Luis Suárez, the striker who can no longer carry Uruguay. And Qatar 2022 is proving it

Luis Suárez after the match between Portugal and Uruguay.  (REUTERS/Matthew Childs)

Luis Suárez after the match between Portugal and Uruguay. (REUTERS/Matthew Childs)

Luis Suárez is nostalgia made a player. Also Cavani, who has served as an excellent co-star for all these years. But Lucho, the scorer from El Salto, has something else: that mix of mischief and good game that make it a unique piece. And yes, no one ignores or forgets those outbursts of fury in which he gave to bite his rivals. He did it a couple of times and was convicted, took the punishment from him. He has not passed since that bite to Chiellini in Brazil 2014.

And that World Cup was paradoxical because, before leaving through the back door, Suárez left for posterity one of the most moving individual performances of any era. He scored twice for England in that World Cup. A peaceful header, to exemplify the more sensitive side of him, and a real shot that forced Joe Hart, British goalkeeper, to move his face to avoid being beaten. Something like that had to be very miraculous. Before the World Cup, the then Liverpool striker had injured his menisci. He was going to arrive in record time.

Three weeks to go. The kinesiologist Walter Ferreira interrupted his cancer treatment to attend to the lesion of the gunslinger. The forward recovered for the second game and eliminated England from the World Cup. Then what happened happened: Uruguay also victimized Italy, but was left without football against Colombia in the round of 16. Suárez experienced two trials: the media and the real one (he was suspended for four months without playing soccer after the bite against Italy).

Everything happened to him in football: he became an idol at Barcelona along with Lionel Messi and Neymar, the partners that all nine would want. In Russia 2018 he had to give up the spotlight for Edinson Cavani and he had no problem doing so. He returned the assists that Edi had given him four years earlier. That is the Suárez of the people: a generous striker, although pigeonholed by his outbursts of anger. He lived in exile from Barcelona simply to travel to Madrid, with Atlético, and show his former team that they had been wrong about him.

Luis Suárez has not stopped being an imperial attacker, but we cannot be fooled either. There is nothing left but to remember it as the one that one day was. If Luis Suárez has shown anything throughout his career, it is his amazing ability to recover from bad moments. But it would have to be said that, on this occasion, it is not even that it is a bad moment (not for him, but for Uruguay), and nobody will dare to point a finger at him: he is no longer the owner and his responsibilities they have gone down

He belongs to the lineage of players who are always there. But one day they will stop. Russia 2018 is his last World Cup for a natural reason, but the day when we will stop seeing him on the courts still seems very far off. When Suárez is gone, everything will make more sense: an era will be over for those who saw him for the first time in South Africa 2010. And the inevitable question will invade the minds of the fans: Why does time have to go by so fast?

Luis Suárez, therefore, is nostalgic. Nostalgia for the football that he was, that is still here, but that will soon leave us. And then we will understand those who, when we were kids, told us that they had seen real players. We will, then, occupy that role: “No, my son, for good forwards, Luis Suárez”, we will say as a way of self-pity while we remember the time that has passed and the inevitable pain of memory.

Because, certainly, one would think that 2010 was three years ago. No one can explain the way time becomes so relative to walk the way you want. One of these days, one will hear someone say that Luis Suárez has a great future.. And I wish it were true.


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