It’s been more than a month since Liverpool’s stunning 4-0 (and 4-3 on aggregate) victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, and Luis Suarez apparently still hasn’t gotten over the emotional scarring from his side’s defeat.
“After the elimination in the Champions (League), I wanted to disappear from the world,” Suarez told Fox Sports following Uruguay’s 4-0 rout of ten-man Ecuador in both team’s first match at the Copa America. “They were the worst days of my life and my career along with those from the 2014 World Cup.”
Suarez scored in Uruguay’s win over Ecuador as the Celeste look to win a record 16th Copa America title. It’s actually remarkable that Suarez is playing at all, just six weeks or so shy of major knee surgery to repair his meniscus. Barcelona allowed him to undergo the surgery after the Copa del Rey final and Suarez told reporters Sunday, via ESPN, that he lost 6.6 pounds while training to recover from his injury.
Interestingly, it’s also Suarez’s first appearance at a Copa America in eight years. How can that be? Suarez was serving a 12-month international suspension and thus missed the 2015 Copa America, following his biting incident with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini that earned him not only a club suspension but also the international one, as Uruguay were bounced from the tournament in Brazil. In 2016, ahead of the Copa America Centenario, Suarez suffered a hamstring injury during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final. Suarez was included in Uruguay’s 2016 Copa America squad but after two shock defeats, to Mexico and Venezuela, Suarez was left out as Uruguay crashed out of the tournament, his face filled with anguish stuck on the bench watching his team struggle on the pitch without him.
Now, Suarez, if he can put the memory of Anfield on May 7 behind him, Suarez could help a refreshed Uruguay side hit its stride back in Brazil, and potentially challenge for the continental title.