What now for Suárez?
Sooner or later, every football career comes to an end. Some players don't know how to handle it, others try to extend their career as much as possible with a disciplined life, taking care of their physical and mental health. Some of them just accept that when the time comes, it comes and that's it.
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Let's talk about Luis Suárez. After an superb 2020/21 season, being a crucial part of Atlético Madrid winning LaLiga, he had not been performing well the 2021/22 season, losing his position as the team's starter. As a result, Atletico Madrid did not renew his contract.
At the age of 35, the Uruguayan has lost much of his value. But with a career like his, middle class clubs in Europe and just about any club on other continents would want him in their squads.
Since last year, he had made it clear that he had little to no interest in a competitive project for this year, and would rather play in leagues with less pressure, such as in the USA or Asia. However, in the last month, rumors have surfaced that he would go to South America to compete for the Copa Libertadores title. And, in fact, he was motivated to play for River Plate, but the elimination in the round of 16 to Velez made Suárez change his mind.
In any case, if he wanted the Libertadores title, there were still other big clubs with interest in the veteran striker. The problem for Luisito was that only the Brazilian clubs were left as favorites and, for a player who did not want so much pressure, playing in a country with an average of almost 70 games a year and passionate fans would not be good at all.
With his intentions clear, it was not a big surprise, therefore, when he signed with the club where he made his professional debut, Nacional-URU.
He received a warmly welcome from the fans, but did not have much time to celebrate. The striker joined the team on the eve of a quarterfinal decision of the Copa Sudamericana (equivalent to the Europa League).
Nacional-URU vs. Atlético-GO
Playing at home and with Suárez on the bench, Nacional-URU couldn't perform well and it was Atlético-GO that opened the score. Suárez entered the pitch with only 15 minutes to go, and nothing changed: 1-0 to the visitors.
Having to revert the score away from home, it would be difficult for the Uruguayans. However, the mood at the club was good. The weekend before the 2nd leg, they had won 3-0 in the national league, one of the goals being scored by El Pistolero, (who also had the misfortune of missing a penalty the same night), his first one in his return to Nacional-URU.
The disadvantage in the Sudamericana was not so bad, and the expectations were good. But everything started to collapse in the first minutes of the match... Once again from the bench, Suárez saw his team's hopes dashed when Atlético-GO scored the first goal at 5' after a defensive error, and the second after a counter-attack in the stoppage time of the first-half.
Suárez's reaction to Atlético-GO's second goal - Source
Leaving Suárez on the bench, even though he was out of shape, may not have been the best choice for Nacional-URU. A player of his level on the pitch could have made a huge difference, if only psychologically. At the very least, he would draw some defenders to him.
Anyway, in the second half, when Suárez was on the pitch, the "Dragão" even make it 3-0 killing the game. A surprising 4-0 on aggregated for a club that is currently second to last in the Brasileirão.
But now, what's left for Suárez?
With River Plate out of the Libertadores and Nacional-URU out of the Copa Sudamericana, all that was left for him was the national league. If he didn't want pressure, the situation is not so bad. Pretty much his only challenge now is to be in shape for the World Cup to play at a high level for "La Celeste".
The remaining question is whether or not he will have motivation for football after the World Cup. Him going to South America to play in a continental competition is a positive indication, but in general, the perception is that he is looking for a soft end to his career, without too much commitment. If that's what he has decided, it's okay, after all, sooner or later every football career comes to an end. The hardest thing is for us, fans and football lovers, to accept this.