoping the prospect of a move back to the club where his goalscoring prowess first came to the fore will appeal to the 35-year-old player.

Nacional president Jose Fuentes told Uruguayan broadcaster Sport 890 on Friday: "I am waiting as we had agreed that in two or three days he would answer me. This was Wednesday and we are within the two or three days that we agreed.

"At this time I do not have any confirmation from Luis Suarez."

Fuentes said he was perturbed by reports that considered it a done deal, saying the rush for a news scoop "sometimes damages the negotiation or the conversations".

His update followed club director Gonzalo Lucas saying on Thursday that the deal was "a probability" but "not yet closed".

"I think that Suarez is the best footballer in the history of Uruguayan football," Lucas said. "It's like a fairy tale, and we have to protect him so that he has a happy ending."

Many Nacional fans wore Suarez masks at Thursday's game against Cerrito as they welcomed the prospect of his possible return.

Suarez emerged as a teenage forward of considerable promise with Nacional before being signed by Dutch team Groningen, with his career then taking him to Ajax prior to his successful spells in the Premier League and LaLiga.

He sits third on the list of Barcelona's all-time top scorers, with a haul of 198 goals putting him behind clear leader Lionel Messi and second-placed Cesar Rodriguez.

With Uruguay, Suarez has scored 68 goals in 132 international games, helping the team to win the 2011 Copa America and featuring at three World Cups.

Luis Suarez was hailed as an "extraordinary footballer" by Diego Simeone as the Uruguayan received a rapturous send-off at his final home game for Atletico Madrid.

The 35-year-old Uruguayan, formerly of Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona, is being released by Atletico at the end of his two-year contract.

His second season has not delivered to the same level as his first, where his 21 league goals drove Atletico to the LaLiga title, and the club see this as an appropriate time to part ways.

Suarez started Sunday's home game against Sevilla, which ended in a 1-1 draw after the visitors snatched a late equaliser.

He could not grab a goal to mark the occasion, after Atletico confirmed prior to kick-off it would be his last game for the club, and Suarez was clearly emotional when substituted midway through the second half.

Head coach Simeone paid tribute, and there was a guard of honour for Suarez and midfielder Hector Herrera after the final whistle, as Atletico's players marked the exits of both players.

Simeone said his chief thought regarding Suarez was "gratitude", after the player who remains the third-highest scorer in Barcelona's history signed off from his stint at the Wanda Metropolitano.

"He came to try to remain at the top, to show how competitive he is," Simeone said. "He helped us, and we helped him to win LaLiga where he was decisive due to his forcefulness. This season, despite not playing the games he would have wanted, he is still the team's top scorer.

"I wish him the best, with absolute gratitude to an extraordinary footballer and to a person who goes beyond a footballer."

Jose Gimenez headed Atletico ahead after 30 minutes against Sevilla, with an 85th-minute leveller from Youssef En-Nesyri enough to secure Champions League football for Sevilla next season, with Atletico having already made sure.

Simeone's third-placed team have been left behind by Real Madrid and Barcelona this season, and he said his players "need to improve, talk and believe in what we believe in to compete well".

He warned that although Atletico have shown they can be competitive against the big two in Spain, the likes of Sevilla, Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao are also in pursuit of the Rojiblancos.

Looking at what comes next, Simeone said it was important to move on from this season and begin afresh.

"Calm down and, as always," he said, "we will be here."

Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the season after his two-year stay at the Wanda Metropolitano, the LaLiga giants announced on Sunday.

Former Barcelona and Liverpool striker Suarez provided a spark last season that led to LaLiga title glory for Diego Simeone's team.

That was his first campaign with Atletico after Suarez reluctantly moved on from Barcelona, and he finished with 21 goals from 32 league games.

The 35-year-old has not made the same impact this season, albeit still reaching double figures for goals in the Spanish top flight, and his departure had been expected.

Confirmation came when Atletico said ahead of Sunday evening's clash with Sevilla that it would be a final home game for the club for Suarez and Hector Herrera, who in March agreed an end-of-season move to Houston Dynamo.

Atletico said in a statement on Twitter: "At the end of the game, the Wanda Metropolitano will pay tribute to Luis Suarez and Hector Herrera, who are saying goodbye to the Red and White family today."

Club president Enrique Cerezo hailed Suarez's impact on the club, as the Uruguayan veteran nears the end of his two-year contract.

Cerezo said: "Luis Suarez is a magnificent player and a great person. He deserves everything in this club and will always have a very prominent place. In the museum and in any part of this stadium, Luis Suarez will have a very prominent part."

Quoted by AS, Cerezo added: "We will have great memories of him. He has been a magnificent player, he has been one of those who has achieved a Liga."

Suarez was recently linked with a shock return to Barcelona, where he ranks at the third-highest goalscorer in the club's history, behind Lionel Messi and Cesar Rodriguez.

Luis Suarez reflected on a "special night" after overtaking Lionel Messi as the top-scoring player in South American World Cup qualifiers during Uruguay's win against Chile.

The Atletico Madrid striker scored an impressive bicycle-kick to open the scoring in Tuesday's contest before Federico Valverde added a late second in the 2-0 victory.

That goal sealed a third-placed finish for Uruguay behind Brazil and Argentina as La Celeste qualified for the World Cup for a fourth edition running, and a fifth time in six attempts.

Suarez has now found the net 29 times for his country in 62 World Cup qualifiers, one goal more than Messi having played two games more.

Next on the list is Bolivia striker Marcelo Moreno, who has 22 goals in 58 games, followed by Chile's Alexis Sanchez (20 in 56) and Argentina great Hernan Crespo (19 in 33).

 

Former Barcelona striker Suarez posted an image of himself with his match shirt on the back of the victory – Uruguay's fourth in a row under new head coach Diego Alonso.

That is their best run since an identical streak between March and June 2019 under former boss Oscar Tabarez, who was in charge for 15 years before leaving last November.

"Special night, special match, special shirt and with a goal," Suarez posted. "What more can I ask for to live unique and unforgettable moments with my country?"

Uruguay will learn their World Cup group opponents on Friday, along with fellow South American participants Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador. 

Fifth-placed Peru must come through an inter-confederation play-off against either Australia or the United Arab Emirates in June.

As for Suarez, he is set to return to club duty on Saturday when Atletico host Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga.

Luis Suarez sent a message of support to Lionel Messi and Neymar after the Paris Saint-Germain duo were booed by their own fans.

Mauricio Pochettino's team threw away a 2-0 aggregate lead to exit the Champions League at Real Madrid in midweek, prompting fury on their return to domestic action on Sunday.

Messi and Neymar were roundly jeered during PSG's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux, even when Neymar tapped home the team's second goal after a move which included a sublime defence-splitting pass from Messi.

Messi has not enjoyed his finest campaign since arriving in the French capital, scoring just two goals from 60 attempts (18 of them on target) in Ligue 1 this season, although he has hit the woodwork eight times in the league, more than any other player in the top five European divisions.

The treatment of his former Barcelona team-mates prompted Atletico Madrid striker Suarez to show support on his Instagram story, accusing the fans of having "no memory".

"As always, football has no memory," the 35-year-old wrote alongside a picture of the three players.

"[I'm] always with you. I love you."

The Messi-Suarez-Neymar 'MSN' trio enjoyed a fruitful relationship in their time with the Catalan giants, hitting a combined 81 LaLiga goals in a stunning 2014-15 season. They led the Blaugrana to the LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles in that campaign.

Neymar's goal against Bordeaux means he has scored eight Ligue 1 goals against them, more league goals than he has managed against any other team since arriving in Europe in 2013. 

The dominant victory at Parc des Princes also means that PSG have won seven of their nine Ligue 1 games immediately following a Champions League exit since their Qatari takeover in 2011.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez "cannot understand" why players are being forced to play so many fixtures in such a congested period.

South American nations are playing two World Cup qualifiers over the coming days, after FIFA inserted an extra international break into the calendar.

European countries are not in action, but CONMEBOL are attempting to catch up on fixtures missed due to the coronavirus pandemic and last year's Copa America.

Uruguay are one of five teams separated by just two points in the qualification standings, but have lost their past four games by an aggregate of 11-1.

They travel to Paraguay on Thursday, before hosting Venezuela on February 1. However, that second game comes just two days before a crucial Copa del Rey tie for Real Madrid, and Federico Valverde is set to travel back to Spain for that match.

Three other players, Getafe trio Mathias Olivera, Damian Suarez and Mauro Arambarri, could well have to be involved in a LaLiga match on February 4, while Suarez's Atletico Madrid are in action against his former club Barcelona on February 6.

It is a situation that leaves Suarez frustrated.

"I have to speak about the physical part of being a human being as well as a sportsman," he told reporters.

"We cannot understand how it is that we will compete in a World Cup qualifier next Tuesday and that Pajarito [Valverde] in this case, will have to compete in a Copa del Rey match.

"That my colleagues from Getafe, Mauro, Damian and Mati, will have to play that Friday in a LaLiga match. The schedule is quite tight, but we have to adapt to it.

"We are professionals and will do our job on the pitch because that is demanded from us, but sometimes the players are not in other people's thoughts.

"It happened before when we played three qualifiers in 10 days, with long trips of more than 12-15 hours, and obviously fatigue then has an influence."

Suarez, however, insists the squad's full focus is on arresting their dismal form and pushing on to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this year.

He said: "There are players who go through different stages of both winning and losing streaks. But when you come into the national team, the games that you have been playing suddenly do not matter.

"What matters is the hunger to compete, the wish to live and feel what I feel with this shirt on and to keep demonstrating that I am prevailing and that I want to keep competing and have the burning ambition to make it to the World Cup.

"I've been lucky enough to have played in three World Cups already and now, at 35 years old, I want to continue with that same ambition and I wish to keep playing World Cups and to have the chance to play at my fourth World Cup. Because of that, I am here."

Page 1 of 2
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.